Exploring Valle de Pantasma

Within the Jinotega district of Nicaragua is a town and valley that has been almost forgotten, as the atrocities that took place here 1983 and 1986 are remembered by few. Named the Massacre of Pantasma, many civilians were killed as agricultural giants used brute force to try and seize this agricultural paradise. It is situated only seventy kilometers from Honduras, and the area’s most rich agricultural land lies within the Valle de Pantasma.

The estimated forty thousand inhabitants in Pantasma are carve a living out of the fertile landscape, growing coffee, corn, fruit and grain. They also raise cattle on their land. Even though the town was known for military tragedy for many years, it is now famous for its Valle de Pantasma, or Crater of Pantasma. The crater was created by a meteor strike and it has a diameter of twelve kilometers. The town of Las Praderas is located in its center and it is home to the Santa Maria de Pantasma community. Through the dense vegetation, one cannot see the ejection ring and the typical features of an impact site are not visible; therefore, not many believed that is was a meteor impact site. However, it was confirmed in 2009 through a study done by Nicaraguan Scientific Association of Astronomers and Astrophysicists. Volcanic activity to create the crater was ruled out, as it is believed that volcanic activity in this region ended approximately five million years ago, and the crater is estimated to be much younger.

The views and spectacular landscapes of Pantasma are worth the visit, and its quaint restaurants and local cuisine, as well as its friendly locals make the experience in Pantasma unforgettable. The magnificence of the crater and its natural wonders makes it easy to forget the troubles that once plagued this town and its surrounding areas.