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El Coyotepe fortress

Department: Masaya

Municipality: Masaya (view on map)

Type: Fortresses

Opening Hours

8AM - 5PM



  • Tony Montana wrote on Jul 21, 2023:

    Ive read some comments about people who have visited El Coyotepe and complain about all the stuff that happened there in the past. Obviously it wasnt a pincess castle, it was a fortress used by many, nonetheless rich in history. Read, Batalla del Coyotepe. So, if you dont like it or it gives you a 'bad vibe' or whateve, then do not visit it y ya!. But I think its a nice experience for those who want to explore Nicaragua and learn about its history.

  • johnson complanianosaces wrote on Feb 5, 2016:

    this place was so beautiful but there wasn't as much too see as far as buildings.

  • Maria t wrote on Nov 2, 2015:

    I must agree with Ana. The truth is not being told nor will you ever see the entire prison.
    I spent my childhood in Masaya ( I lived so close that it was only maybe a mile away). I have been to El coyotepe, (not by choice) and the atrocities that cultivated there are undeniable. It is disgusting that money is being made at the expense of the many lives lost in this place. It is such a dichotomy that a place from where beauty can be seen; have such evil within. As a Nicaraguan native I feel no pride for this part of my countries history; but our creator is just and evil will always have to answer.

  • Ana wrote on Oct 14, 2015:

    Well, I cannot believe people find this place interesting. Unless you had a loved one being tortured by the Sandinista regime, the unconstitutional government of Nicaragua, then you have no idea about the cruel, inhumane, diabolical treatment that the prisoners suffered in this so called "castle" when in reality it was a torture chamber. You can feel the terrible energy people suffered in this place. To all the people who give a tour of this place, please share what really happened there. Eventually, karma will catch up with all the evil people that performed their horrible acts of cruelty.

  • vanessa castro wrote on Feb 20, 2014:

    I have lived in Nicaragua since I was born. Then I came to live in the US. everytime I visit Nicaragua I always visit El Coyotepe. It's a beautiful experience. It has such a nice view and you learn a lot from it.

  • Luis Demoya wrote on Nov 30, 2009:

    when you arrive you will have to pay a fee for the tour... The people who you pay will give you the tour...

  • Luis Demoya wrote on Nov 30, 2009:

    The castle was very interesting... I took the tour and saw the prison cells and the torture rooms that they were put in... It was spooky so I decided to leave but it was very intresting

  • Robertgm wrote on Oct 1, 2009:

    Many people lost theie lives there many were tortured to extreme conditions such as tied to a chair under a slow water drip aimed to the top of your head allowing it to drip on it for hours sometimes days driving you insane. Not a very good place during certain times in Nicaraguan history but certainly a part of its history.

  • Herb wrote on Jan 10, 2006:

    My family and I lived in a house across the street from El Coyotepe in 1969 and 1970. A. Somosa was the president but the fortress did not have any prison. It was being used by the boy scouts at that time.

  • rigo taleno wrote on May 9, 2005:

    This is a wonderfull place, you actually can see the entire city of Masaya and also the Lake Managua and the Mombacho Volcano as well as the Masaya lagoon and volcanos , very nice experience to visit this place is. thanks rigo.

Leave a Comment

Have you been here? Leave a comment below to share your experience.


In 1893 president Zelaya built a big fortress on top of one of the most strategic hills, close to Masaya. This fortress was named Fortaleza El Coyotepe, and allowed his troops to easily observe enemies – mainly North American armies who tried to take Masaya – and protect the land.

During the dictatorial regime of the Somoza family a dungeon was constructed below the fortress. The dungeon served as a prison for political enemies, and housed at times more than 800 people who lived there under terrible conditions. The prisons had barely any light (some of the prisons actually had no light whatsoever), and were packed with people. Torture rooms were also found.

The Sandinistas also used the fortress as a prison before it was handed over to the Boy Scouts. They used it for their annual jamboree. It nowadays still belongs to the Boy Scouts, who have opened the fortress for visitors. You can walk around in the dungeons, get a tour and hear about the battles that were fought here. The dungeons have been spray-painted with graffiti but that doesn’t make it less creepy to walk in the dark halls and get an idea how the hundreds of prisoners must have lived here.

Entrance fee:

From El Coyotepe fortress you can see the city of Masaya, its lagoon, the Masaya volcano, Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua, and the Mombacho volcano. You can climb the four little towers to enjoy this superb panoramic view.

There is a small entrance fee, which already includes a guided tour.

Getting There

To get there, you can take a taxi from Masaya who will bring you here. In your own car you can just look for a big hill next to the road (km. 28 Carretera Masaya). It’s on your right when you come from Masaya. There is an entrance at the foot of the hill.

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