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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.



The city of Jinotega is situated at 1,000 above the sea level, on a valley surrounded by spectacular mountains. This valley has already been inhabited during the pre-Columbian times by different indigenous groups. The Spanish colonists arrived in the beginnings of the 17th century and took control over the region shortly after. The majority of indigenous remains have disappeared, but an interesting collection of crafts and other historical objects has been successfully preserved and is exhibited at the Harvey Wells Museum of the city.

There are many comfortable hotels, good restaurants, bars and clubs in Jinotega, which also functions as an excellent site to stay overnight before exploring the department. One can get to several attractive destinations from this city of pleasant weather. The temperature ranges between 18 and 22 Celsius, very fresh in comparison to the rest of the country.

The city has a peaceful ambiance. There is a park with many trees and a church they call 'cathedral'. Furthermore, coffee lovers can observe the production process of this grain and even taste a cup of this excellent product, which has won several international awards.

Visitors can arrange tours through the trails of some mountains that surround the city, either at hotels or at the local tourist information office. 'Cerro La Cruz' is one of them. From it summit one can have panoramic views of the whole valley and the city in its center.

The municipality is part of the 'Cordillera Dariense', which one can see and cross when traveling from Matagalpa. The road goes through a beautiful landscape of pine trees, foggy hills and green farms. Before reaching Jinotega, one has a panoramic view of the valley.

The Dantanli - El Diablo Natural Reserve is located near the city and offers trails through coffee plantations and the forest, as well as visits to waterfalls like La Bujona, birdwatching tours, among others. There are several communities offering lodging options, guides and eateries.

Apanas Lake

Increasing the river flow of the Tuma River in the Apanas Vally was the strategy engineers used to create the first artificial lake in Nicaragua. Lake Apanas is the main hydroelectric energy supplier in the country, but also offers attractions for tourists.

The lake is situated 10 minutes from Jinotega, but it is so big that it actually takes an hour to get to the other shore. The wooded area that surrounds the lake gives a splendid scenario, and the many birds and animals that inhabit this destination make it an interesting spot to explore. Horseback riding and fishing are some of the activities you can do here, in addition to kayaking on the lake.

The hydroelectric plant is situated a few kilometers from Lake Apanas (Southeast). This plant, called Central America Power Plant, is at a lower level than the lake. So, tourists can see it from above, but not go to it.

Because the area is not massively visited, official tours are still not offered. In order to do an activity here, it is recommended to ask your hotel to evaluate your possibilities.

The small lagoon of El Dorado, divided by the area and the dam of Asturias, is located near Apanas. Even though it is rarely visited or known, the place offers a natural splendor and fresh waters.

Getting There

There are two ways to get to Jinotega. Coming from Sebaco (on the Pan American Highway), follow the road to Matagalpa and before reaching the city, take a detour located on the left (Km 120), which is the beginning of the El Guayacán Highway. It will take you to the entrance of the city and is a shorter option than the second one, which is getting to the city of Matagalpa and then taking the highway to Jinotega.

You will find buses to Matagalpa, Sebaco, Esteli and Leon in Jinotega.