Jinotega is a city of about 50,000 inhabitants in the Northern Highlands of Nicaragua. Located in a valley 142 km North of Managua, it is the capital of the municipality and department of the same name.
Jinotega is known as the "City of Mists", due to the magnificent wisps of cloud feathering the place as high as 1,000 m. The name Jinotega, according to linguists derives from "xiocahuilt", meaning "jiñocuabo" (tree existing in the city) and "tecatl", meaning "inhabitant or neighbor".
The city is located in a valley of cool climate of 25-27° C, with normal extremes of 13° and 33° C. It is surrounded by the Dariense Isabelia mountain ranges.
Between 1926 and 1927, the department was the scene of fighting between US troops and anti-imperialist fighters led by Augusto C. Sandino, known as the "war of banditry." In May 19, 1979, the Final Offensive of the Northern Front of the Sandinista National Liberation forces under Carlos Fonseca Amador began. It defeated the despotic regime of Somoza Debayle. In 1981, the department's mountainous area was the scene of many bloody battles in the civil war between the CIA-trained Contras and the national army, representing the Sandinista-led government.
However, today it is one of the quietest places in the country.
Since the area around Jinotega produces 65% of the country's coffee harvest the city is said to be "the coffee capital" and is known for its high quality coffee that is mostly exported. Cocoa is also harvested in the northeast of the departamento.
When to visit
In December to February it is the coffee harvest season. You will see trucks moving in and out of the city on the north side, men hauling coffee in on their backs in a frantic scurry. Compared with cities like Managua and Chinandega, which can be very hot throughout the year, Jinotega's climate is relatively pleasant due to its height.
The weather is great from November (end of the rainy season) until September or October, when it begins to rain sporadically. After this, the rainy season really begins.
- From Managua it takes about 2:30 hr on the direct buses that run several times a day. If taking a taxi, ask for bus terminal Mayoreo or simply for the terminal from where the Jinotega buses leave. At the Mayoreo terminal in Managua, there is a counter where you can purchase your tickets to Jinotega. Bus fare is C$80 (córdobas). The expressos are nice because they make fewer stops and you don't have to change buses in Matagalpa.
- There are frequent services between the main terminal in Matagalpa and the Southern terminal in Jinotega.
- Service from Estelí to the Northern terminal in Jinotega is infrequent. It might be easier to get on a bus to San Rafael del Norte and change there.
Take the NIC-3 or NN-74.
Leaving the city of Managua you will be taking the NIC-1 motorway to reach the right take highway Sebaco NIC-3 continued NN74 find two highways (arrives in 30 minutes) and if it continues with the NIC-3 came in 1 hour passing by Matagalpa.
If you take the NN74 observe that you are winding down a slope which will continue up to the entrance of the city in which observed the valley town, down a slope and observed a police checkpoint in an interception where there is a left wing street to get to the city center, exit and if you continue straight on the road to climb a slope curves with another interception find where you take the left highway NIC-3 (or NIC-3 highway right to the city of Matagalpa) to take him to the center of the city of Jinotega (and output to their municipalities, the lake and the city of Esteli arrived in 3 hours). On your way down a slope into the valley of Jinotega and observe their surroundings Jiñocuabos trees and also a view of the city, continuing to find another interception, if you take the left will take you to the city center and the exit and if making the right motorway is the NIC-3 will take you to the central supply and output to the municipalities, the lake, the city of Esteli.
Leaving the city of Managua you will be taking the NIC-1 highway, through venues: Tipitaba, Ciudad Dario, to reach the right decision Sébaco NIC-3 highway highway there continue straight and then see that going up in a curved slope where you can see the valley from there, to continue you will encounter two highways: NN74 and NIC-3.
If you take the left highway NN74 be there in 30 minutes in the city, continue to observe a valley in which there is another highway that you take to the left called NIC-3 which takes you directly to the city.
If you take the highway right NIC-3 is longer have to go through the city of Matagalpa, follow the road and then take the left highway provided by NIC-3 to the city of Jinotega and will be in 1 hour.
Taxis are common and cost C$8 (US$0.35) per person anywhere in town. Fares are around C$35 at night. Its best to agree a price before you get in the cab, Jinotegans love to change their mind. But on the whole they are a very friendly bunch. It is very safe to walk around Jinotega even through some of the shabbier looking areas, don't be scared just give a big smile out, you'll be fine. Jinotega is a great place to explore.
Attractions and places of interest
In the city of Jinotega
Museum and library
Museum: presentations of archeology, history and antiques. Library: to the front of the central park, in the same premises of the museum.
Churches and cathedral
- Church of Our Lady of the Angels, near the school La Salle.
- Catedral San Juan Bautista on the main avenue of the city.
- Parque Otto Casco: with basketball court, near the bus station to managua and near the Hospital Victoria Motta.
- Central park: with track for skateboards and connection to wifi, which is in front of the museum, library, the mayor's office, hotels, restaurants, university, social club and San Juan Cathedral.
- Travel to the top of the "Peña de la Cruz" up the steps, path of many pilgrims who fulfill promises to La Santa Cruz.
In the municipalities of the department of Jinotega
Natural, historical and religious coexistence
- Visit to La Concordia, birthplace of General Benjamin Zeledon and San Rafael del Norte, where General Augusto C. Sandino married Blanca Aráuz and served the pastoral work of the Servant of God Fray Odorico D'Andrea.
- Canopy "La Brellera" on the outskirts of San Rafael del Norte, experiencing the sensation of "flying" on the trees.
Nature reserve "El Jaguar".
Rural and community tourism experience
- Tour of the natural reserve "Cerro Datanlí - El Diablo" to know its forest of nebliselva and the waterfall "La Bujona" guided by inhabitants of the reserve with whom they share their daily activities.
- Lodging in "La Bastille" Ecolodge
- Farm holidays in Santa María de Pantasma.
- Ecotourism in "La Fundadora" and "Vida Joven" Finca located on the Jinotega - Matagalpa road.
- Natural and cultural experience
- Visit to the Bosawás Reserve, Biosphere Reserve declared by UNESCO and to the "Peñas Blancas" Massif.
- Nature tour of the coffee in the Cerro Kilambé (Wiwilí) nature reserve and the "Santa Maura" farm to learn about the cultivation of this grain called the "green gold".
- Nature reserve "Yalí" Volcano.
- Fishing and sailing experience
- Adventure tourism on Lake Apanás where sport fishing activities and rowing boat competitions take place, this artificial lake is nowadays a habitat for a great variety of lacustrine flora and fauna.
You can join the locals in town for gyms, or karaoke or play a game of soccer or baseball fields or stadiums. There are several sites around the city if you want to walk.
Religious festivities on May 3 in the Peña de la Cruz, in honor of St. John the Baptist in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Celebration 07.08 December the famous local drink is prepared Agualoja is a drink made of corn like wine Corn, Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, December 25.01, January 15 in honor of the Lord of Esquipulas.
The horse is the first Sunday after May 3 (Fiestas de la Cruz) and 15 October (Anniversary Celebrations Department) at 1:00 PM. There Feasts Fair, culture, tradition evenings and nights until the day of horse.
If you like nature from within Jinotega you can see a mountain range in the west with a cross on top, you can climb through stairs to the top. The summit offers splendid views of the Jinotega valley, the lake and surrounding mountains Apanás also have a kiosk.
At the base of Peña de La Cruz within Jinotega there is a cemetery, crossing the cemetery along a cobbled street or road, the trip takes about 30-60 minutes, at the top there is a refreshing breeze.
North of the city about 5 km (20 minutes drive) is a lake called Apanás, is a dam built in 1964 with the waters of the Jiguina, Tuma and Mancotal rivers in order to produce hydroelectric power for mediation Plant Central America, the lake has an area of 51 square kilometers. It also has Lake El Dorado which has a length of 3 km².
There are several restaurants and markets in the department of Jinotega, serving various fruits, vegetables, meats and drinks of Nicaragua.
Just outside the city you will find places of interest to visit in the same department of Jinotega: A town called San Rafael del Norte is just 20 minutes on a good paved road. San Rafael was the headquarters of the troops of General Sandino in the 1920s and early 30s. It has a nice church and small museum of Sandino and his wife Blanca Arauz. Also you find a church on top of a hill where there is a sarcophagus with the remains of a native saint of Italy: Friar Odorico D'Andrea. Close by you you will find the tourist spot Canoy the Brellera. It is located in the Km182 toward the road north to San Sebastian de Yali Yali find and if you visit a tourist spot of nature called Yali Volcano Natural Reserve.
Visit Concord near San Rafael del Norte and found the museum Gral. Rodriguez Benjamin Zeledon from there can travel to Jinotega or Estelí 1 hour drive.
East of the city in the municipality: NIC-3 Take the North exit towards the road to Bloodsucker, passing lakeside Apanas, then take a right wing unpaved road to the Nature Reserve Neblinas Datanlí - The Devil: There will find a waterfall or jump the Bujona close that place is the coffee farm tour Santa Maura Resort and La Bastille, is a place of nature, growing coffee, there is hotel, restaurant and agricultural school ("Hidden Paradise") very close to those places can get the tourist communities of growing flowers and mist: La Laguna, white wood, young life Resort and reaches the road Jinotega - Matagalpa, close by taking the road to Matagalpa communities found: Cans, after 10 minutes continuously Matagalpa and take the road to the left to reach the Resort The Founder before reaching the restaurant Potter.
In the municipalities east of Jinotega: In Bloodsucker is a studied by geologists because it is believed that there fell a meteorite valley, besides rice is grown there is a village of warm weather, Farmhouse tourist place.
Wiwilí found the Cerro Kilambé Nature Reserve and the village on the banks of the Coco River.
In the Cua and Bocay is in Cuentran Nature Reserves and Bosawas White Rocks: the largest in Central America Jaguar reservation north of Lake Apanás.
Of all of the places in Nicaragua to do volunteer work, Jinotega is perhaps the most worthy. Due to its problematic history Jinotega has suffered through a serious decline in infrastructure. Jinotega is a place largely forgotten by the outside world.
- Association of Volunteers for the Development of Communities (AVODEC) (About 4 blocks north of the Esso Central). A good NGO to visit. It's a small Nicaraguan NGO focusing on sustainable development. A couple of staff members there speak English.
- Circulo de Amigas (CdA), Barrio Linda Vista Sur Casa 32 (In Barrio Linda Vista Sur), ☎ . A local non-profit that also houses travelers at their facility. Accommodations are clean, safe, and reliable. You can stay at their facility for less than most local hotels. A volunteer-run, registered 501(c)(3) secular non-profit, working to alleviate poverty one girl at a time. In conjunction with the Nicaraguan Center for Education and Social Promotion (CEPS), they help girls and young women acquire the skills and tools needed to improve their lives. In doing so, they enable children to attend school and give direct aid to victims of severe hardship or regional crisis. They have a variety of needs all year long.
If you need something, first check the Everything for $1 (more or less) store north of the cathedral a couple blocks. They have tools, shampoo, candles, mugs, etc. If they don't have it, try the more expensive stores like Tienda Rossy, south of the cathedral, or, Almacen Gloria, at the northwest corner of the Union Park. There are a million other little stores too. Just walk around and ask until you find what you need. Pali and MaxiPali is the closest thing to a supermarket here.
The markets here are excellent, really worth an afternoon wanderings, especially the "food court", authentic yet surprisingly flavorful local cuisine for C$30 and up. Also on the far side of the markets close to Pauli, a few great cowboy bars with lots of great local personalities and with visiting street vendors.
Other as: La Curacao, El Gallo mas Gallo, El verdugo, Tropigas are appliance stores in the city.
If you like secondhand shops then you will love Jinotega, the place is full of secondhand American clothes, lots of people just sell them from their front room but there a couple of big shops, you can get lots of expensive labels here from C$30 up.
North of the city in a black ceramic manufacturing community. You can inform more in tourist offices in: INTUR, its address is in the station 1, 1 block north.
- Buffet el Buen Sazon (Across the street from Soda el Tico). Typical but very good. They have a nice salad selection. The pico de gallo and tortilla chips are a treat.
- Bull's Bar and Restaurant (At Barrio Ernesto Rosales, 1/2 block east of Batazo). Provides great food and drinks. Their main dish is soup de huevo de ora, which costs C$130 (about US$5). Bull's is also eco-friendly, the first bar and restaurant to do this in its area. They also offer purified water.
- Cafeteria Trebol (On the north side of the central park). For quick lunches, try the tacos, with orange-carrot refresco and fruit salad afterward.
- Celía y los Colombianos (half a block north from the Puma gas station in the center on Avenida Central). A nice place to sit down with well prepared typical dishes. The place is also a hotel; the rooms start at C$300 but are nothing remarkable. mains between C$ 60 and C$ 180.
- Chaba's Pizza. For 10 years has been offering customers extravagant pizzas with toppings including pepperoni, cheese, sausage, chicken, ham, Hawaiian, vegetarian. Chabas is in partnership with Conceptos, a nightclub right next to it. Pizzas from C$180-480 (US$5-20).
- Meson Bon Appetit, Banpro 1 block east 1/2.
- Comedor Chavarra (Near Soppexcca, a block west and a couple south). Same food as you get cheaper in the market, but you can eat it here without smoke inhalation.
- Country Burger (A few blocks north of Esso Central). For a good burger and beer. Gives you one with lots of veggies and decent (non-limp) fries.
- Don Colocho's (Just north of Mistral School). M-Sa, 09:00-19:00. Bakery and cafe. Has been a bakery for 30 years and a cafe for 5 years. This is an excellent place to sit down with friends and enjoy a frappuccino and some delicious pastries. They regularly sell sweet breads, cheese breads, cakes, and tarts, as well as frappuccini, cappuccini, and other coffee based beverages, as well as purified water.
- Dino's (At Del Gallo Gallo, 3 blocks north), ☎ . Daily, 07:00-22:00. A restaurant with a fun, fresh, and calm atmosphere. They offer foods such as pizzas, beef, pork, chicken, pastas, salads, seafood, burgers, deserts, and more. Dino's has purified water as well. Wi-Fi.
- Eskimo (A few doors down from El Tico), ☎ . Daily, 10:00-20:00. One of the most famous ice cream shops in Jinotega. It is safe and filled with various flavors of ice cream. They have shakes, cones, sundaes, and more. The prices are affordable.
- La Perrera (3 km outside of town on the Matagalpa highway). Arguably the best restaurant in town. Expect to pay NIO50-140 for good food, some of which is Italian. The taco salad is excellent (and cheap!) If you're sick of iceberg lettuce--they grow their own with good varieties brought from the States. Catch any bus before 06:00 there for NIO5 and ask them when you can catch a bus back to town. Walking down is dangerous, but it's also beautiful when the stars are out!
- Pizza Movil Express. Daily, roughly 15:00-21:00. For a cheap afternoon snack, in the central park is better than Chaba's Pizza and at NIO10 a slice, much cheaper too.
- Restaurante el Cony (From the rotary, head west, through the narrow alley that runs on the north side of the river, and then keep going west). Try their chuleta de pollo a la plancha. They have some neat historical photos of Jinotega.
- Roca Rancho. Quite good, although it looks like it would be a crazy cabana bar, but is quite tame (read: dead) most nights of the week. Decent live music and cheap Victorias can be had on Thursday nights starting about 19:30. The Diablito is a nice appetizer experience and the fajita chicken and bocitos de pollo are excellent.
- Soda El Tico. Everyone talks about this place, but it is hit and miss. They have decent breakfasts and some go there to enjoy a cheeseburger. Ask them to give you more than three French fries. If you're going for expensive, heavy meats, this is the place.
- La Terraza Cafe (above El Tico). They have a large variety of cakes and beverages, like tres leches, selve negra, cappuccini, and frappuccini, and purified water. The atmosphere is very relaxed, with small cafe tables and couches to lounge on.
- El Tico (At Del Silais 1 1/2 blocks north), ☎ . M-F, 06:30-21:00, and Sa-Su, 08:00-21:30. Very good, Americanized Nicaraguan food, and very importantly, purified water. It is buffet style and family friendly, and also has fast, friendly service.
- Tip Top Express, Otto Casco park 2 blocks west. Instead of fast food chicken
- Roca Rancho. Has NIO12 Victorias and live music on Thursday nights starting at 20:00.
- Soppecxxa (Two blocks west of Supermarket Pali). A good coffee shop that is popular with the few extranjeros in town. Check out the bar map they have at La Biosfera Cloud forest retreat, 4km out of town. It lists all the great bars in Jinotega a very entertaining day out.
Hotels run from US$4-100 a night and are easy to come by.
- La Biosfera Cloud Forest Retreat (4 km out of Jinotega on the road to Matagalpa, next to the Perrera, 100 m up the hill), ☎ (Suzanne), e-mail: email@example.com. Amazing views. Run by 2 Aussies and an American, it has horse riding, bat cave, trails to local coffee plantations, a bar crawl map of Jinotega. organic permaculture-based gardens and rental accommodations from forest cabins to a backpackers' dorm.
- Hotel Café (two blocks south and two blocks east from Parque Central). If you brought more collared shirts than non-, stay here.
- Hostal Doña Mary (across from Hotel Café). Family run place with rooms for C$250 if you insist. Very clean, has a little patio and some rooms have hard mattresses if that's what you are into. There's a living room and a kitchen that you can use..
- Hotel Central.
- Hotel Kiuras. A family-owned hostel with Wi-Fi and great amenities. The owner is a doctor, an added bonus.
For a full Nicaraguan experience, you can try out some of the many Internet cafes located around the city. Many Nicaraguans don´t have Internet and have to utilize such cafes. Two recommended cafes are Llamadas Heladas and Ciber Centro de Llamadas del Rey. Both provide Internet as well as phone booths for cheap international calls and the latter one also provides English-Spanish translation.
- To the east of the city: Cordillera Isabelia (tourist place Nature, Hiking, Nature Reserve Datanlí-El Diablo,Nebliselva tall, La Bastilla Ecolodge, La Cascada Bujona, Cultivation of Flowers).
- West: The 'Peña De La Cruz' '(height: 800 meters, located at the top of the mountains, accessible by steps, Nature tourist spot overlooking the city, Lake, ect ..).
- North: The Lake Apanás (Artificial Lake, Nature Tourism).
- South: Telecommunications Antennae (Located on top of the mountains, Nature attraction overlooking the city, Lake, Momotombo Volcano Managua, ect).
- To Esteli: One bus leaves at 09:00, C$50, 2-3/4 hours.
- To Managua:One bus leaves at 04:00, C$81, 2-3 hours.
- To Matagalpa:One bus leaves at 05:00, C$25, 1-2 hours.