Nature, history, coffee, religion, Rubén Darío, adventure, Sandino, indigenous populations, crafts, water, Carlos Fonseca and nature again ... this and much more offers us the department of Matagalpa. Some destinations offered by this department have been disseminated and services have been developed to guarantee visitors an unforgettable experience with the highest quality. But most of the destinations, riches and jewels that have kept us this region are practically unknown and are very little exploited tourist, which represents a direct contact with the virgin nature and the daily life of their rural communities.
The department of Matagalpa is formed by the departmental head, city of Matagalpa, and the municipalities of Ciudad Darío, Esquipulas, Matiguás, Muy Muy, Rancho Grande, Rio Blanco, San Dionisio, San Isidro del Guayabal, Sébaco, Terra Bona and El Tuma-La Dalia.
It is the southernmost department of the northern departments of Nicaragua and is one of the most mountainous in the country.
We offer two types of climates according to the region, in the south of the department we find a dry and hot climate, while in the east and the headland they have a much cooler and pleasant climate, with temperatures ranging between 16º and 25º.
The department of Matagalpa offers a great diversity of services and activities framed in the experiences of ecological tourism and rural community tourism, all of them closely linked to its maximum production ruble, coffee, as well as its history and its illustrious characters.
It is, undoubtedly, the perfect apartment for the tourist to know the nature of the Nicaraguan coffee mountains.
Along the coffee route, Matagalpa is more than ready to welcome the thousands of tourists who travel every year through the department, There are variety of hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions.
Along the territory of the department have been archaeological remains and petroglyphs, from San Ramón, Matiguás and Ciudad Darío, but above all, the municipality of Sébaco, where you can visit the Pre-Columbian Museum of Chagüitillo, and the sanctuaries of the Deer and the Leap of the Mico. At present, descendants of the first indigenous communities live in the area and retain part of their cultural legacy, their ancestral traditions and their own organization and authorities.
Cerro Pancasán and Carlos Fonseca Amador's House Museum, declared a historical-cultural heritage of the nation, bring us closer to a more recent episode of the country's history, that of the Sandinista revolution.
And if we speak illustrious characters, no doubt Rubén Darío has a relevant place in the department and throughout the country. In Ciudad Darío we will be able to visit the House where the poet was born, declared Cultural Historical Monument of the Nation, and turned into Museum, or we will be able to participate in the Dariense Day that is celebrated every year in the month of January.
The Cathedral of San Pedro in the city of Matagalpa and the Church of the Immaculate in Sébaco are religious buildings declared historical and cultural monuments of the nation. In Esquipulas is celebrated the pilgrimage of the Lord of Esquipulas that has acquired diffusion at national level and in Terrabona can know the particular celebration to San José that takes place in the month of March.
In the department of Matagalpa, black pottery is produced, declared a cultural heritage of the nation. In La Trinidad you can see how the hammocks of a thousand colors are woven, or buy some leather boots in the workshops of Talabartería Muy Muy.
In the community of Chile, in San Ramón, you will be able to travel in time and learn about the traditional techniques of the indigenous peoples in loom weaving. And in the community of Aranjuez you can admire the authentic works of art made by a group of women with henequen. In Sébaco, a must if you want to go to Matagalpa city, let yourself be surprised by its wide palette of colors from its vegetable and fruit selling points, photography lovers can enjoy excellent shots.
Matagalpa is a department with a great natural wealth overflowing, striking waterfalls, paths in the middle of forests surrounded by fog, curious geological formations that guarded impassible the passage of history, mines and caves wrapped in mysteries and legends.
In the city of Matagalpa we can visit El Parque Ecológico El Calvario, where besides enjoying its nature offers us the possibility of practicing an experience not suitable for people who suffer from the heart as is the Canopy.
One of the Natural Reserves best known and visited is the Selva Negra Natural Reserve with its artificial lagoon, its trails and its Coffee Museum. In the Natural Reserve Salto Rio Yasika (City of Matagalpa) we can not miss a waterfall that leaves with The bo Ca open to the most demanding tourist, Salto Santa Emilia or Cascada Blanca.
Other 3 Natural Reserves exist in the territory of the departmental headland Cerro el Arenal Natural Reserve (Matagalpa City), Cerro Apante Natural Reserve (Matagalpa City), Matagalpa City, Cerro Frío-La Cumplida Nature Reserve (Matagalpa City) and Natural reserve Cerro Cumaica-Cerro Alegre (Matagalpa city).
In the rest of the department we find the Cerro Kiriwuá Natural Reserve (Matiguás), Cerro Pancasán Natural Reserve (Matiguás), Macizos Peñas Blancas Natural Reserve (Rancho Grande, Tuma-La Dalia) , Cerro Kuskawás Nature Reserve (Rancho Grande), Cerro Musúm Nature Reserve (Rio Blanco), Forest Genetic Reserve and National Protected Natural Area of Yúcul-Guabule-El Gorrión Serranías (San Ramón) In the municipality of San Ramón you can enjoy The Private Wild Reserve Finca Esperanza Verde.
In Ciudad Darío you can visit the site RAMSAR System Lacustre Playtas-Moyoguá-Tecomapa, place of nesting and sighting of numerous of tropical birds.
As a curious and historical fact, on October 13,1821 the town council of Matagalpa anticipated the rest of the cities of the country by naming the Independence of Spain. Therefore, Matagalpa was the first rebel and sovereign point of Nicaragua.
The city of Matagalpa, also known as "La Perla del Septentrión" is the head of the department with the same name. It is located 128 kilometers from the capital, Managua.
There are many versions about the meaning of the mote Matagalpa, but one of the most widespread is that which refers to "Pueblo Grande". It was recognized as a city in 1862.
In the city of Matagalpa, financial and administrative center of the region, we will be able to enjoy the numerous restaurants of typical northern food for travelers at very good prices.
We can find the best selection of restaurants in Matagalpa.
Matagalpa city offers us different tourist attractions. We can visit St. Peter's Cathedral, of neoclassical style and declared Cultural Patrimony of the nation in 2007.
Matagalpa being one of the most important coffee production points in the country, it could not be located in another city, the National Museum of Coffee. This museum was inaugurated in 2002 and is located in the old facilities of the Matagalpa Workers' Club. A tour of the museum's 7 rooms allows us to get to know the history of the city, its culture and of course coffee, its production and its close relationship and impact on the municipality. At the end of the tour the visitor will be able to taste an exquisite cup of coffee.
But not everything is coffee in Matagalpa, cocoa is also produced and since 2004 you can visit some of the factories that produce this product, getting to know closely the whole process of making this delicious sweet.
An interesting site that tells us about Nicaragua's most recent history is the Cultural Center for Heroes and Martyrs. Former National Guard headquarters. Another point that tells us about the history of the revolution through one of the most emblematic characters, is the Museo Casa Cuna de Carlos Fonseca Amador, located in the neighborhood of El Laborío. The house where this national hero was born was declared historical and cultural heritage of the city of Matagalpa.
Matagalpa is located in a valley, therefore it is surrounded by mountains that offer unparalleled panoramic views from its tops.
In the northeastern part of the city at an altitude of 856 meters, we can climb the viewpoint of Cerro del Calvario, located inside the natural park with the same name and where a few years ago you can enjoy its canopy, pure adrenaline.
If you still want to be a little closer to the sky, you can climb Cerro Apante, 1,442 metres above sea level, located on the south side of Matagalpa. The hill is inside the Natural Reserve with the same name. Honoring the meaning of its name in Nahuatl,"Cerro de Agua", the visitor will be able to enjoy various waterfalls and waterfalls walking in the middle of Nebliselva forests. There is a great diversity of fauna and flora within the 20 square kilometers of the Cerro Apante Nature Reserve.
Among the places that stand out from the area and become mandatory stopover sites for any visitor, we find the Selva Negra Nature Reserve, located near the city of Matagalpa, where we can observe several species of fauna and flora, as well as rest in the comfortable hotels, lodgings and restaurants of the area.
A few kilometers from the city of Matagalpa towards Jinotega is the Cerro del Arenal Natural Reserve, declared a protected area since 1991.
The Salto de Santa Emilia, which is part of the Salto Rio Yasika Natural Reserve, is another must-see.
In the territory of the city of Matagalpa we find another Nature Reserve, the Cerro Frío-La Cumplida. With an extension of 2,749.9 and an altitude that oscillates between 800 and 1,500 masl, it is made up of medium or high evergreen forests of very cool and humid zones. Within the reserve there is an agro-ecological farm that offers lodging and food services.
Matagalpa is one of the few areas in the country where black pottery crafts are made, of pre-Columbian origins and has endured for centuries through the tradition of generation after generation. This craft is part of the National Cultural Heritage.
The town's patron saint festivities are celebrated on 24 September in honour of the Virgen de la Merced. But there are also two important fairs that are held in this locality that have repercussions at a national level. The Coffee Fair that takes place in November and the Maize Fair that takes place in September.
Useful phone numbers
The city of Matagalpa is 128 km north of Managua. At Km 90 is Ciudad Darío and at Km 105 the junction of Sébaco. Once in Sébaco, take the detour to the right towards Matagalpa -it is duly signposted-, from there just follow the road to Matagalpa for less than thirty minutes.
If you want to go by bus from Managua, you must go to the El Mayoreo bus station, where you can take the buses that leave frequently towards the northern city. You can check the bus schedule from Managua to Matagalpa.
If you are coming from the North towards South by bus, you will have to stop in Sébaco and take a bus in the bus terminal of the town.