Ocotal - Nicaragua

The city of Ocotal is the capital of the Nueva Segovia department.

Ocotal is also known as "The Sultana of the North". Not only the cities of León and Granada are marked by its colonial past, this northern city boasts of its architectural beauties.

Located 225 kilometers from the capital of Nicaragua, Managua, it is also known as "The City of Pines", because the city is surrounded by forests of ocote pines, in fact the name of this tree comes from the name of the city , Ocotal. That of Nahuatl origin means "place where the ocote abounds".

History of Ocotal

The origin of the city dates from the years 1525 although its official foundation was not recognized until 1780 with the first name of New Reduction of Segovia, and was not until year 1908 that was decreed like municipality.

Ocotal is marked by its continuous conflicts that occurred during several centuries between the native populations that inhabit the territory, with the colonizers that arrived at the zone attracted by the gold mines and they founded the first northern city in the middle of the indigenous towns and the English pirates who came up the Coco River.


Part of the historical records of this city were burned in the arson that occurred in 1926 in the municipal archives during the Constitutional War.

The revolution and Ocotal

At the same time it is also marked by the most recent history of the country, since it was important scenario in the struggle for the sovereignty of Nicaragua headed by the General of Men, Augusto Cesar Sandino. On 16 July 1927 the "Battle of Ocotal" took place, a battle that lasted more than 15 hours, where Sandino's troops took the city and managed to reduce the different barracks where the US Marines and National Guards were. The response was not long in coming and 7 US Navy planes bombed the city causing countless civilian deaths. This was the first air raid against the civilian population in history.

Featured people from Ocotal

Ocotal is the birthplace of nationally and internationally known singer Norma Elena Gadea, as well as the renowned radio writer Fabio Gadea Mantilla, author of the famous "Tales of Pancho Madrigal" and father of his peculiar protagonist "Aniceto".

Ocotal Accommodation

Ocotal has hotels and lodgings prepared for the reception of visitors.

Typical Ocotal food

The gastronomic offer of Ocotal is varied, the city has diverse dining rooms and restaurants where to delight with its tasty and typical northern food.

Architecture of Ocotal

If you arrive in the city of Ocotal you can start your tour by visiting its Central Park July 16, in honor of the Battle of Ocotal. Inside the park we can not stop visiting its Botanical Garden.

In front of the park is the "Parish Church of Our Lady of the Assumption" which was built between 1803 and 1879. Its façade is in baroque style and in its interior imposing pine columns support the building. We can observe several altarpieces where the one dedicated to the image of its patron saint stands out. This Church was declared Historical Patrimony of the Nation in the year 2008.

The Mayoralty of Ocotal

Another historic building is the Municipal Hall building built in 1785. This colonial-style building was occupied by US Marines who fought against General Sandino's troops in 1927.

Culture of Ocotal

In the same city we can enjoy a visit to the House of Culture, built in 1890, and between 1927 and 1928 served as the headquarters of US Marines. The Casa de Cultura constantly renews exhibitions and promotes local culture.

In the streets surrounding the park is the heart of the city, with several businesses open to the public at the foot of the street. As well as the market, located at the bus stop, at the exit South direction of the city, very close to the headquarters of the National Police and the head of Migration.

Located on the top of a hill in the north of the city is "The Grotto of Guadalupe", a shrine dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe recently rebuilt.

Coco River in Ocotal

Also in the South direction we find the Coco River, a mighty river that crosses several municipalities of the zone. If you have time, visit the place and take the opportunity to cool off with a swim while watching the local flora and fauna.

Direction to the city of Jalapa, to few kilometers of the urban helmet, is San Antonio of the Tejas, where we can visit the Hill of the Cross. As indicated by its name anchored in the hill rises a cross more than 3 meters high at the point where the First Reduction of Segovia existed.

La Fortaleza Tourist Center is the first integral tourist center, where in its museum the historical episode of the battle of Ocotal is revealed as well as the fight led by the general of free men, Sandino. It also offers the cafeteria service and a point where you can buy typical handicrafts from the region.


The city of Ocotal celebrates its patron saint festivities on August 15 in honor of the Virgin of the Assumption.

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Ocotal is 222 km north of Managua along the Pan-American Highway. From Managua follow the North Road to Honduras. In all crosses is well signposted, the only point of doubt can be in the junction of Yalagüina, where you must take the turn to the right - it is properly signposted.

If you travel by public transport from the city of Managua you should take a bus at the Mayoreo terminal that goes to Ocotal or Jalapa. You can check the bus schedule from Managua to Ocotal.