San Juan de Limay
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- Hiking Nicaragua’s Ring of Fire
- Nicaraguan Arts & Crafts
- Nicaragua’s Great Green North
- Sportfishing in Nicaragua
- Down the Río San Juan
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- Managua’s Revolutionary Driving Tour
Since 1972, Limay’s claim to fame has been its marmolina (soapstone) sculptors, trained by a priest named Eduardo Mejía so they could improve their living conditions. Padre Mejía helped the new artists mine the soapstone from nearby Mt. Tipiscayán (Ulúa-Matagalpa for “mountain of the toucan”), develop their talent, and market their beautifully polished long-necked birds, kissing swans, iguanas, and Rubenesque women.
After the revolution, minister of culture Ernesto Cardenal, helped the sculptors organize a short-lived cooperative. A core of local carvers still lives and works in Limay, and you can watch them work and purchase some pieces with little effort. In town, just ask for the artesanos de piedra.
Nearby Río Los Quesos meanders outside the city limit. Ask a local kid to show you the Poza La Bruja swimming hole, ringed with pre-Columbian petroglyphs. Find a place to bed down for the night at Pensión Guerrero (a pink corner building located one block north of the Catholic church, $2.50 s). Limay is part of a sister-city program with Baltimore, Maryland.
Getting to San Juan de Limay
San Juan de Limay is a 40-kilometer bus ride from Estelí that traverses a 1,000-meter mountain pass through coffee fields. Buses follow two routes to Limay (via La Shell and via El Pino) and leave Estelí’s COTRAN Norte at 8:45 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 2 p.m.
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition