The capital city of the department of Madriz is the small city of Somoto. Somoto has an active urban center set around the ancient parochial church (this church still possesses most of its colonial structure from 1661 as well as ancient objects from colonial times). The city has comfortable hotels, restaurants, bards, and a popular discotheque. Somoto can very well function as a departure place to explore other attractions in the area. Within the municipality’s limits, however, there are also various interesting attractions to be found.
One of these attractions is the small Piedra Pintada Museum, located in the central park of Somoto. An interesting collection of archeological pieces that were found in and around the city are put on display. Another interesting activity is to pay a visit to one of the rosquilla workshops in town where these tasty snacks that are famous throughout Nicaragua can be seen produced using artisanal methods.
Outside the urban center of Somoto there are two remarkable attractions. The Somoto Canyon (Cañón de Somoto) is an enormous geological formation that stretches for over one kilometer with steep walls that flank the Coco River and that reach at certain points over 200 meters in height. The other attraction is related to religious tourism. After a little boy reported to have seen an image of Virgin Mary in 1990 the Cacaulí area became a sanctuary that nowadays receives thousands of visitors every month, expressing their faith or asking for miracles.
There are also two important celebrations in Somoto. The Patron Saint festival takes place at the beginning of May, and the Carnival is celebrated at the end of November. This Carnival is visited by people from both other parts of the country as well as the neighboring country Honduras.