Artisan Villages in Nicaragua
Experience another facet of Nicaragua's fascinating culture at a Nicaraguan artisan village. Within the rural areas of Nicaragua you will come across homes that are also used as workshops by artisans. See Nicaraguan artisans at work on a variety of handicrafts in Masaya and the smaller colonial villages surrounding it. Nicaraguan artisan villages afford a unique opportunity to gain insight into the skill behind local handicrafts.
Masaya City can be compared to a massive village and is the centre of Nicaraguan folklore. Masaya is considered by many to be the greatest craft hub in all of Central America. Best-known for the 19th century artisan market, every road in the Monimbó suburb contains at least one workshop. Common crafts in Masaya include hammocks, leather, fabric and wood items. Interestingly and amusingly, several “native” crafts of Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica are actually made by Monimbó artisans in Masaya. Masaya is easily accessible from both Managua and Granada, making it a fantastic day-trip.
Catarina, a quaint colonial village, is situated on the edge of Apoyo Crater Lake. It is renowned for the lovely nurseries of potted plants that spill into the roadways. This Nicaraguan artisan village is home to wood workers as well as bamboo basket weavers. Catarina is also easily reached from both Managua and Granada.
San Juan de Oriente boasts the title of Central America's best-known ceramic village. Ceramic work has been taking place in the village for over 2000 years and the majority of village members work in creating pottery items. It is a remarkable to see these world-renowned artworks being created in their home environment - a truly rewarding cultural experience. San Juan de Oriente is located right beside Catarina.
Masatepe is a producer of hand crafted wooden rocking chairs that grace homes throughout Nicaragua. In fact large numbers of wood and wicker furniture pieces are created in this village. It is a marvel to view the artisan at work as he tirelessly creates masterpieces using basic tools whilst sharing his craftsman's knowledge with others. Masatepe is but 15 minutes from Catarina and convenient to visit from Granada and Managua.
Condega is a quiet village beautifully set in the northern mountains. A Nicaraguan artisan village, Condega produces exquisite pottery from red-clay. Actually, Condega is an indigenous expression for “land of pottery”. Near the village you will discover a woman's cooperative. Here you will find some of the most magnificent pottery works you will ever see. The village is quite a way out but can be accessed from Matagalpa, Managua and León.
Jinotega is probably better known for coffee production and its magnificent Cathedral. However it is also home to artisans who create impressive black ceramics. The small settlement near Jinotega is where you will find the specialists in this form of handicraft. Jinotega can be visited from Managua.
Matagalpa is a hilly city and Nicaragua's coffee capital. Within and around the city you can explore textile and black ceramic workshops. Cotton textiles are progressively increasing in popularity after disappearing for many years. Matagalpa is some two hours from Managua.
Camoapa lies within the cattle area of Boaco, an area of Nicaragua that is often neglected by tourists. Here artisans create a type of “Panama” hat with a unique Nicaraguan feel. Camoapa's weavers will provide a warm welcome and will likely show you how they create their lovely hats. Camoapa is a fair drive from Managua.
Don't miss out on the cultural experience of visiting one of these wonderful Nicaraguan artisan villages!