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Condega

Urban pop – 10,000, total municipality 30,000

 

Also known as “Tierra de Alfareros” (or Land of the Potters), the city of Condega is located 185 km north of Managua on the Pan-American Highway. Declared a municipality in 1962, Condega has long been inhabited by indigenous peoples. Archeological evidence shows that these people were industrious potters. Today, ceramics continues to be an important industry. Located 4 km from Condega is Ducuali Grande, a community home to a women’s pottery co-op (715-2237). Travelers can visit the co-op and purchase reasonably priced pieces. For a taste of pre-Colombian pottery, visit the Museo Arquelogico Julio Cesar Salgado, located on the south side of the park. (Open Mon-Fri, 8 am to 4 pm; Sat, 8 am – 12 pm; closed Sundays.)

 

Besides pottery, other products manufactured in the region include leather goods, wood handicrafts and cigars. There are two cigar factories in town that can be visited, both located three blocks north of the park. The cultivation of grains, tobacco, coffee and produce, as well as cattle-raising are all central to Condega’s economy. On May 15th there is a celebration honoring the town’s patron saint, San Isidro Labrador. Head to the church, where a special blessing is bestowed on the town’s animals and grains.

 

During the Contra War Condega was a Sandinista stronghold and was the site of much violence. A testament to Condega’s involvement can be found in Airplane Park, where one of Somoza’s spy planes was shot down by revolutionaries on April 7, 1979. The aircraft has since been restored as an attraction at the top of a 100 meter hill. It can be reached by following the path behind the cemetery.

 

Travelers choosing to spend the night in Condega have several lodging options. Hospedaje Framer, on the south side of the park, offers rooms with shared bath for 3.75 USD per person (tel. 2715.2222). For more amenities, head to La Granja Hospedaje, located half a block east of the southeast corner of the park (tel. 2715.2357). It features private bathrooms, televisions and fans. A double goes for 10 USD. The hotel provides breakfast for an additional fee. Cabins can be rented at Campestre La Granja, located 300 meters east of the Marista School, right outside of Condega (tel. 2715.2521). One cabin for 2 to 4 people with bath goes for 25 USD. Double and single rooms are also available. There is an onsite typico restaurant as well as a pool (entrance for which costs 1.50 USD).

 

All of Condega’s restaurants serve typical Nicaraguan fare. Try some local favorites at Pollo Express, El Tipico Norte, or Restaurante Brago. Las Vegas and El Gualca, which also serve typical meals, turn into dancing hotspots on the weekends. Gualco also sells locally produced cheese, yogurt, wine, honey and coffee.

 

Outside of Condega there are several opportunities for rural tourism. Twenty-two kilometers northeast is Venecia, where travellers can visit local coffee farms. There is swimming and fishing at Laguna de Venecia and boats and fishing equipment are available for rent. Two kilometers away is the Estancia El Naranjo which offers an onsite restaurant and bar, lodging, hiking, horseback riding and more. Rooms with shared bath go for $5 USD per person; cabins for 2-3 people with private, hot water bath costs $20 USD; tents are also available for camping. Tel. 2715.2408 or 2715.2020 for reservations.

 

 

Tours to the area can be arranged through Esteli-based tour operator, Casa Esteli. (casaesteli@asdenic.org, www.casaesteli.org.ni.)

 

Twenty one kilometers northeast of Condega is Laureano Flores, a coop that features a hostel and onsite restaurant (8 USD per night, breakfast included). Guides can be arranged at the hostel for hikes on trails traversable by foot, horse or bicycle.

 

 

If traveling to Condega from Managua, take any express bus headed for Somoto or Ocotal/Jalapa from the Mayoreo terminal. The trip takes about 3 hours and costs 3.50 USD. The buses leave Mayoreo almost hourly from 5:10 am to 5:15 pm. All southbound buses from Somoto or Ocotal headed for Esteli or Managua also pass through Condega. Express buses stop on the Pan American Hwy in front of the cemetery. Ordinary buses (ruteados) pass in front of the park. The first bus to Managua passes Condega at approximately 4:30 am and the last around 4 pm.

 

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Other places nearby Condega: San Rafael Del Norte, Jinotega, Siuna, Somoto, Rosita, Chaguitillo, Dipilto, El Chile, Jinocuabo and Esteli.







27 Apr 2009

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