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The transformation of San Jacinto Hot Springs site

Clementine Haudecoeur | Oct 12, 2015

Site of San Jacinto Hot Springs | Photographer: Clémentine Haudecoeur

Presentation of the improvement made in the site of San Jacinto Hot Springs, in the department of León, Nicaragua.

Characterized by its hot fumaroles and its boiling mud holes, the site of San Jacinto Hot Springs, located in the department of León, presents an evident touristic interest. However, as its geological specificities destabilize the ground quite a lot, the existing infrastructures needed to me improved to give more security to the tourists and allow them to make the most out of what this place has to offer.

This was the big challenge that the Rural Cooperation Association in Africa and Latin America (ACRA) and the Mayor Office of Telica had to face together, as they implemented hand in hand the project ”Support in the development of the touristic potential of San Jacinto Hot Springs”.
This project is now to be completed and, thanks to the efforts made by the different actors involved, the tourists will now be able to enjoy:

1. An entrance house:
Located in the entrance of the site, it was thought for tourists to be able to ask for information and to pay for the entrance fee. For the moment, the cost is of C$10 for nationals and US$2 for foreigners.

2. An handicrafts market:
On both sides of the pavement bringing to the hot springs, you will find some stands of traditional handicrafts. In addition to the products made of the clay from the same region, you will be able to find handicrafts from Masaya or León in order to have more choices.

3. A Visitor Center:
Thanks to the project, the existing visitor center was remodeled and equipped. Besides playing the role of a viewpoint, this is also the focus point of the attraction as it gathers all the touristic activities offered in San Jacinto. You will be able to ask for the services of guides who will give you a short interpretative walk around the hot springs, explaining the history and the scientific specificities of this place. You will also be able to enjoy typical gastronomic products and smoothies made of natural fruits according to the season.
Managed by the Community Cooperative responsible for the touristic site of San Jacinto, tourists will also be able to ask there for the different community tourism activities existing in that area.

4. An access bridge:
Because of the morphological changes that destabilize the ground in this area, a bridge was built up of specific materials adapted to high temperatures in order to ensure tourists’ security.

5. A defined path for better security:
The Community Cooperative administrating the hot springs took the initiative to make a path out of painted stones in order for tourists to be able to come close to the fumaroles and boiling mud holes without danger.
The fact that they used painted stones will allow the cooperative members to keep adjusting the path as new fumaroles or mud holes go closing or opening up because the site is in a perpetual transformation.

6. The services of MSMEs from the community:
The project also supported 12 micro-businesses in order to impulse a new community touristic dynamism in the community of San Jacinto.
Tourists will for example be able to enjoy services of horse riding or learn how to cook some traditional foods such as nacatamales (corn-made food with meat), tortillas, and some typical sweets.
In order to provide services of quality, 20 youth and 20 adults from the community were trained on tourism professions.

It is important to emphasize the fact that this touristic complex is entirely administrated by the community, through the Cooperative of Touristic Services San Jacinto Hot Springs, made up of people from the community of San Jacinto, created and trained by the project, together with the Mayor Office of Telica, according to the co-management agreement signed by both parties. Being able to achieve a community management of the site was one of the major objectives of the project.

This project represented a total inversion of 250.031€ and was part of the initiative “Colonial and Volcanoes Route” (CVR), that was financed by the European Union and the Nicaraguan Government, with the technical support of the Cooperation Agency of Luxembourg (LuxDev) and the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR).
ACRA and the Moyor Office of Telica, executing organizations of the project, also received support from the Fundación Centro Empresarial Pellas and the geothermic company Polaris Energy Nicaragua SA.

More information on that project of the CVR here.