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Altitude: 345 meters

Population: 28,596 (2008)

Festas Patronales: 2 Feb. Virgen de Cadelaria


Sweet and witchy are the two flavors of Diriomo, a city known in equal parts for cajeta candy and for a history of brujeria. Locals say they can trace the roots of the “pueblo de los brujos” to the time when indigenous tribes ruled the area and herbs, lemon, garlic were part of botanic medicine. The secrets of the ancient medicinal cures have been passed down through the ages and current practitioners (some of the more famous names include: Andrea Peña, Antonio Castellón, Ismael Vargas and Miguel Gómez) welcome those who are looking for help for health, emotional and love problems. To find the proper practitioner, visitors go to the municipal park and talk to the assistants who wait there. Depending on the problem (and the medicine needed to solve it) visits to a Diriomo brujo/a can cost anywhere from C$100 (US$5) to C$2,000 (US$100). If you need a shot of courage before your consultation, the local fermented corn drinks are called chicha bruja and calavera de gato (cat’s skull).


While you’re waiting to see a brujo, stop in Iglesia Santuario Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (constructed between 1795 and 1900), where the stone and brick walls and the cedar pillars are presided over by the Virgin Mary. During the February celebrations in her honor, residents present each other with food such as nacatamales, sweet cajetas, buñuelos and rosquillas before performing traditional dances such as las inditas, los diablitos, las negras and toro venado.


Sweet milk candy, called cajetas, is a tradition in Diriomo. The best place to try some is at La Casa de Las Cajetas (505-2-557-0015, fax 505-2-289-7726,, in front of the park), a family-run enterprise that has been producing cajeta for over 90 years. The sweets are now packaged in bright orange boxes with the ingredients, and even calorie information, printed on the side. Cajetas can be rather gooey, so make sure you plan to either eat that you buy or can keep the box in a cool place. The store offers a range of box sizes and cajeta flavors, including: orange, milk, grapefruit and spicy butter.


Doña Marca rents three clean rooms within the court yard of her restaurant, Los Rincones de Candelaria (505-8-423-0920). The single room ($10), matrimonial room ($20) and triple room ($30) have small bathrooms and televisions. The restaurant itself is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a la carte options that range from C$40 to C$90.



Other places nearby Diriomo: Masaya, Nindirí, Masaya Town, San Juan de Oriente, Niquinohomo, Jinotepe, La Boquita, Diriamba, Centro Ecoturistico La Máquina and Diria.

By Rachael Hanley
A sometime newspaper journalist with a heavy side of wanderlust, Rachael moved to Quito in November to work on the V!VA staff. She is currently...
09 Jun 2009

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