Enjoy a Break in San Rafael del Norte
For some tourists, there is nothing more rewarding than visiting a village or settlement that has not been influenced by modernization or the typical tourist souvenir industry. Finding a place to mingle with the locals and being able to get a true feeling for a country is a rare opportunity, but in Nicaragua there is one village where tourists will find all this and more – San Rafael del Norte. It does not boast a captivating nightlife or state of the art museums, only the monuments that are dear to them and a lifestyle that has served them well for centuries.
Unlike most of the destinations in Nicaragua, San Rafael del Norte, in the Jinotega region, does not offer days in the basking sun. It is located in the cold and mountainous north of the country, and visitors are advised to take a few warmer items of clothing on this trip. The beauty that surrounds San Rafael is as obvious as the drop in temperature, and for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts, the hills, cliffs and ravines hold countless natural treasures.
Massive hills provide shade for the age old trees and a spectacular view for those who are adventurous enough to go hiking. Pine forests cover most of the landscape and the breathtaking gorge to the north of San Rafael is home to dense vegetation and a variety of stunning swimming holes.
San Rafael del Norte is also steeped in history and linked to a few well known figures of Nicaragua. One of these legendary figures is General Augusto Cesar Sandino. His influence on the village and on Nicaragua can be investigated at the General Augusto Cesar Sandino Museum, which follows the life of this military man, his victories, his losses, his marriage to Blanca whom he met here and his tragic assassination in 1934. Locals will happily show visitors the church in which he and Blanca said their vows. Another icon of the village is Father Odorico D’Andrea, who lived in San Rafael from 1953 to 1996 and was instrumental in the renovation of the church and the establishment of neighborhoods, a library and a clinic. He was buried in a tomb that overlooks the village and can be visited.
There is ample accommodation in San Rafael del Norte and locals are inviting, warm and very friendly. Visitors will be able to enjoy a cold beer, native cuisine, magnificent nature and even a little horse riding. It is one of the unique destinations in Nicaragua and is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.