Are you thinking of visiting the north of Nicaragua? Definitely, Somoto has to be in your “places to visit in Nicaragua” list. Escape from the warm cities and enjoy the fresh wheater, as a plus having an adventure water sports day.
I have four strong reasons to write down Somoto on your bucket list for Nicaragua.
1. Somoto Canyon National Monument
The main reason for stopping here! This canyon is still undiscovered for tourist and even also for Nicaraguans, it has been only 9 years since the canyon was discovered as a touristic attraction. However, locals use to swim all the time in one of oldest rock formations in Central America.
If you love water, stunning scenarios, high adrenaline jumps and having the feeling that you are the only one on earth, you will enjoy Somoto canyon! You will swim the waters from Comali River (from Honduras) and Tapacali, both join to form the large Coco River, you will check the exact point where these rivers collide!.
The best part of the tour starts when you are floating face up in the water between 120 and 150 meters walls, just impressive!
If you really enjoy some adrenaline I highly recommend doing all the jumps. The highest one is 20 meters (do it only if you did this kind of jumps before). Standing on top of the rock and make the decisions to jump is one of the best feelings ever!
I recommend doing the long tour of 6 hours and 14 kilometers, you are able to see really cool parts of the canyon and spend all morning in this beautiful spot.
It is not a better way to appreciate the canyon that doing it with Henry Soriano, the local tour coordinator. He will fix you up with the better guides and will solve all your problems with the best smile. Henry Soriano´s house also provides rooms and other activities, like milking a cow (why not?)
The long tour is US$30 and includes a delicious lunch cooked in a traditional Nicaraguan kitchen with homemade tortillas.
2. Rappeling the canyon
I`m a climber (well I used to be more active in the past), from my own experience the rappelling wasn`t really impressive (Up to 60 meters high), but rappelling with the Somoto Canyon views it can be really cool. (US$12).
Henry Soriano can arrange this activity too, so don’t hesitate to ask him.
3. Rosquillas Somoteñas
Somoto is the city where these cookies are from. Don’t miss the chance to visit one of the famous factories and buy a big bag of them!
Ask for directions to go to Rosquillas Vílchez, two big adobe wood burning ovens cook 20,000 rosquillas a day with only 16 workers doing all the stuff. The factory is really small, but it has a cute family environment.
They start working around 3 am in the morning to have the first order ready in the morning. The best time to visit them is around 12 when the ovens are on fire and they are baking non-stop.
Basically, the rosquillas are made of salted corn dough baked with cheese, and they are really addictive!
4. Somoto City
The city, that preserves one of the Nicaraguan`s oldest churches, has a cowboy essence that I loved. The men usually wear cowboy’s hats and big belts, and you can be on the same street with a guy on a horse and a taxi driver fighting to cross roads.
Somoto people are really friendly and are more than available to talk to you. The local markets are colorful and it’s a great place to find strange things, not only from Nicaragua but also from Honduras since the border is only a 15 minutes ride.
HOW TO GET THERE
- Take a bus to Estelí (From Managua are direct buses to Somoto)
- From Estelí find the North Terminal and take a bus to Somoto. Buses run every hour (C$30 and it takes around 2 hours).
- Once you are in Somoto catch a bus to El Espino (the Honduras border) and tell the driver to stop in Henry Soriano´s place (La casa de Henry Soriano), or to stop at the entrance of the canyon (en la entrada del Cañon de Somoto). (C$10 and it takes 10 minutes).