- 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
Masatepe (Nahuatl for “place of the deer”) is a quiet pueblo of about 12,000 that explodes in revelry the first Sunday of every June during its famous Hípica (horse parade). Stick around after the festivities for a steaming bowl of Masatepe’s culinary claim to fame—sopa de mondongo (cow tripe soup), served hot in front of the town’s gorgeous, architecturally unique church.
The Hípica is just one part of the fiestas patronales in honor of La Santísima Trinidad, the black Christ icon a Chorotegan found in the trunk of a tree during the years of the Spanish colony. Find other meals in the Bar Sarapao or Eskimo shop on the north side of the park.
Outside of the city, both sides of the highway are lined with the workshops of the extraordinarily talented Masatepe carpenters, whose gorgeous, handcrafted hardwood and rattan furniture is prized throughout the country.
You’ll wish you could fit more of it in your luggage (a set of chairs and a coffee table go for about $100), but console yourself instead with a comfortable, old-fashioned hardwood rocking chair. They’ll disassemble and pack it down to airline-acceptable size for you for a small fee.
If driving to Masatepe from the south, save time for a meal at Mi Teruño Masatepino (on the east side of the road, just north of the turnoff for Pio XII and Nandasmo), a delicious open-air restaurant featuring Nicaragua’s traditional country cuisine.
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition