Matagalpa – Day 1 : coffee and socialism

Today we went up in the mountain a bit.

So now we’re in Matagalpa, main city in one of the most agricultural oriented region of Nicaragua, mostly known for its coffee production. We do find here similar conditions to the others coffee regions we’ve seen (around San José in Costa Rica, or Salento in Colombia), with fresher and wetter weather, but still a lot of sun.

To get here, we had to get up early (too early…). There are only 2 buses a day from Masaya to Matagalpa : 6am or 7am. And we were told we should arrive at least 30min before departure because they can get quite crowded (well, there’s only two of them…). As we were about 40min away from the bus station, the 7am bus seemed better (as we didn’t really want to wake up before 5am). Bus we left the hostel pretty quickly, and took a taxi because it was raining a lot, so we reached the bus station just before 6. We got lucky as there was still room available on the 6am bus, so we left immediately!

After two and a half hours bus we reached Matagalpa’s bus station, and walked to our hostel with 2 other French travelers we had met in Liberia, Costa Rica and met again here on the bus. We realize more and more that central America is a very small place, as we often meet other travelers again, or at least people who’ve met other people we know!

As we arrived at the hostel at 9, the rooms weren’t ready yet, but we booked our room and left our big backpacks in the luggage storage, before going in town to explore. Matagalpa itself isn’t beautiful, and aside two nice parks with a lot of Mexican food trucks (no idea why…) and a very white cathedral, there’s not much to see. But the town is surrounded by green hills, so it seems much less grey and oppressing as it could have been.

The parks provide a great deal of shade ! Phew !

As we had some time on our hands, we went to the free coffee museum. A lot of informative panels about the history and the production of coffee around here. There was a lot of text, very dense and not always well written or laid out (sometimes it felt a bit like a first draft…). But it did help us realize life here is often very hard, and people died of hunger in the region just 15 years ago, following the coffee crisis of 1999.

The museum was also clearly pro Daniel Ortega, the actual president, which belongs to the same party that overthrew the old dictator in the 70s. But as one of the founding members and most important figure of the party, Carlos Fonseca, was born (and assassinated) here, it’s no surprise. We also went to the Carlos Fonseca exposition, hosted in the house he grew up in, but the translations were very bad, and the panels were not in the right order (and some of them obviously missing). So even if there was a lot of information, it was a bit hard to understand the story as a whole.

So, that’s enough cultural information for now! But I had to fill the article a bit because aside from eating lunch at a local restaurant, taking a nap and eating great pizzas (at a real Italian pizzeria, with the only wood oven in the city), we didn’t do much today (yes, the nap was long 😊 ).

More news about Matagalpa and around in the next post!

P.S : this article is redacted on time, but the Wi-Fi code is written on the reception desk, and I’m in bed in my underwear, so it will be posted tomorrow !