The Pueblos Blancos and Carazo
- Where to Go
- The Best of Nicaragua
- Nicaragua’s Best Surfing
- Hiking Nicaragua’s Ring of Fire
- Nicaraguan Arts & Crafts
- Nicaragua’s Great Green North
- Sportfishing in Nicaragua
- Down the Río San Juan
- Nicaragua’s Celebrations & Fiestas
- Volunteering in Nicaragua
- Diving & Snorkeling in Nicaragua
- Managua’s Revolutionary Driving Tour
Escaping the heat of Managua or Granada is as easy as a 40-minute bus ride to the Pueblos Blancos and Carazo, two regions that occupy a breezy 500-meter-high meseta south of Managua and are thus far cooler and more relaxing.
The Pueblos Blancos, or White Villages, are named for the purity of color of their churches (some of which, naturally, are now other colors). They are separated to the north by the Sierras de Managua, to the east by the slopes of Volcán Masaya, to the south by the Laguna de Apoyo and Volcán Mombacho, and to the west by the dry, desolate decline toward the Pacific Ocean.
Each town is well known for something particular—bamboo craftwork, wicker chairs, black magic, folk dances, Sandino’s birthplace, crater lakes, beaches, or interesting festivals. Visiting the pueblos is an easy day trip best appreciated if you have a car, which permits you to tour furniture workshops, coffee plantations, or outdoor plant nurseries.
In nearby Carazo, the January celebration of San Sebastián is a dramatic and colorful festival not to be missed. Diriamba is home to Nicaragua’s national soccer team but baseball is given equal attention; games are exciting and fun. This is also the gateway to several Pacific beaches quieter than their more developed neighbors.
Getting to the Pueblos Blancos
Renting a car or taxi is the best way to visit the Pueblos, but you can get around almost as easily with the expreso minivan system. No more than 10 or 12 kilometers separate any two towns, all of which are easily accessible from Masaya, Granada, and Managua.
Buses to the Pueblos Blancos leave from Huembes, continue south on the Carretera Masaya, and then turn west into the hills at various points, depending on the route. The Carazo buses—to Jinotepe and Diriamba—travel via Carretera Sur and leave from the Mercado Israel Lewites and from a lot across from the UCA.
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition