The artistic legacy of the pre-Columbian era is widely manifested in the area, through sites with mounds, rock art, totemic sculptures, metates or grinding stones, various shapes and colors of ceramics and lithic instruments.

Throughout the wide valley of the Mayales there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mounds that are samples of the life of ancestral Chontal populations.


Archaeological Museum Gregorio Aguilar Barea

There is no precise date for the foundation of the town of Juigalpa. Some historical sources consider that this town is of recent foundation, even locating its beginnings in the colonial period, since in the middle of the XNUMXth century its population did not exceed fifty families. However, it is necessary to point out that Juigalpa, perhaps, as an indigenous population, was not limited to the circumscription known today. The term "great city", which some scholars refer to its native term, may include important archaeological sites scattered throughout the Mayales Valley and its surroundings, including El Salto, Aguas Buenas, La Pachona, Carca, El Caracol, Amerrique and San Miguelito. We would be talking, then, of a population of much greater antiquity and extension than what has been estimated to date.

Nicaraguan historian Julian N. Guerrero points out that the original seat of Juigalpa could have been "since remote times in the eastern region of the Sierra de Amerrique", but rules out the possibility of a thousand-year-old foundation in the current site of the city.

Even though we do not have a precise origin for Juigalpa, the truth is that this population can be added to the list of Chontal peoples whose history is pending scrutiny: Carcas, Mayales, Amerriques and Lovigüiscas, all of them inhabitants of the brittle and vast territory of our department. .

The year 1539 can be considered as the anonymous appearance of Juigalpa on the pages of written history, since that year, the Spanish captains Alfonso Calero and Diego Machuca landed on La Ceiba Island (Isla Grande, opposite Puerto Díaz) and later sailed in front of Punta Mayales. This fact constitutes the first recognition of the Juigalpine coasts in Lake Cocibolca.

Of the current population, there is reference that, in 1659, Jerónimo Villegas, mayor of Juigalpa, requested land for the town's ejidos. The request was presented before the Corregidor of Sébaco and Chontales, Captain Francisco de los Ríos. The cost was estimated at "twenty pesos of eight reais." The Captain General of the Kingdom of Guatemala Mr. Sebastián Álvarez Alfonso Rosica de Caldas signs the provisional title of the lands requested by Jerónimo Villegas. It was the year 1668.

Successive requests continued in this long process of conformation of the lands required for the growing population: 1673 – three caballerías (payment of 12 tostones). 1707 – one caballería and confirmation of Title for 11 caballerías to the town of Juigalpa. 1865 – 60 caballerias. 1883 – fifteen caballerias. 1897 – 1,500 hectares.

The 60 caballerias of land granted to Juigalpa in 1865 were ordered by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies of the Republic through a Decree that stated in its first article: "The town of Juigalpa, in Chontales, is granted for the rebuilding of its church and its ornaments, the vacant land that exists in the “Murra” paddocks, without exceeding sixty caballerias”.

The construction of the first church in Juigalpa dates back to the period 1648 – 1699. The temple had adobe walls, a thatched roof and a dirt floor. Father Reno Maria administered the Church. Five years later, in 1704, Fray Alonso Cáceres is appointed as the first priest of Juigalpa. In 1742, Francisco de Posada, Corregidor of Sébaco y Chontales records in a report his visit to the "Village of Our Lady of the Assumption of Juigalpa".

The rank of Villa is granted in 1862 and in 1877 it was appointed definitively as the head of the department of Chontales. Two years later, in 1879, it obtained the rank of city.

Artistic expressions and manifestations

 Traditions and music


Juigalpa typical costume

The representative music of the municipality are the sounds of bulls, performed by philharmonic bands or chicheros. The most popular are Los Paiwas, Banda Central, Chico Díaz, Los López and Los González. They animate all the events and socio-cultural activities of the town.

The most recognized philharmonic groups are the Chicos Díaz, the González Family with its most popular musician Juan Manuel González, Los Jicaritos, Los Paiwas, Banda Chontal and Río Latino.

In the musical heritage of Juigalpa, the names of Rolando Chacón, “Jicarito”; Victorino Amador, Teófilo García, accordionist Juan Manuel González, Ernesto Montoya, José Dimas Galagarza, Hernán Flores, José Galagarza, Rubén Rivas Rubio, Alfonso Flores, Rolando Flores, Esperanza Cruz, Boanerges Ríos, Francisco “Chico” Díaz, Manuel Flores, José Inés Nicaragua, Juan García, Blue Star, Rítmicos del Clan, Río Latino and Mayales.

The new generations know about the Trio Cal y Canto, made up of Félix Pedro Rivas, Bayardo Serrano and Carlos Nicaragua Duarte; La Trova, Barro Crudo, The Big City, Tony William.

Professors José Vidal Tinoco Herrera and José Felipe Nicaragua do a remarkable job in music education, as they teach guitar, piano, violin, flute and singing classes.


With a wide artistic repertoire, the following stand out: Municipal Dance School of the Juigalpa Mayor's Office, Xuctlicallipan Dance School of the Gregorio Aguilar Barea House of Culture and the Lovigüisca Dance Academy of the UNAN-FAREM Chontales.

Letters and intellectuality

Juigalpa has a remarkable list of educators, poets, essayists, historians and cultural promoters.

This municipality is the cradle of Josefa Toledo de Aguerri, Woman of the Americas (1950), transformer of national education and first feminist in Nicaragua; and Eduardo Avilés Ramírez, writer, journalist and chronicler who transcended our borders.

Guillermo Rothschuh Tablada He is a teacher of generations, poet, essayist and Dariano.

Gregorio Aguilar Barea was a multifaceted intellectual: painter, storyteller, poet, archaeologist, musician and promoter of socio-cultural projects, such as the Archaeological Museum that bears his name.

Omar J. Lazo Barberena, born in La Libertad, wrote notable historical works for Chontales. He was a communicator, poet and religious man.

Professor Miguel de Castilla Urbina He was an outstanding educator, poet, researcher and revolutionary.

The list of writers includes: Marvin Calero (poet and storyteller), Alexander Zosa – Cano (from Santo Domingo, poet, researcher, essayist and teacher), Bayardo Serrano (poet and speaker), Santiago Molina Rothschuh (writer and poet), Abel Horacio García Calero (poet and fabulist) and Marlon Vargas Amador (historian, researcher, explorer and cultural promoter).

El Professor Erwing De Castilla Urbina he is a teacher of generations, a cultural promoter and a progressive and revolutionary mayor.

Juigalpine education finds in Professor Juan Sánchez Guevara one of its best exponents. He received the President of the Republic Medal and the Rubén Darío Order of Cultural Independence (2020).

Ricardo Gomez is a master of the plastic arts in Nicaragua. Julio Madrigal, Luis Larios, José Andrés Centeno López, Astrid Paniagua and Esperanza Jarquín are other well-known canvas and brush artists.

carlos nicaragua is a renowned fantasy costume designer who has won international awards.

Juigalpa is also a land of artisans such as Carlos Abarca, Adrián Cruz, Miguel Ángel López Otero, the Rodríguez family, Javier Amador, Bismarck Oporta, Francisco Pérez, Miguel Rodríguez, Agustín Saballos, Enrique Galeno, Mario Mora, Francisco Avilés, Armando Galán, Yerling Fabiola Diaz Campos and Roger Vivas.

As part of its livestock and rural culture, in the municipality you can find ranchers, campers, farmers, muleteers, güirileras, and saddlers. To them are added shoemakers, cabinetmakers, seamstresses and costume jewelry artists.

Between the popular characters Doña Delia Vargas (RIP), a traditional promoter of the San Caralampio festivities, is mentioned. Napoleón Ugarte, explorer and extensive connoisseur of Chontal archaeology. The Piperos were impregnated in the town's memory because they were in charge of the distribution of the vital liquid required in the homes of Juigalpino, before the arrival of drinking water in the city. Sinforoso Balladares (Bocho), the only survivor, was accompanied by "Catucho" (Alejandro Castilla) and "Tumbo" (Indalecio González). They toured the dusty streets of old Juigalpa to offer «shilling» the pitcher of water. Antonio Urbina, “Toño Pipero, was also part of this select group of characters.

Catarrán, Vicente Hurtado, has been considered "magical master of the Chontales bullfighting tradition". He is the representation of the mythical Chontaleño campisto: sorter, talkative and country man.

Isabel, Chabelo, García was a notable equestrian and horse tamer.

Murals and mosaics of Juigalpa

Gregorio Aguilar Chontales Museum

Gregorio Aguilar Museum

In the parks and viewpoints of the city there are colorful and striking works of art that reproduce scenes from the culture and history of the town.

The murals of the lookout stick They were only painted by Julio Madrigal, with the support of Ulises Urbina, and reflect the social evolution of the municipality and episodes of indigenous resistance.

At Central Park many mosaics by master Ricardo Gómez are preserved. Throughout the perimeter wall of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, the same artist created a long mosaic that represents the creation of the world.

Other important murals can be seen in the National Police, Gregorio Aguilar Barea Normal School, Octavio Gallardo Municipal Library, Fifth Military Command, south side of the old command and in the House of Culture.


The popular imagination of Juigalpa preserves legends rooted in its country life. Among the best known are: the Chontal cacique, the gold lizard, the cow's hill, the coyota Teodora, campists with supernatural qualities and landowners who have sold their souls to the evil one in exchange for abundant riches.

Sites of historical and cultural interest

Gregorio Aguilar Barea Archaeological Museum. It exhibits the largest collection of indigenous statuary in Nicaragua, including the tallest in Central America. It officially opened in 1967.

The rest of the collections are made up of ceramic objects, lithics, grinding stones, objects from the colonial era, taxidermy of different species, collections of iconography and original paintings by Professor Gregorio Aguilar.

Juigalpan María Ramos Community Museum. Inaugurated in 2013, its exhibition consists of pre-Hispanic stone sculptures and historical objects from the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, especially photographs of local characters and articles that tell about the daily life of the town. This institution has developed a complex cultural program that includes traveling exhibitions, cultural magazines, recitals, symposiums, meetings and Literary Thursday.

Aguas Buenas Archaeological Site. It is the site with the largest number of mounds in Nicaragua, with some 300 platforms distributed in a spiral fashion. An abundance of petroglyphs and remains of indigenous art are preserved in its surroundings.

The traditions of the community are observed in their adobe constructions and simple life.


Petroglyphs in Amerrique

El Salto Archaeological Site. Large indigenous tombs are preserved on a plateau located next to the Mayales River waterfall. The results of excavations carried out in 2003 are exhibited in the Juigalpan Community Museum.

Güeguestepe. It is a small and quiet community of potters. Tiles, pitchers, comales, cups and piggy banks are made by the hands of industrious women who preserve a rare art in Chontales.


 Saddlery is an art practiced in the San Diego community by the Amador family. They make boots, saddles, leggings, and other leather goods.

Miguel Ángel Otero López works diligently with bamboo to make a wide variety of pieces for everyday and artistic use.

Typical costume of Juigalpa. “Indita Xuctlicallipan” was designed by Nelly Sevilla. The men's suit is the "Mythical Campisto Chontaleño" by designer Franklin Mendoza. Both proposals were selected during the 140th anniversary of Juigalpa (2019) and later certified by the Municipal Council.

The emblems of the city were designed by Prof. Octavio Gallardo García (shield, 1994) and Prof. Guillermo Rothschuh Tablada (flag, 1994).


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