Looking for a cooler climate we made our way to this town up in the mountains nearer to the border with Honduras.
With a strong history: Estelí was the scene of heavy fighting in the civil war against the Somoza government from 1978 to 1979.
The town was heavily air-bombed by the regime’s National Guard. The human casualties were around 15,000; many of them young people. As a result, much of the town has been rebuilt.
This town is a strong contrast to other Nicaraguan towns we have visited. Situated on the Pan American highway, you will find the usual corregated metal shack homes of the poor, as found throughout Nicaragua. However, take a side turning & suddenly you are in an estate, with huge mansions owned by the tobbacco plantation & cigar factory owners. Both poverty & wealth side by side.
Therefore the town appears to be more affluent than most of those we’ve experienced in Nicaragua; with an abundance of shops & businesses.
It also appears, that with the growth in people discovering Nicaragua as a retirement option; it will become a magnet for expats. Beautiful 3-5 bedroom houses going from $85,000 to $150,000
One of the things worth doing is spending a day discovering the street art. Not your normal graffiti, these are mini ‘works of art’ depicting the revolution, hope for the future & life in general.
Things to do in Esteli:
* Cigar factories
* Leather cowboy boot makers
* Locally grown coffee shops
* Street Art
* Somoto Canyon: we were planning to do this; 4.7k river running through a beautiful canyon. You hike, boat then swim for 3-5 hrs. Unfortunately we were ill on the day.
* Access to the Miraflor nature reserve 30k away
Other than that, there is not a huge amount to do here, apart from replenish your rucksack in the many clothes shops, or sit in the square opposite the church & people watch.