This is a post in our series On Culture and Currency: History Lessons in the Palms of our Hands.
Cañón de Somoto
The Somoto Canyon is one of the true treasures of Nicaragua. Only recently has this natural wonder been utilized as an eco-tourism destination, so it still feels off the beaten path. In the department of Madríz, in the northern most section of the country, the Rio Coco has formed this beautiful feature. When my sister, Kari, came to visit last year, I knew this had to be on the agenda. We did the full hike/float through the canyon, rock climbed, and camped up at the edge of the canyon. A local family made us a delicious dinner and breakfast once we summited the canyon, complete with delicious homemade cheese and cream. Emily was a trooper, and did this trip in the throes of Chikungunuya. She made it through the whole hike, but the day after needed to use a donkey to make it back down the canyon!
Nicaragua produces many beautiful artisanal products, one of which is ceramics. Last Sunday, I went to visit a colleague in the community of Ducuale Grande, Estelí. He is working with a local Nicaraguan NGO to help families in rural communities build improved ovens as an income-generation tool. About 50 minutes north of Estelí by bus, Ducuale Grande is also known as “the town of potters”. We visited the local women’s ceramic cooperative, and I bought a couple of pieces from them. It felt great to be supporting this community organization, and I was able to buy everything for less than three 50 cordoba bills!