To the Northern Highlands

A couple of routes to the Honduran border use the Pan-American Highway heading north of Lake Managua. The road rises and winds through hilly country, with fields set aside for agriculture and coffee growing, giving way to mining and pine forests. Damage from the Revolution is evident throughout the region, and particularly in the small town of Estelí. A short detour south of Estelí takes a paved road to good walking and wildlife country in Matagalpa and Jinotega. North of Estelí the road splits, leading to Somoto and Ocotal, and completing the 214-km paved road from the capital to Honduras.

Tipitapa and further north

Heading east out of Managua along the southern shore of the lake is Tipitapa (21 km). The resort has reopened and you can swim in clean water in the baths. The air-conditioned restaurant attached to the thermal baths is good. There is a colourful market, and the
Fiesta del Señor de Esquipulas
takes place on 13-16 January.

The Pan-American Highway goes north through Tipitapa to
Sébaco
, passing through
Ciudad Darío
, where the poet Rubén Darío was born. You can see the house, which is maintained as a
museum
. There is an arts festival for the week of his birthday, 18 January. Sébaco and the surrounding area was badly affected by Hurricane Mitch. East of the highway is
Esquipula
, 2½ hours by bus, a good place for hiking, fishing and riding.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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