Somoto, the Capital of Madriz
Somoto is pretty much a border town, located on the main Pan-American highway that interconnects with Honduras. It is only a few kilometres from the El Espino / La Fraternidad Border crossing. It is also the capital of the department of Madriz. Madriz is part of the “Segovias” three departments in Northern Nicaragua. The area is generally mountainous and has a tropical dry forest vegetation. Up until recently, few tourists crossing the border even considered stopping at Somoto. However the Somoto Canyon is now attracting more visitors.
This magnificent canyon, considered by many specialists as part of the oldest section of Central America that emerged from the ocean thousands of years ago. Travelers looking for a good adventure at the canyon are now stopping over in Somoto. The Canyon is also known as “Namancambre”. The Somoto Canon was declared a national monument by the government of Nicaragua a few years ago and has since begun to attract tourists.
The other claim to fame that Somoto has to offer are its “rosquillas”. They are corn cookies that are famous throughout Nicaragua. Rosquillas are produced in many other places, such as Jinotega and Matagalpa in Nicaragua and Danli in Honduras. However, the truth is that those from Somoto are the best of the best! You can visit some of the bakeries see the production process. Of course, you must then buy some to sample and to carry on through your trip along Central America as a snack.
The town of Somoto dates to 1591. The It was original name was Santiago de Tepesomoto. With time, the locals went for the shorter name of “Somoto”. It has a lovely old colonial church, which dates back to 1671. The main columns inside the church are a solid piece of wood. Amazingly, they have withstood several centuries! Across the street from the church is the Central Park. A pleasant green space where locals come to chat and enjoy the fresh shade of the old trees. The city is 216 km. from Managua and about 20 km from the El Espino / La Fraternidad border crossing with Honduras. The road is in excellent condition.