Masaya Welcomes Visitors to its Annual Three Month Patron Saint Festivities
The Nicaraguan city of Masaya, fondly referred to as the “City of Flowers” and also known as the “Cradle of Nicaraguan Folklore”, is well into the swing of its three month-long patron saint festivities. Starting on 2 September with the celebration of the 169th birthday of the city, merrymaking will continue until December, incorporating traditional folkloric celebrations and Nicaragua’s national independence holidays, as well as local religious rituals and festivities in honor of the patron saint, San Jeronimo.
Mayor of Masaya, Orlando Noguera, noted that the municipal government of the city is working along with the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR) and the Institute of Culture, to promote the festivities in an effort to attract both national and international tourists. The longest continuous party in Latin America has so much to offer, with virtually everyone in Masaya participating in some way in activities, including folkloric dancing and story-telling, traditional music, religious processions and parades, a bull-run, horse shows and myriads of colorful costumes.
Masaya is often enjoyed as a day trip for tourists staying in nearby Managua and Granada, but this is starting to change as visitors realize that Masaya has all the ingredients of an incredible holiday destination. The old marketplace has been transformed into one of Nicaragua’s main folkloric cultural centers and artisans’ market. Additionally, the Masaya volcano attracts thousands of tourists to venture to the rim of its smoking crater each year, while the nearby Laguna de Apoyo, a lake of water inside the Apoyo Volcano crater, is likely the most exotic, and most famous, swimming pool in Central America.
When Noguera began his term as mayor four years ago, there was much to do in terms of improving roads and upgrading basic services, such as garbage collection and water services and it is clear that much has been achieved in this regard. Turning his attention to improving the city’s economy and employment opportunities, the mayor made known that the city is working on improving its image and tourism infrastructure, while exploring joint ventures to invest in new hostels, hotels and restaurants. He has also been the motivating force behind the work being done to restore the historical colonial-style community training center, as well as upgrading the central park and the Malecón boardwalk that overlooks the scenic Masaya Lagoon.
A promotional campaign called “Nicaragua is my body, but Masaya is my heart”, has been launched to encourage citizens to take pride in their city, keeping it clean and safe. This in turn, is sure to make a good impression on tourists who visit Masaya during their three months of lively celebrations – and they just might stay even longer than they had intended.