Are you planning a trip to Nicaragua’s mountainous north? Awesome! You will be rewarded with cooler temps, green jungle, brilliant coffee and friendly locals. I’ve visited Matagalpa twice now, each time for about a week and both visits have been great. Make your time in the north memorable with our top five favorite things to do in and around Matagalpa, Nicaragua.
1. Finca Esperanza Verde
If you’ve done any research about Matagalpa you’ve probably heard of Finca Esperanza Verde. Finca Esperanza Verde is a beautiful organic coffee farm set high on a hill with some of Nicaragua’s most breathtaking sunsets. Vivianne and her team of local staff are gracious hosts and will happily guide you on one of the many well-maintained hiking trails that criss-cross the property. The guides are excellent and will help you spot parrots, birds, monkeys, sloths, etc that you would miss on your own. It’s possible to enjoy the property for the day or better yet stay a couple of days to take full advantage of the miles of trails, delicious organic food, and the cool crisp morning air (you’ll crave it after a week or two on the coast.) Book one of the Colibri Cabins for the best views.
You may be lucky enough to join a workshop or yoga retreat at Finca Esperanza Verde. The yoga experience at Finca Esperanza Verde is absolutely unique. During practice you may see toucans fly by or spot a sloth up high in the treetops.
The Finca offers guided hikes, organic coffee and meals, coffee tours, birdwatching tours, yoga and more.
2. Castillo del Cacao in Matagalpa, Nicaragua
If you’re a chocolate lover then a visit to Castillo del Cacao is a must (when I checked last they were closed on Saturdays). It’s possible to tour the facilities before stocking up on the best chocolate in Nicaragua. Their coffee chocolate bar with whole roasted espresso beans is seriously divine and is nothing like anything Hershey’s makes.
Castillo del Cacao is located just outside of Matagalpa on the way to Finca Esperanza Verde.
3. Mujeres del Plomo in San Ramon
Looking for a fun workshop to do with kids or your girlfriends (my husband actually loved the jewelry making workshop too)? Mujeres del Plomo is a local women’s jewelry cooperative in San Ramon, Nicaragua. The group consists of about 4 women and their children. The ladies create jewelry out of seeds collected in the local countryside. You can stop in and buy a piece of jewelry or for $5-10 join for a short jewelry making workshop. Gain inspiration from the pieces they’ve already created and then create your own. The ladies are excellent teachers and will guide you along the way. Check out the pieces our group made!
4. Hike to Las Cruces and Cerro Apante
If you’re like me, it’s hard to be still for too long. I recommend hiking up the trail to Las Cruces. The loop trail was moderately challenging and well maintained. You can park your car in Matagalpa and then begin up the hill. You will come to a “ranger station” of sorts. Pay your entrance fee here and continue up the path. You will come to an awesome viewpoint overlooking the city of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Shortly after the viewpoint you will climb the stairs up to the statue overlooking the city for another view. There may be a couple of musicians playing up top and there will most certainly be couples and families enjoying this popular outing. Here is a funny little blog post about a couple that went the “wrong way” up to Las Cruces… don’t do what they did.
5. Visit Cascada Santa Emilia just outside of Matagalpa, Nicaragua
If you have a car take the gorgeous drive out to Cascada Santa Emilia, also known as Cascada Blanca. Pay the small fee and begin the hike down the paved path. There is a large cave behind the waterfall. I recommend following the path behind the thundering waterfall and looking out at the river below. I believe you can grab lunch here as well. We ate in town and we weren’t hungry, so I can’t say if the food is good or not.
Enjoy your time in Matagalpa! And as always feel free to reach out if you have specific questions. I’m happy to lend a hand… and if I don’t know the answer I can link you up with someone who does.
Love and Light,