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This captivating region of Nicaragua is nestled in the north of the country where fascinating rural life and natural wonders are unquestionably part of this great experience. With a population of over 100 thousand people the mystical Estelí, is a very busy city with lots of commerce and hard working people. Before the Spanish invasion on the American continent, the region of “Estelí” was inhabited by several tribes including the Sumos, Matagalpas, Chorotegas and Nahuas. Nicaraguan historians and intellectuals are not clear yet about the meaning of the word Estelí, but some suggest it could mean “red water, red river or even river of blood”, mainly because of Estelí river’s bed is formed by marble-like red rocks.

Estelí is surrounded by small mountains creating a refreshing breeze mainly in the evenings thus giving the city a pleasant climate. There is a Central Plaza where vendors, shoe-shine boys, pedestrians and couples converge every day. The Cathedral is dedicated to “Nuestra Señora del Rosario” who is the Patron Saint of the city. Close to the Center you can also visit the museum of the Sandinista revolution in honor of “the heroes and martyrs of May 18th”; this place is run by the families of the Sandinistas soldiers who lost their lives during the uprising.

This destination offers enthusiastic visitors the unique experience of traveling through this authentic region where large fields of tobacco plantations and cigar companies combine their traditional abilities and expertise to produce some of the world’s best cigars. Furthermore the geographical position of the region of Estelí allows for some interesting geological landscapes and a rich biodiversity of forests.

Some distinctive characteristics of this area are its table lands with fantastic views on the Pacific basin; its natural reserve Tizey-Estanzuela embracing a river and a splendid waterfall. Also “Miraflor” is another natural reserve housing a wonderful eco-system within three different climates as well as Tomabu Natural Reserve which has an altitude of over three and a half thousand feet above sea level and part of its water is collected by the Coco River, the longest in Nicaragua.

It is also interesting to get into contact with the northern culture of Estelí through the typical dances of polka, waltz, and mazurka. It is as well quite usual to see locals wearing hats, boots and riding horses for their everyday activities. Another important aspect of their cultural life is their craft. The most representative artistic work is the carving of fine skillfully sculpted figures made out of a type of marble rock, “marmolina”, from the village of San Juan de Limay.  Let Estelí be part of your travel adventure while in Nicaragua.

Hiking • Rural Life • Handicrafts • Landscapes • Nature Reserve

Recommended Attractions in Estelí

Estelí Cigar Factory »

A worthwhile and interesting visit while in Estelí is to one of the hundreds of cigar factories. In the past pre-Columbian groups cultivated tobacco in Nicaragua for smoking during their ceremonial rites.

Somoto Canyon »

Somoto Canyon: A spectacular 5 to 13 million year old canyon, just discovered in 2004 by a group of Nicaraguan and Czech scientists. It is located 12 kilometers west of the town of Somoto in one of the oldest mountain formations in the country.

Tisey Estanzuela Nature Reserve »

About six kilometers away from Estelí, the Tisey Estanzuela Natural Reserve, at the summit of 1,300 meters (4,000 feet) above sea level, provides visitors with the best viewpoint in the region.

Local Information

Currency: U$1 x C$ 30.43
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