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20 km north of Ocotal is Dipilto, a town whose claim to fame is without a doubt its exceptional coffee. With an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level, average temperatures of 20°C and evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year, it is the perfect setting in which to grow those oh-so-fragrant beans. In 2007 one of its coffees won the Cup of Excellence Award. Most of Dipilto’s farms are small and privately owned, and farmers generally form cooperatives. One of Nicaragua’s smallest municipalities, Dipilto is overwhelmingly rural, with ninety percent of the population living in small settlements made up of adobe and tile-roofed houses. Most of the land belongs to the Jalapa Mountain Range Protected Area.


Tourists who wish to visit a coffee farm should head to Finca San Isidro. The farm is part of the fairly new initiative being developed by the Nicaraguan tourism bureau (Intur) called Ruta Del Café. San Isidro offers horseback riding and hiking as well as food and lodging. A bed and two meals costs 15 USD per person per night. Transport directly from Ocotal can be arranged through Parador Turistico La Cascada Macdouglas (505-732-2620, 505-855-0238) a restaurant that also offers cabins and a hostel. Parador Turistico is located at a waterfall just north of Santuario de la Virgen de la Piedra. There you can also pick up a guide to take you to the nearby El Volcan. Don’t be fooled by the name though, El Volcan is actually a mountain --not a volcano at all. On top of the mountain is the water source for the Dipilto Rivers.


Thousands of Catholic pilgrims from Nicaragua and Honduras come to Dipilto each year to pay homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe at Santuario de la Virgen de la Piedra located by a large boulder on the banks of the Dipilto River. Worshippers often take water from the river as it is considered blessed and have healing properties. The statue of the virgin was erected in 1946, but was only declared holy by the Catholic Church in 1996.



Other places nearby Dipilto: Matagalpa, Rio Blanco, Mulukuku , Sebaco, Ocotal, Condega, Macuelizo, Somoto, Jinocuabo and Rosita.

27 Apr 2009

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