Parque Central de Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí is a city that will delight your senses with its delicious cuisine, stunning street art and exquisite cigars. Nestled in the Northern Highlands of Nicaragua, it enjoys a cooler and more pleasant climate than the rest of the country. The city has many attractions to offer, such as beautiful parks, lively markets and fascinating cigar factories. It is also close to lush farmlands and natural reserves, making it an ideal base for exploring the region. Discover more about this captivating city in our Estelí Nicaragua destination guide.

Short on time? Here are our Estelí Nicaragua top recommendations:

Hightlights: discover Estelí street art, savour delicious local cuisine and explore the nearby nature reserves.

Activities: book your Nicaragua Tours with Get Your Guide.

Accommodation: we use to find the best hotels.

Private Transfers: Pacific Tours,

Flights: find cheapest flights with cashback on WayAway.

Airport Lounge Access: start your holiday the right way with Priority Pass.

Travel Medical InsuranceSafetyWing Nomad Insurance is the ideal choice for long-term travellers and digital nomads.

Travel Banking: Wise makes global travel banking seamless and affordable.

What is Esteli Nicaragua famous for?

Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars Esteli Nicaragua
Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí is a city in Nicaragua that is famous for two things: its cigars and its football team. The city produces most of the country’s cigars, which are award-winning and world-renowned for their unique flavour profile. The cigars owe their quality to the fertile soil and rich mineral content of the land around Estelí, as well as the skills of the Cuban cigar rollers who settled there after the revolution of 1959. Estelí is also home to Real Estelí, one of the most popular and successful football teams in Nicaragua.

But Estelí is not just about cigars and football. It is also one of the largest cities in the country, with a history marked by civil war and violence. Estelí was a stronghold of the Sandinista rebels and suffered heavy bombing and fighting during the 1970s and 1980s. Today, Estelí has recovered from its past and become a regional hub with a vibrant food scene. The city offers a variety of local and international cuisine and it’s steak restaurants are a must try for meat-lovers. Estelí also has a great coffee culture, as it is located in the heart of Nicaragua’s coffee country.

Why you should visit Esteli Nicaragua

Pullasos Ole Esteli Nicaragua
Pullasos Ole Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí, the Diamond of the Segovia, is the largest and most vibrant city in Nicaragua’s Northern Highlands. It boasts a rich tradition of cigar making, producing some of the finest cigars in the world. Estelí also offers a variety of culinary delights, from local delicacies to international dishes, in its many cosy cafes and restaurants. The city’s artistic flair is evident in its colourful murals and lovely parks, which make Estelí a charming and inviting destination.

Esteli Nicaragua Destination Guide: Know before you go

Basic info about Esteli Nicaragua

Esteli Murals Nicaragua
Esteli Murals Nicaragua

  • Official title – Villa de San Antonio de Pavia de Estelí
  • City founded – 1685
  • Language – Spanish; Many tour operators and hotel staff speak English, but if you prefer travelling and shopping local you will need a basic understanding of Spanish.
  • Currency – Nicaraguan córdoba (NIO). Many hotels and restaurants also accept United States dollars (USD). ATMs dispense both cordobas and US dollars. For more details on money in Nicaragua, see this post.
  • Population – 130,380 (2021 estimate)
  • Area – 796 km2 (307 sq mi)
  • Department (Departmento) – Estelí
  • Emergency number – 118
  • Police number – 101 (tourist police), 118 (police)

Utilities in Esteli Nicaragua

  • Electricity – Nicaragua uses Types A and B power plugs, which is the same plug type as the United states. It operates on a 120v supply voltage at 60Hz. Power outages in Nicaragua are not uncommon but generally don’t last for too long.
  • Water – the tap water in Esteli Nicaragua is safe to drink. Most accommodation in Esteli also provides filtered water for guests to use.
  • Toilets – sit-down flushing toilets are the most common type of toilet in Nicaragua. Don’t flush your toilet paper – use the bins provided. Public toilets are not common in Nicaragua, but you can usually find toilets in cafes and restaurants.
  • Telephone country code: +505

Where is Esteli Nicaragua?

Estelí is in the department of Estelí Nicaragua. It is located in Nicaragua’s northern highlands, in the Las Segovias region of Nicaragua.

The closest cities to Estelí Nicaragua are Jinotega and Matagalpa. Estelí is around one and a half hours drive from both Jinotega and Matagalpa.

How to get to Esteli Nicaragua

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: Arriving by land

Esteli Nicaragua intercity land transport

Streetview Esteli Nicaragua
Streetview Esteli Nicaragua

The main transport options for travelling overland to Esteli Nicaragua are:

  • Private vehicle
  • Private transport operator
  • Shuttlebus
  • Bus
  • Minivan

Driving to Esteli Nicaragua from within Nicaragua

If you are driving to Esteli Nicaragua from within Nicaragua, here are the travel times and distances:

  • Jinotega – 1 hour 22 minutes (66km, 41miles) without tolls
  • Matagalpa – 1 hour 22 minutes (71km, 44miles) without tolls
  • Las Manos border crossing to Honduras – 1 hour 46 minutes (105km, 65miles) without tolls
  • León – 2 hours 30 minutes (142km, 88miles) without tolls
  • Managua – 2 hours 45 minutes (148km, 92miles) without tolls
  • Masaya – 2 hours 47 minutes (155km, 96miles) without tolls
  • Granada – 2 hours 52 minutes (171km, 106miles) without tolls
  • Rivas – 3 hours 47 minutes (232km, 144miles) without tolls
  • San Juan del Sur – 4 hours 9 minutes (259km, 161miles) without tolls
  • Peñas Blancas border crossing to Costa Rica – 4 hours 13 minutes (267km, 166miles) without tolls
  • Bluefields – 8 hours (446km, 277miles) without tolls

Intercity trains to Esteli Nicaragua

There are currently no trains in Nicaragua.

Shuttle buses to Esteli Nicaragua

Shuttle buses operate between major tourist destinations in Nicaragua. You can often book these shuttles through your accommodation or through tour operators.

Additionally there are two shuttle bus companies that provide shuttle services to Nicaragua from other countries in Central America: Nicabus and Ticabus.

Local buses to Esteli Nicaragua

Bus from La Rampla to Esteli Nicaragua
Bus from La Rampla to Esteli Nicaragua

A common way to get around Nicaragua is by using local buses. Tourists often call them chicken buses. Nicaragua public buses are old US yellow school buses that are often painted in bright colours. They have the destination on a sign at the front of the bus. Buses rarely leave on time, so patience is key. We also recommend that you ask about bus times at the station, particularly if you are considering a less regular route. Keep in mind that most locals, including local bus drivers, only speak Spanish.

Cotran Norte Bus Terminal Esteli Nicaragua
Cotran Norte Bus Terminal Esteli Nicaragua

Bus Terminals in Esteli Nicaragua

There are two main bus terminals servicing Estelí. These are the Cotran Norte and Cotran Sur bus terminals, which are located on the Pan-American Highway.

  • Terminal Cotran Norte has buses to Managua, Ocotal, Somoto, Somoto, Jinotega, San Juan de Limay, Pueblo Nuevo, Quilalí, Yalí, San Juan del Río Coco, San Rafael del Norte, El Regadío, Wiwilí, El Sauce, Achuapa, La Concordia, Jalapa, Masaya, La Pita, La Rica, Santa Cruz – La Ceiba, San Marcos de Colón and Oro Verde.
  • Terminal Cotran Sur has buses to Managua, Matagalpa, León, La Trinidad, San Nicolás, Tisey – La Estanzuela, Yalí, Achuapa, Murra and El Espinal.
Bus routes for Esteli Nicaragua

Details for some of the most common bus routes for Estelí Nicaragua are listed below:

FromToTerminalTypeBus FareDurationFrequency/Departure Time
EstelíManaguaCotran NorteExpreso
2.5 hours5:15am, 6:15am, 7:45am, 11:15am
EstelíManaguaCotran SurRegularC$903.5 hours3:30am-5pm half-hourly, 6pm
EstelíManaguaCotran SurExpresoC$1102.5 hours4:45am, 5:45am, 6:45am, 7:15am, 8:45am, 9:45am, 12:15pm, 1:15pm, 2:15pm, 3:15pm
EstelíOcotalCotran NorteRegular
2 hours6am, 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 2:45pm, 3:15pm, 4:20pm, 5:40pm
EstelíSomotoCotran NorteRegular
2.5 hours5:30am, 6:30am, 7:30am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:20pm, 3pm, 3:25pm, 4:05pm, 4:40pm, 5:20pm
EstelíSomotoCotran NorteExpress
2 hours12:30pm, 5pm, 6:10pm
Cotran Norte

EstelíLeónCotran SurRegularC$952.5 hours5am, 5:45am, 6:45am

The above bus fares are as at 2021 for León and as at 2023 for Managua.

You can find more information on buses to Estelí including timetables here:

Before the bus leaves as well as during the journey a number of vendors may get on the bus selling food and other goods. This is a great opportunity to get a snack for your trip or even do your grocery shopping.

Microbuses or minivans to Esteli Nicaragua

Microbus-Esteli to Leon Nicaragua
Microbus-Esteli to Leon Nicaragua

An affordable but slightly more expensive alternative to buses in Nicaragua are microbuses or minivans. These vans generally seat around 10-15 people. They are more direct and generally only a few córdobas more expensive than buses. They usually leave when they are full and are also typically more frequent than buses. We personally think that buses are more comfortable than the minivans as people do get crammed into the minivans and minivans generally don’t provide much legroom. However you do always get a seat in minivans, albeit once my seat was just an upside-down crate in between two other seats.

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: Arriving by air

The closest airport to Estelí Nicaragua is Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (Airport code MGA). This international airport is 108km (67 miles) away.

Other nearby airports include:

  • Toncontín International Airport Honduras (Airport code TGU). This airport is 143km (89 miles) away.
  • Costa Esmeralda Airport in Tola Nicaragua (Airport code ECI). This airport is 189km (117 miles) away.
  • Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (Airport code LIR) in Liberia Costa Rica. This airport is 292km (181 miles) away.

There is currently no national airline of Nicaragua. However airlines that service Nicaragua include American Airlines, Aeromexico, Copa Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Avianca Airlines as well as United Airlines. The domestic carrier in Nicaragua is La Costeña.

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: Arriving by boat

Cruise Critic

Estelí is an inland city and does not have a port. The main seaport of Nicaragua is Puerto Corinto (Corinto Port). This port is around 3 hours drive away from Estelí. Cruise ships sometime visit Corinto.

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: How to get around Esteli Nicaragua

Walking in Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí Nicaragua is a reasonably walkable city with most attractions and restaurants within easy walking distance within the city centre. However the two main bus stops in Estelí are on the Pan-American Highway, around 20-45 minutes walk from the main part of town.

Local buses in Esteli Nicaragua

Local buses service Estelí Nicaragua. However these are mainly used to go from Estelí to other towns and cities in Nicaragua. The nearby Tisey Estanzuela Natural Reserve is also accessible from Estelí by bus.

Trams in Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí Nicaragua does not have a tram system.

Local trains in Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí Nicaragua does not have a local train line.

Metro trains (subway or underground) in Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí Nicaragua does not have an underground train line.

Vehicle hire in Esteli Nicaragua

A wide variety of vehicles can be rented in Estelí Nicaragua. This includes:

  • Bicycles
  • Motorcycles
  • Cars
  • SUVs

In Nicaragua they drive on the right side of the road.

Tuk-Tuks in Esteli Nicaragua

Auto-rickshaws or tuk-tuks are common in Nicaragua. They are a cheap and quick way to get from one place to the next. Agree on a price before you start your journey. Expect to pay around C$20-C$30 for a couple for a 10 minute trip. Tuk tuks may pick up other passengers along the way, so don’t be surprised if you have to share a ride with other passengers.

Taxis in Esteli Nicaragua

One of the most convenient ways to get around Nicaragua is by taxi. Taxis in Nicaragua don’t generally have metres, so be sure to agree on a price before you begin your journey. Taxis may pick up other passengers along the way, so don’t be surprised if you have to share a ride with other passengers.

Ride-share in Nicaragua

Uber, Lyft and Grab do not operate in Nicaragua. In Managua there are some alternatives:

  • Aventón
  • Ray Nicaragua
  • inDriver

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: Is Esteli Nicaragua worth visiting?

Tobacco Farm Esteli Nicaragua
Tobacco Farm Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí is the biggest city in the Northern Highlands of Nicaragua and is certainly worth visiting. Many tourists don’t make it to Estelí, choosing instead to visit Nicaragua’s beaches and islands or the colonial cities Granada and León, however Estelí has a lot to offer. It is the foodie capital of Nicaragua, and has excellent local and international cuisine. Its restaurants and cafes are of a very high standard and we were very impressed with both the range of options available as well as the quality. Estelí is also the centre of Nicaragua’s cigar industry, making it a popular destination for cigar aficionados. Additionally, Estelí has a great art scene, with beautiful displays of street art as well as a local art school in the city. Finally, Estelí’s mild climate makes it an excellent choice for those wanting to avoid the heat.

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: How long to spend in Esteli Nicaragua

Horse and Cart Esteli Nicaragua
Horse and Cart Esteli Nicaragua

With its excellent food scene, beautiful street art, cigar industry and nearby nature areas, Estelí has plenty of activities to keep you busy for a few days. If you plan to just see the city, one day is enough. However if you wish to visit the nearby nature reserves we recommend devoting at least a couple of days to Estelí. We visited Estelí twice and stayed here for around 2 weeks in total. We were happy with the amount of time we spent here, but would have stayed much longer if there was suitable furnished rentals available at the time.

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: What to do in Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí Nicaragua is a cosmopolitan Nicaraguan city which is full of interesting activities. It has a range of great free activities as well as paid activities. Find out about the best things to do in Estelí Nicaragua in our Estelí travel vlog below.

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: Free things to do in Esteli Nicaragua

Catedral de Esteli Nicaragua
Catedral de Esteli Nicaragua

There are enough free activities in Estelí Nicaragua to keep you entertained for as little or as long as you like:

  • Reserva Natural Miraflor
  • National Reserve Tisey Estanzuela
  • La Garnacha community
  • Artesanías La Esquina – Handmade crafts
  • Parque Central de Estelí
  • Catedral de Estelí
  • Parque de la Familia y la Comunidad
  • Explore Estelí Murals and street art
  • Escuela Dream’s Art- El Arte de Soñar
  • Mercado Alfredo Lazo
  • Mirador Rancho San Luis
  • Monasterio Albertiniano Inmaculada Concepción de María
  • Mujeres Ambientalistas recycling centre

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: Paid activities in Esteli Nicaragua

A number of attractions in Estelí Nicaragua charge a fee:

  • Finca del Jalacate – there are amazing stone statue carvings here which were carved by a local artist. Entry fee 30 cordobas (as at 2024).
  • Estación Guardaparque – entry fee 20 cordobas (as at 2024).
  • Mirador Tisey – entry fee 15 cordobas (as at 2024).
  • Salto de Estanzuela – entry fee 50 cordobas (as at 2024).
  • Museo de Historia y Arqueologia Alejandro Davila Bolanos entry fee 20 cordobas (as at 2017).
  • Aruna – meditation and yoga classes available.
  • Drew Estate – cigar safaris available.
  • Joya de Nicaragua Cigar Factory – factory tours and on-site purchases are not currently available.
  • Day trip to Somoto Canyon – tours US$15-35, entry fee US$3 + boat fee.

Events in Esteli Nicaragua

Festival de las Artes Esteli Nicaragua
Festival de las Artes Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí Nicaragua hosts a number of events throughout the year, including:

  • Año Nuevo – New Year’s Day 1 January. Typically celebrated with bombas (fireworks) in the street as well as setting alight effigies.
  • Semana Santa – Holy Week (Easter). This is celebrated in March or April each year. Traditionally there were religious processions in the streets of Esteli during this time. During the Semana Santa holiday period its common for families and friends to flock to the beach.
  • Sandinista Revolution Anniversary – 19 July. This is a celebration of the National Liberation Army’s defeat of the Somoza dictatorship in 1979.
  • Mariachis and Mazurcas Festival – this is held during the 3rd weekend of August. This is a vibrant festival which includes plenty of music and dancing
  • Patron Saint festivities – 7 October. The patron saint of Esteli is Virgen del Rosario (the Virgin of the Rosary).
  • Hípica de Esteli – 3rd Sunday of December. This is a horse riding festival (hipica festival) which includes horse parades as well as plenty of food, music and dancing.
  • La Purísima – a festival celebrating the Virgin Mary. This festival is held from November 29 to December 8 each year.
  • La Gritería – this is the final day of the La Purísima festival. It culminates in a parade, fireworks and performances. It is held on the 7th of December each year.

Weather in Esteli Nicaragua

The climate for Estelí Nicaragua is classified as a tropical savanna. Its location in the Northern Highlands of Nicaragua gives it a more moderate and pleasant climate relative to other parts of Nicaragua. The hottest month is April with an average temperature range of 19°C to 32°C (69°F to 89°F) and coldest month January with an average temperature between 17°C to 27°C (63°F to 81°F). There are two main seasons in Nicaragua; a wet season that typically commences in May and continues through to the end of October; and the dry season, which lasts from November through to April.

Best time to visit Esteli Nicaragua

The dry season is the best time of year to visit Estelí Nicaragua. This is from November to April.

Internet and mobile phones in Nicaragua

Man at Desk with Computer Estelí Nicaragua
Checking Internet Speed at Estelí Nicaragua

The main internet and phone companies in Nicaragua are Tigo and Claro. Tigo has the widest coverage but is slightly more expensive. Both currently operate on 4G. Movistar is another common provider.

The phone messaging app Whatsapp is used extensively in Nicaragua, along with the other popular social media platforms.

High speed optic fibre internet is available in some areas of Nicaragua. The best speeds we’ve experienced have been around 40 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload. More common speeds that we have found in city hotels have been 4-5 Mbps download and 1-2 Mbps upload (as at 2021). Free wifi comes standard with most accommodation and you can find free wifi in many restaurants and cafes catered to tourists.

Cell phone SIM cards can be bought in many places throughout Nicaragua, including local corner stores known as pulperias.

For more on internet in Nicaragua, see this post.

How much to budget for Esteli Nicaragua?

Is Esteli Nicaragua expensive?

Estelí is one of the biggest cities in Nicaragua, and is in a wealthy cigar producing part of Nicaragua. We found accommodation prices here more expensive than other parts of Nicaragua. Food costs can also be a bit higher with some premium restaurants available. However while Estelí is expensive by Nicaraguan standards, it is still a reasonably affordable destination and definitely one you can visit on a budget.

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: Daily spend for a couple travelling in Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí Nicaragua is a great value budget destination, but it also caters to those after a more luxurious experience.

As a rough guide, we recommend the following budgets for a couple:

  • Low-budget daily spend – US$60 per day for a couple will get you budget accommodation, meals at local eateries and markets, local transport and free or cheap activities such as visiting the central park, churches and local markets.
  • Mid-range daily spend – US$150 per day for a couple will get you mid-range accommodation, local transport and a few tours.
  • Luxury spend – $600 per day for a couple will get you a premium experience in Nicaragua, staying in luxury accommodation, travelling by private transport, doing a range of tours and eating at high end restaurants.

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: Accommodation in Esteli Nicaragua

Casa Vínculos Esteli Nicaragua
Casa Vínculos Esteli Nicaragua

While the accommodation options are more limited than some of the more popular tourist areas of Nicaragua such as Granada and León, Estelí still has some great hotels, a couple of hostels as well as a few rental apartments available. Airbnb also operates in Nicaragua, and there are a number of Airbnb properties in Estelí Nicaragua.

Where to stay in Esteli Nicaragua

We recommend the following accommodation in Esteli Nicaragua:

  • Best hostel in Estelí Nicaragua – Hostal Mariella is a great family-run hostel located conveniently close to the local market. It has a nice communal kitchen and the rooms are clean and spacious with outdoor tables to eat at.
  • Best hotel in Estelí Nicaragua – we stayed in Hotel Casa Vínculos when we were in Estelí. We loved this hotel! The rooms are very spacious and comfortable with quality bedding and excellent air conditioning. The breakfasts each morning are a real treat. Additionally, t is conveniently located a short walk from the city centre.
  • Best self contained apartments in Estelí Nicaragua – Paysage Cache is a hidden gem in the hills surrounding Estelí. The food is excellent and it is located in a beautiful setting. Additionally, the owner is very caring and hospitable.

How much is accommodation in Esteli Nicaragua?

For short-term accommodation, a general price per night is as follows:

  • Budget accommodation – US$12-13 for a bed in a dorm.
  • Mid-range accommodation – US$20-90 for a private room.
  • Luxury accommodation – there is no luxury accommodation in Estelí.
  • Rental property – US$70-200 for a self-contained bungalow. Please note that fully furnished short-term rental accommodation in Estelí is very limited.

Esteli Nicaragua destination guide: Food in Esteli Nicaragua

How much does food cost in Esteli Nicaragua?

Restaurante Pupiro's Cocktail Esteli Nicaragua
Restaurante Pupiro’s Cocktail Esteli Nicaragua

Our price guide for your food budget in Esteli Nicaragua is as follows:

  • Restaurant meal – US$10-15 for a main dish (350-500 cordobas)
  • Local eatery – US$3-5 for a main dish (100-200 cordobas)
  • Street food – US$1 (30-40 cordobas)
  • Beer (try the local Nicaragua beer Toña) – US$1 (30-40 cordobas)
  • Local fruit drink (refresco) – US$0.30-0.50 (10-15 cordobas)
Mocha Nana Cafe Esteli Nicaragua
Mocha Nana Cafe Esteli Nicaragua

Local food in Esteli Nicaragua

  • Sopa de gallina india con albóndigas (Indian chicken soup with meatballs)
  • Stuffed pork
  • Marucas
  • Coralillo pod stew
  • Güirila
  • Tolillo
  • Perrerreque
  • Motasatol
  • Atol de piñuela
  • Huevos chimbos
  • Cajetas de leche

Cheap Eats in Esteli Nicaragua

  • You can’t go past street food for a cheap and delicious treat. Our favourite street food includes enchiladas, nacatamales, buñuelos and raspados. You can find street food all around Esteli, particularly around the markets as well as at transport hubs. A lot of street vendors sell food from in front of their homes or else go door to door down the street, so you’re never far from great food!
  • Bakeries are a great place to get cheap and delicious food.

Esteli Nicaragua culture

Weekends in Esteli Nicaragua

Seleccion Nicaraguense Cafe Esteli Nicaragua
Seleccion Nicaraguense Cafe Esteli Nicaragua

Weekends in Estelí are on Saturdays and Sundays. Sundays are typically quieter in the city and public transport may be less frequent on Sundays as well.

Esteli Nicaragua public holidays

Public holidays for Nicaragua are as follows:

  • New Year’s Day – 1 January
  • Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) – the Thursday before Easter Sunday, typically in March or April
  • Good Friday – the Friday before Easter Sunday, typically in March or April
  • Easter Sunday – typically in March or April
  • Labor Day – 1 May (holiday on the Monday if it falls on a weekend)
  • Mother’s Day – 30 May
  • Sandinista Revolution Anniversary – 19 July
  • Battle of San Jacinto – 14 September
  • Independence Day of Nicaragua – 15 September
  • Indigenous Resistance Day – 12 October
  • All Souls Day (Day of the Dead) – 2 November
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Immaculate Conception Day) – 8 December
  • Christmas Eve – 24 December
  • Christmas Day (Navidad) – 25 December (holiday on the Monday if it falls on a weekend)
  • New Year’s Eve – 31 December

National symbols of Nicaragua

  • Nicaragua flag – two blue bands with a white band containing the Nicaragua coat of arms in the middle. The blue bands represent the Pacific Ocean as well as the Caribbean Sea and the white band symbolises peace.
  • Nicaragua coat of arms – this consists of a triangle, the Cap of Liberty, a rainbow, the rays of sun as well as 5 volcanoes. The Cap of Liberty represents national freedom, the 5 volcanoes represent the original 5 member states of the United Provinces of Central America and the rainbow and sun represent the bright future of Nicaragua.
  • National flower – sacuanjoche (the flower of the frangipani tree).
  • National bird – guardabarranco.
  • National heroes – poet Rubén Dario, revolutionary leader Augusto C. Sandino.

Nicaragua pastimes

Nicaraguan Breakfast-Casa Vinculos Restaurante Esteli Nicaragua
Nicaraguan Breakfast-Casa Vinculos Restaurante Esteli Nicaragua

  • National dish – gallo pinto. This is a dish of fried rice mixed with red beans and also spices. It can be eaten at any time of day. It is typically served at breakfast along with eggs, tortillas, fried plantains as well as a type of cheese called queso fresco.
  • Popular drinks – grama, Toña beer, Flor de Caña Rum.
  • National sport – baseball.
  • Religion – 56% Catholic, 28% Protestant, 1% Jehovah’s Witness (as at 2010).

Famous people from Esteli Nicaragua

  • Famous people born in Estelí Nicaragua – poet/essayist/novelist/journalist Claribel Alegría, political cartoonist Pedro X. Molina, filmmaker Frank Pineda.
  • Sports stars from Estelí Nicaragua – footballer Otoniel Olivas.

Is Esteli Nicaragua Safe?

Nicaragua travel guide: Safety in Esteli Nicaragua

Estelí has a violent past, being the scene of bombing and civil war in the 1970s and 1980s. However today things are much different. We found Estelí Nicaragua to be a very safe place to visit. While it is one of Nicaragua’s biggest cites, it feels a lot safer than Managua. We had no issues walking around the city day or night. The only issue we encountered were stray dogs, some of which can be aggressive.

Petty crime and crimes of opportunity can also be an issue in Nicaragua, so we recommend taking care to keep your valuables secure and out of sight. As with any country, there are some areas that are safer than others. For more information on safety in Nicaragua, watch the video below.

Nicaragua’s most recent period of civil unrest was in 2018. This has now passed, and as a tourist you should not be affected.

General safety considerations in Nicaragua

Other general safety considerations for travel in Nicaragua:

  • Drinking water – Tap water in Estelí Nicaragua is safe to drink. We drank tap water without issue. However many tourists prefer to drink bottled water. Additionally, most accommodation provides purified water for guests to use.
  • Mosquitoes – The mosquitoes in Estelí don’t generally carry tropical diseases. Nicaragua has mosquito control programs and many buildings are sprayed regularly for mosquito control.
  • Scorpions – Nicaragua has scorpions. We recommend checking your shoes before putting them on and keeping bags zipped closed when not attended to ensure you don’t get any nasty surprises.
  • Road safety – In Nicaragua we often travelled standing up in the back of vans or in vehicles without helmets or seat belts. This does come with an element of risk. Furthermore the roads outside of the town area are unsealed and can become flooded during rainy season.
  • Water safety – take care when swimming as currents and waves may be stronger than you expect.
  • Earthquakes – Nicaragua experiences regional and local earthquake activity. In an earthquake, stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall. If inside, get under a table, desk or solid furniture and hang onto it. Cover your head and torso to protect from falling objects. If outside, stay outside and go to an open area away from buildings.
  • Volcanic eruptions – the closest volcano to Estelí is Estelí Volcano. It is a Holocene volcano, meaning it has been active in the last 11-700 years. The last eruption is unknown.
  • Hurricanes – Estelí is at risk of flooding, particularly after hurricanes.
  • Sun safety – The UV Index is very high in Nicaragua. Therefore sun protection such as sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses is very important.
  • Dogs – stray dogs are common. For more on dog safety, watch this video.

As with any destination, take all of your normal safety precautions.

Nicaragua Blogs

You can find our Nicaragua blogs below.

Parque Central de Esteli Nicaragua

Esteli Nicaragua Destination Guide (2024): What You Need to Know

Estelí is a city that will delight your senses with its delicious cuisine, stunning street art and exquisite cigars. Nestled ...
Volcan Concepcion-Hotel Finca Venecia Ometepe Island Nicaragua

Ometepe Island Nicaragua Destination Guide (2024): What You Need to Know

If you want a unique island experience, come to Ometepe Island Nicaragua. The island rises out of the middle of ...
Nicaraguan Art-Masaya Nicaragua

Masaya Nicaragua Destination Guide (2024): What You Need to Know

Most people visit Masaya to stare into the heart of an active volcano, but Masaya has so much more to ...
San Juan del Sur from Cristo de La Misericordia Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur Nicaragua Destination Guide (2024): What You Need to Know

San Juan del Sur is one of the most popular beach destinations in Nicaragua. Once a small fishing village, is ...
Managua Seawall (Plaza Nicaragua) Managua Nicaragua

Managua Nicaragua Destination Guide (2024): What You Need to Know

Nicaragua’s capital is an often overlooked destination, but it has a lot to offer. It is a sprawling city which ...
Lion Fountain Leon Nicaragua

Leon Nicaragua Destination Guide (2024): What You Need to Know

León is a gorgeous colonial city which is a must visit on any Nicaragua trip. It is a city steeped ...
Rotunda and Water Fountain at Parque Central Granada Nicaragua

Granada Nicaragua Destination Guide (2024): What You Need to Know

The beautiful colonial city Granada Nicaragua is a must visit on any Nicaragua trip. Granada was our home for a ...
Parade of Horses and Carts along Calle Real Xalteva at the Granada Hipica Festival

Transport in Nicaragua – Complete Guide to Nicaragua Transportation (2024)

Nicaragua has got to be one of the most interesting places to travel around. There are just so many transport ...
Casa AguaLuna Luxury Home in Granada Nicaragua

Where should I live in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and has one of the lowest cost of living in the world ...
Malecon area next to Lake Managua at Puerto Salvador Allende Managua Nicaragua; straw covered cabanas with colourful flags; water views and hills in background

Top 5 Things to do in Managua Nicaragua (2024)

The capital of Nicaragua is an often overlooked destination. It does however have plenty of great experiences to offer. With ...
Ometepe Island Ferry Approaching Moyogalpa

Granada Ferry: How to get to Ometepe Island

Ferries from Granada across Lake Nicaragua have restarted on the 4th of October 2021. This is great news for tourism ...
Woman at San Pancho Nicaragua to Costa Rica Border Crossing, woman in front of Costa Rican flag

Nicaragua Costa Rica Border Crossing: Complete Travel Guide

Land border crossings can be stressful experiences if you don't know what to expect, but fortunately you've come to the ...
Woman and Man outside colonial style home in Granada Nicaragua after home invasion

Home Invasion in Granada Nicaragua

In our last month of living in Nicaragua, the last thing we expected to experience was a home invasion in ...
Woman in bikini standing on swing over turquoise water at Ojo de Agua Ometepe Island Nicaragua

Ojo de Agua: Paradise in Nicaragua!

Ojo de Agua Ometepe Island is a jungle oasis and it is also one of the must visit destinations in ...
Digital Nomad in Popoyo Nicaragua

How Good is the Internet in Nicaragua?

These days, access to internet is almost as important as food and water and having a roof over your head ...

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