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Nicaragua

Shopping in Nicaragua

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Nicaragua is one of the richest countries in the region for handmade crafts, though many of them, like the wicker furniture, are difficult to take back home. Variety, quality and prices are favourable. Every city and town has its market. Usually the meats, fruits and vegetables are inside the market, while the non-perishable goods are sold around the outside. Some kind of handmade crafts or products of local workmanship can be found in most markets around the country. It may take some digging to find some markets as Nicaragua is not a mainstream tourist destination and the markets are not adapted to the visitor. The major exceptions are the craft market in Masaya, which is dedicated to the talents of the local and national craftsmen, and the central market in Managua, Roberto Huembes, which has a big section dedicated to crafts from all over the country. Crafts sold at hotels tend to be significantly more expensive.

Items to look out for include: cotton hammocks and embroidered handmade clothing from Masaya; earthenware ceramics from San Juan de Oriente, Condega, Somoto, Mozonte, Matagalpa and Jinotega; wooden tableware from Masaya; wooden rocking chairs from Masatepe; wicker furniture from Granada; jícaro cups from Rivas; agave Panama hats from Camoapa; leather goods from León and Masaya; home-made sweets from Diriomo; agave rope decor from Somoto; coconut and seashell jewellery from the Caribbean coast and islands; paintings and sculptures from Managua; balsa wood carvings and primitivist paintings from the Solentiname archipelago.

Shoppers will find visits to artisan workshops interesting and buying direct from the artisan is often rewarding. Prices in the Nicaraguan markets are not marked up in anticipation of bargaining or negotiation. A discount of 5-10% can be obtained if requested, but the prices quoted are what the merchant or artisan hopes to get.

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