Chichigalpa – Town of Sugar and Rum
Chichigalpa is known as the town of sugar and rum, as it forms the center of these two industries in the Chinandega Department of Nicaragua. The municipality of Chichigalpa covers some 225 square kilometers, bordered by Leon, Cordillera Los Maribios, El Realejo, Chinandega and Posoltega. Situated some 130 kilometers from Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, Chichigalpa can be easily reached via the Pan-American Highway. Buses and taxis can transport you to the fascinating town, where you can discover Nicaragua’s sugar industry.
It is believed that the first native people to move to the area of Chichigalpa were the Chorotegas and Niquiranos, who were of Toltec origin. They were said have moved here from the north where they had been forced out by the Aztecs. The Niquiranos Indians resided in small villages, leading a simple life, less advanced than that of the Incans and Aztecs.
Chichigalpa has a tropical wet and dry climate, with the wet season from May to October and the dry season from November to April. The average temperature is about 20°C with about 1.34 mm of precipitation a year. As a result much of the terrain in the Chichigalpa Municipality is made up of plains covered in reeds and crops. The beaches are popular with visitors, as is the volcanic Los Maribios with hikers.
Standing amidst vast fields of sugarcane in Chichigalpa is Ingenio San Antonio. This is the country’s largest sugar refinery. It was established by the Pellas family in 1890. The Pellas family also own the Compañía Licorera, which uses the sugar to create its exceptional liquors, including Flor de Caña, Toña, Ron Plata and Victoria. For over a century this development has been a vital part of Nicaragua’s history and culture. Guided tours of the distillery and can processing plant are available on request. Flor De Caña has come to be known as one of Latin America’s best rums since was introduced in 1937. Since 2000 it has received over 100 international awards and is highly recommended by top wine and liquor aficionados.
Another attraction to the town of Chichigalpa is the Virgen de la Candelaria celebrations, which take place annually on the third of February. So if you’d like to find out more about how rum is made, be sure to include a visit to the Chichigalpa and the Flor de Caña factory on your itinerary when touring Nicaragua.