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- Down the Río San Juan
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- Managua’s Revolutionary Driving Tour
Located on the south side of the Pan-American Highway as it veers westward toward the Honduran border at El Espino, Somoto is an average-size city of 15,000 and capital of the department of Madriz. Tucked into the Cordillera de Somoto at 700 meters above sea level (the highest point of this range is Cerro Tépec-Xomotl at 1,730 meters), Somoto enjoys a fresh climate most of the year.
Originally named Tépec-Xomotl, or Valley of the Turkeys, Somoto is known today more for its donkeys, rosquillas (baked corn cookies), and blowout carnival each November. A tributary of the Río Coco traverses the city.
U.S. Marines built an airstrip here, three blocks south of the park (now lost forever under a modern development), to try out a military technique they’d just invented: the air strike. They used the base in Somoto to bomb Ocotal in the 1930s in a failed attempt to root out General Sandino.
These days, the Ciudad de Burros has not much more to offer than a quiet evening in its quaint and friendly park and a pleasant, village ambience.
Getting to Somoto
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition