- Explore Nicaragua online


Chontales is situated in Nicaragua's central area. It features a wide landscape of plains and plateaus interrupted by elevations like the 'Serranía de Amerrisque' and the hills of the 'Cordillera Chontaleña'. Even though the department is little known for tourist destinations, it does have lots of natural, archaeological and historical attractions. Tourism is just starting to develop here, but one can find a few hotels and restaurants in the area.

The city of Juigalpa is the administrative center of Chontales. It is an interesting destination due to its pretty urban center, which has nice views of 'Amerrisque' and includes a museum and a zoo. The Gregorio Aguilar Archaeological Museum has pre-Columbian and colonial pieces which were inherited by previous inhabitants. On the other hand, the Thomas Belt Zoo exhibits some of the tropical national fauna, as well as exotic species from other countries. Hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs can also be found in this area.

Chontales has a shoreline on Lake Cocibolca (also known as Lake Nicaragua). Here, one can enjoy beautiful sunsets and views of Ometepe Island. Many unexplored sites are worth a visit. The small town of Puerto Diaz is located near Juigalpa and features some islands. The fascinating Punta Mayales, located South, is surrounded by a farming area and dry tropical forests. Also, the El Nancital Archipelago is situated on the coasts of Acoyapa, and comprises more than 20 islands with abundant nature.

Furthermore, there are may interesting, small cities and towns between the summits of 'La Chontaleña' and 'Amerrisque'. The most dynamic is Santo Tomas, where visitors will find hotels and restaurants. San Pedro de Lóvago is located nearby. This one has many farms with attractions such as petroglyphs, waterfalls and mysterious caves. Also, the towns of La Libertad and Santo Domingo are known for industrial and artisanal gold mining.