Good Friday processionI had some difficulties related to traveling during Holy Week, but saw a procession for Good Friday. In Estelí, I visited a small one room museum about the Nicaraguan revolution and the Sandinistas.

I had been warned that the country slows down for Holy Week and that Thursday and Friday are particularly Good Friday procession-2slow. On the advice of La Selva Negra staff, I took a taxi to Matagalpa (rather the the bus) . I planned to take the bus from Matagalpa to Estelí. However, all the buses had stopped running. I hired the driver to take us to Estilí. On the way, I saw tons and tons of coffee in bags waiting to be exported. I also saw an entire valley of rice.

In Estelí, I could only find one open restaurant. Everyone was in the Cathedral. On Friday, there was a procession . On corner of main street, there were sawdust pictorials portraying the stations of the cross . The priests led  a procession of about 1,000 people. A brass band played music. At each block, the priest prayed and reflected on the particular station of the cross. After the procession passed, the sawdust picture was destroyed.

I visited a 36 meter waterfall, Salto Estanzuela. It is a popular spot full of picnicking locals. I hitched a ride with the local Minister of Health–he was appropriately checking the water for disease. I also visited the Galería de Héroes y Mártires that tells the story of the revolution and the Sandinistas. The displays are simple but moving–photos and articles of clothing of slain revolutionaries. The faces reminded me of my college classmates. They had the same shirts, hairstyles and youthful enthusiasm. The Nicaraguan revolution is generally recognized as a true Central American revolution–a popular uprising of the people against a brutal dictator. The part of the story that has me wondering is the role of the United States. America supported the dictator, Somoza. Estelí is famous because Somoza and his Guardia Nacional made their last stand here–and lost. The Sandinistas seized the city and Somoza fled the country.

I stayed at a good hotel, El Moderno. It was not especially modern, but the people were friendly and the rooms simple and clean.

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6 Responses to Estelí

  1. Larry Hudson says:

    The trip sounds exciting. Do you have a master plan or just wander around looking for interesting things to do?

    Have you been making any panoramic shots?


  2. Patrick says:

    The master plan is to go from Panama to Guatemala. We are trying to mix up beach, highlands, lakes, cities and small, local areas and more or less keep moving north and west. We have two guide books, but really only plan a couple of days at a time. We usually don´t make reservations. It´s a lot of countries in not too much time. Took some panoramics, but not as good as yours. The uploads are (mostly)from the point and shoot.

  3. Fritz Allen says:


    Sounds like you guys are having lots of fun!
    The places we like in Guatemala are Antigua, there’s a nice 5 star hotel for around $80 US called Santa Domingo it is in a ruin of an old monastary. We also like going to Lake Atitlan we usually stay with friends in a place called Su NuNa (don’t think thats the right spelling). They have lived in Guatemala now around 20 years. Its a real small village close to San Marcos on the lake. There are boats that leave from Panajachel
    pretty regularly take the east boat dock. To visit them you would ask the boat driver to take you to Casa Mariposa in Su Nu Na. Their names are
    Bonnie and Joe. There is a hotel up the road from them. Pretty steep walk the owners would usually pick you up at the town dock. The views from the lake are incredible with all the surrounding volcanoes. Another hotel we stayed at on the lake was Villa Sumaya it was nice when we were there. Lots of people take trips to Santiago on the lake but I wouldn’t stay there because they have christian loudspeakers going off till late at night. Panajachel has a good market on the street and good restaurants but not as good of views of the lake. A side trip from the lake would be
    Chichicastenango it is crowded on market days but kind of interesting to see. Market days are Wed and Sun they have a Mayan procession at the church
    on Sundays and I think that is the biggest market day. It is probably too hot for Tikal or Monterico on the Pacific beach (black sand) but those can be great to visit at the right time. There are other places that sound interesting but we have not been to. Check with tourist companies
    for ideas and also check bus schedules for better fares. The bus from Antigua to Lake Atitlan is probably better than the shuttles. Take the early morning bus. We’ve had friends hike some of the volcanoes which would be interesting. Some are still active. My favorite place is probably Lake Atitlan.

    Paula and Fritz

  4. Patrick says:

    Thanks a lot, Fritz. We will check out those places. When were you down there?

  5. Patrick says:

    Larry, we are having fun. The other reason is we have been in some remote areas and the only Internet access is by satellite connection (very slow).

  6. Fritz Allen says:

    We have been going down there since 1991, and have made 20 or so trips, I think Sadi has been 6 times. The last was in 2006. You really need to be some what careful. There is a fair amount of crime. Traveling in small vans and even small tourist buses is not always a good idea as they are easy for bandits to stop, chicken buses at times seem safer.The roads from Guate City to Antigua are ok but the roads to lake Atitlan you really need to be careful. We are pretty good about keeping money in several different place and having a throw away wallet just in case you are robbed. Most of the people are really nice, great culture and weather. BTW thanks for the card, how cool. Be safe and have a great time!

    Fritz, Paula and Sadi

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