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"santo domingo, chontales, nicaragua" Personal Page by chontales


Climb to the top of the white rock monolith that soars above the countryside near to the town of Santo Domingo. Amazing 360 degree views of Chontales and beyond: Mountain ranges, volcanoes, cloud forest, tropical dry forest, gold mines, lakes and cattle country. The climb will take 3 hours round trip from the centre of town for someone of reasonable fitness. Call in at the Alcadia in Santo Domingo and ask for Arnulfo Espinoza to give you directions.


Stay at the Hotelito Las Brumas, a working coffee plantation set amongst several acres of cloud forest. Ramon Pineda will guide you through his private reserve and cafetal. You will enjoy a night in rustic accommodation with fabulous food, including homemade cuajada and tortillas with red beans cooked over a traditional wood burning stove. A tranquil retreat with an attentive and friendly host, who may even treat you to a session on his accordion.


Due to the increased elevation of Santo Domingo (700 masl) you will find a combination of ecosystems, including cloud forest. Wildlife that you hope to spot includes 2 and 3 toed sloths, spider monkeys, violaceous trogons, passerinis tanagers and cinnamon hummingbirds. The flora is equally attractive including many broad leafed plants, ferns, orchids and numerous wild flowers.


Santo Domingo is located in an extinct volcanic crater, hence the surrounding land is mineral rich and contains a high percentage of gold. The operations are still quite primitive with small groups of miners digging out tunnels, one man wide, 25m down and then extracting the earth by hand. The ore is ground by large stones and then washed and an amalgam formed with mercury in order to capture the gold. It is worth going to talk to the miners on Cerro de Las Nubes, they may even invite you to go into the mine with them!


You don´t need to climb to the top of Peña blanca in order to appreciate the beauty of the countryside around Santo Domingo. Lush fields and forests, waterfalls, volcanic outcrops and the ever present Cordillera Amerrisque in the distance. At every turn of the road there is a breath taking view of Chontales.


Public Transport
There are 7 daily bus departures from the central market in Juigalpa. Cost 40 C$. Duration 2 ½ hours.
The road is paved up to La Libertad and then there are works in progress to Santo Domingo. The journey travels over the Cordillera and through sparsely populated cattle country, with a stop to buy the best guirilla and cuajada in Chontales.

Hotelito y Cafetal Las Brumas, Reserva Privada. Cost 200 C$ for 1 night with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Contact: Ramon Pineda Valenzuela 00505 84942408 or 00505 25120709,

Lou van Zwanenberg offers a guiding service in Spanish and English to Santo Domingo. She can be contacted at

  • Page Written Sep 29, 2011
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