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Chronic: The first EcoFestival of the Colonial and Volcanoes Route in Masaya

Clementine Haudecoeur | Sep 14, 2015

Stand from the EcoFestival in Masaya. | Photographer: Jonathan Moreno Nuñez

A day to discover the new touristic attractions of Masaya and to feel the richness of the Nicaraguan culture.

Yesterday, my colleague Jonathan Moreno Nuñez, and me, spent the day in Masaya for the EcoFestival organized by África 70 as part of the Project Support to Economic Local Development through the touristic sector: Colonial and Volcanoes Route, financed by the European Union and the Nicaraguan Government; and executed by the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR), with technical support from the Development Cooperation Agency from Luxemburg (LuxDev).

We arrived in Masaya at 10am in order to participate in the Cailagua’s Petroglyphs Touristic Route Clean-Up Day. We thought the group would focus on cleaning the site of the petroglyphs so we started walking on an earthy path that leads to the renewed track of the petroglyphs in the indigenous community of Monimbó. We were lucky to meet three young boys who took us to the petroglyphs. I say lucky because if we would have gone there by ourselves, we would most certainly have gotten lost. The renewed track is very nice but I do not recommend you to go there on your own, first for security reasons, but also because you could easily get lost and would probably miss the petroglyphs that are hidden in the bed of the river.
We did not find the group from the Clean-Up Day because we become aware later that they focused their efforts on cleaning up the touristic path that leads to that earthly track to the petroglyphs.

Despite the fact that we were not able to participate in the activity, we did not regret our walk because we were able to enjoy the wonderful view that this track offers over Masaya’s Lagoon and the flight of different species of hawks who live in that natural reserve.

From there, we wandered a bit in the city and we were able to appreciate the beauty of the churches and other ancient monuments from Masaya. We also relaxed for a while in the central park, a pleasant place, colorful and lively.

At 2pm, we walked towards the Place of Culture were the EcoFestival took place. They were still getting ready so we went to buy some water in a bar nearby. The manager told us: “If they said 2pm it means they believe people will arrive at 3pm and they will start at 3:30pm”. I thought she was exaggerating but no, she was right, and that the “Nica Time” my friend!
The event started with a discourse explaining the impact of the project of the Colonial and Volcanoes Route for the touristic sector in Masaya and raising people awareness on solid waste management with this slogan that they repeated throughout the afternoon: “El mejor residuo es el que no produce. ¡Quiere a tu país!”(The best waste is the one that don’t produce any. Love your country!).

After that, we assisted to a presentation of traditional Nicaraguan dances such as the Güeguënse Dance, the Elderly Dance and different folkloric dances that were precious with the very colorful traditional costumes.

Next to the stage, there were some stands with local micro-entrepreneurs presenting their traditional medicine products and others handicrafts. In fact, Carlos Aldana, coordinator of the Cailagua Petroglyphs Project, and Eddy Blandino, communication officer of the same Project, explained that one of the expected results was the organizational strengthening of touristic MSMEs. Silvia Jiménez de Regidor, Director of the Centro Naturista Tismayán, one of the 15 beneficiary artisans of the project, commented that they were offered different workshops, ranging from solid waste management to client assistance methods, to improvement of their products packaging. According to her, this kind of initiative is a real incentive for the youth because it gives them a reason to believe in a better future. At a personal level, Silvia is very thankful to all the opportunities this project gave her and says that now she feels she is “more valuable”.

We also met Noel Enrique Rayo Flores, member of the Monimbó community, who is one of the 8 youth selected to become profesional tourist guides for this Cailagua Petroglyphs Route. Noel explained that they were trained on the History of the city and of the petroglyphs, on environmental issues, but also received English classes and first aid assistance methods in order to be well prepared to receive both national and international tourists. Now, Noel has is Touristic Guide Diploma and one can feel his passion for Masaya, the city of flowers, as he would not stop talking about the legends around the archaeological site, about the fauna and flora of this area but also about the History of the city. You can see that those guides were well prepared by this project from the European Union so that is why I invite you to go visit the interpretation room that will be soon inaugurated in Campo Santo, and where you will be able to contemplate archaeological pieces and contract the services of the guides, between others.

The day ended with a crazy atmosphere with the concert of several famous Nicaraguan bands: the troubadour Salvador Bustos, Leche Burra, Milly Majuc y Manifiesto Urbano. The public was hysteric, singing out loud the dynamic songs of those bands.

It was a very interesting day, because of everything we learned about the subsidized projects of the Colonial and Volcanoes Route, but also a cultural and entertaining day, thanks to the different groups that went on the stage. Thank you África 70, INTUR, Luxembourg Cooperation Agency (LuxDev) and the European Union for this EcoFestival!

If you want to see more of this event, visit our Photo Gallery.