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Small waterfall at Peñas Blancas


The Northern department of Jinotega is one of the largest in the country. It has diverse natural attractions of great importance, in addition to quiet cities, rural towns and remote indigenous communities. This mountainous territory has humid massifs, elongated valleys and some plateaus with cool dry weather. There are important natural reserves, two lakes, rivers and impressive panoramic views.

Located in the Southern edge and surrounded by mountains, the city of Jinotega is the regional administrative center, and it is an important destination with several attractions. The urban center is rather peaceful and features many tourist establishments. In addition to the surrounding coffee farms, the Dantalí - El Diablo natural reserve turns out to be an interesting place. Furthermore, Lake Apanas, and the rarely known lake of El Dorado, are also located nearby.

There are three regions of interest in this same area. One of them is the small city of San Rafael del Norte. Its center has a nice museum, which is also located near the El Jaguar Natural Reserve, with information about the national hero Augusto C. Sandino. The second place is the city of La Concordia and its tranquil urban center, in addition to the caves and waterfalls situated in its surroundings. The third place is Yalí, where one can also find hills, waterfalls and the Yalí Volcano Natural Reserve.

The rural towns of El Cuá and San José del Bocay are situated in an area that covers the Southern edge of the department and borders the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS).


  • Jinotega

    Known as "the city of the mist", Jinotega is the urban center of this mountainous municipality of cool weather, where several natural pine and cloud forest reserves are located, in addition to large agricultural farms, many of them with coffee plantations. There are many rivers in the area, as well as the Apanas Lake, which has superb views and a hydroelectric power plant. The small and little known El Dorado Lake is another attraction in this municipality.

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  • Cuá Bocay

    There is a lot of jungle in the large and sparsely populated municipality of El Cuá - Bocay. Its mountainous territory is part of the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, the largest in Central America, mostly covered by rain forest and cloud forest. Furthermore, the Peñas Blancas Massif is also part of El Cuá and several tourist activities are offered here. There are other interesting natural sites, such as an area of the Kilambé Hill, the Cerro Saslaya National Park, in addition to the Bocay and Coco rivers. The capitol of the municipality is the town of El Cuá, but there are also other towns like San José de Bocay and Ayapal, smaller villages and indigenous communities such as the Mayagnas - Sumos and the Miskitos.

  • La Concordia

    Located in a lower level than the rest of its neighboring mountainous municipalities, La Concordia has higher temperatures than other cities of the department. Its center is the town of the same name, which has a nice central park with sports courts, is actually the birthplace of the national heroe Benjamin Zeledon. Furthermore, there is a waterfall and some caves near the city center. Its traditional festivities are held on February 11th, in honor of the 'Virgen de Lourdes'.

  • San Rafael del Norte

    This mountainous municipality of cool weather has its center in the small city of San Rafael del Norte. An old church, the Tepeyac retirement home and a nice museum about the national hero Augusto C. Sandino, who used the city as an operational center, are part of the attractions. There are many rivers with ponds in the area, as well as the Kilimanjaro Tourist farm and the El Jaguar Natural Reserve.

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  • San Sebastián de Yalí

    The municipality and the capitol of the same name are commonly known as "Yalí". Surrounded by mountains, the urban center has a pretty central park, a municipal stadium and a waterfall located nearby. Also, the territory includes many rivers and the Yali Volcano Natural Reserve. There are various festivals, but the most important one is celebrated in honor of San Sebastian by mid-January.

  • Santa María de Pantasma

    The municipality has mountainous areas and a large circular valley (foreigner geologist speculate that it might have been originated after the crash of some meteorite). There are many villages in this territory, which center is the town of Santa Maria de Pantasma. Many rivers cross the area, including the Pantasma River. It is also known that there are many indigenous ruins in this municipality. The religious festivities are held from May 15th to 30th, in honor of San Isidro.

  • Wiwilí

    The large, mountainous and sparsely populated municipality of Wiwili is crossed by several major rivers, like the Coco River (also named Wangki), where its capitol is also located. The majority of inhabitants of its center and southern area are mostly mestizos, while the ones living in the northern part are miskito communities.