The department is named in honor of Nicaraguan President José Madriz, its foundation was in 1936. Every year its constitution is celebrated on November 11, with parties in its main streets, fairs, cultural activities and historical exhibitions.
Nature surrounds it, the Coco River (Wangki) crosses through its municipalities, it is a department with hills, rivers, waterfalls, natural viewpoints, plateaus, standing out the Tepesomoto-La Patasta Nature Reserve and its greatest natural tourist attraction, the canyon, formerly known as Namancambre.
How to enjoy Madriz?
Somoto Canyon National Monument
Formed by forests and paramo of solidified lava caused by eruptions and magna emissions from the Masaya and Nindirí Volcanoes. At the top of the Masaya volcano you can see the Santiago crater with 500 meters wide and 200 meters deep, giving off gases and active fumaroles flirt with the surrounding clouds.
This beautiful place is located in the heights of the municipality of San José de Cusmapa, located south of the department of Madriz. It has an average height of 1,280 meters above sea level, being the highest municipality in the country, which is why it is known as the Balcón de las Segovias.
Due to its location, the town center is a complete viewpoint, from the Balcón de Cusmapa you can see a large part of the Pacific volcanic chain to the Gulf of Fonseca. You can also see a large number of pine trees and feel their smell and enjoy watching the birds that freely walk among the trees. The "Mirador El Balcón" is located in the highest area of the municipality of San José de Cusmapa, it can be reached on foot or by vehicle. The road is paved and is in good condition. There is signage at the entrance to the site.
It is of artificial origin and measures approximately 4,500 meters. It is an artificial water source, on whose shores in colonial times, an oven was built to make resin to build and repair boats, a product that was sent to El Realejo. Here you can make tours through paths surrounded by pine trees, representative of San José de Cusmapa, and grass that allows activities such as picnics where you can enjoy the fresh air, tall pines and the view of the lagoon.
It is located in the urban area of San José de Cusmapa, 600 meters from the Municipal Mayor's Office. to the south, left hand. The best way to get there is on foot. The road is paved to a certain extent, then it is a dirt road that is in fair condition. There is signage at the entrance to the lagoon.
Laguna La Bruja is located in the El Pegador community, it is a small natural lagoon that is surrounded by coffee plantations and oak forests. The weather is pleasant and suitable for resting and observing nature. It is located less than 2 kilometers from the urban area of Las Sabanas.
This attraction also offers a short tour of family gardens that grow the delicious strawberry typical of this municipality throughout its production season.
* Entrance to the sites
* rowing boat
*Vests save life
* Strawberry Tour
Piedras Pintadas Municipal Ecological Park
Entrance to the sites
Visit to complete trails
cave the bull
They are the most important petroglyphs in the north of the country, they present a unique case of polychromy in rock art; however, today the soil is highly eroded and the surrounding vegetation has been altered by cattle ranching.
Accredited as Piedras Pintadas Municipal Ecological Park under the ordinance of the honorable municipal council of Somoto on Friday, July 12, 2013. Piedras Pintadas is named as an ancient commercial route and the rock outcrop where the petroglyphs and pictographs are located as a site of rest of merchants who circulated on one of the many pre-Columbian roads of the country. Some specialists refer that it was a sacrificial zone, since petroglyphs are presented in the form of skulls and ritual expressions.
Tepesomoto La Patasta Nature Reserve
You can take tours of the place, as well as observe oak forests, enjoy the flora and fauna of the site.
This site does not have specific tourist services, so it is recommended to travel in the company of a guide or baqueano from the community. It is located to the south of the department of Madriz and includes the municipalities of Somoto, San Lucas, Las Sabanas and San José de Cusmapa.
In its municipalities you can find amazing handicrafts with indigenous reminiscence, dolls molded in clay, handicrafts in tusa, the husk of the corn cob made into art and the artisans who work with pine needles (leaves).
Rafael Maria Fabretto Cooperative
In the urban center of Cusmapa there is a cooperative of women who take advantage of the fibers of the pine needles (leaves), combined and held with colored threads, to make delicate hair accessories, key rings, jewelry, earrings, fine baskets, comaleros and other objects and souvenirs of a decorative nature. The material is collected in the pine forests of the same municipality and the articles have the particularity that they permanently preserve the smell of pine.
Here you can interact with the artisans, learning about the elaboration of these beautiful pieces. The workshop is located in the urban area of San José de Cusmapa.
Loma de Panda Artisan Cooperative
In this community of indigenous origin, the family tradition of making different clay utensils for domestic use is still preserved, which has served as the basis for a women's cooperative to develop a varied production of decorative and utilitarian ceramic pieces such as plates, cups, jars, vases. In 2012 they won first place in the VI National Craft Contest held in the city of Masatepe, with the presentation of three tagüe colored ceramic pieces called “Mobile Dolls”.
There you will learn about the process involved in making these handicrafts, unique in their style throughout the country, observe the different finishes that are obtained thanks to the use of various types of clay or "tagüe", as they say in the community. It is located 8 kms. from the urban center of San Lucas, in the Loma Panda community, accessible by dirt roads that must be traveled in four-wheel drive vehicles.
Tusa handicraft workshop from Totogalpa
In the Doña Sonia Workshop, they make dolls and pictures of tusa in the municipality of Totogalpa, of great beauty and originality. The raw material is corn waste: cob, cob hair, toilet paper, wire and artificial colors. The workshops are located in different parts of the city, northeast of the city of Totogalpa, in the department of Madriz, on the street of the first exit to Managua, among others.
In the Municipal Mayor's Office they can give you more information about traditional artisans who still work in the collection of products made in the area.
Petates of tule from Totogalpa
The ancestral tradition of weaving individual mats of tule, of different sizes, has been preserved by Mrs. Flor de María López Bautista, since 1980. She is part of a group of 60 women from the community of Santo Domingo. The tule is a wild plant from the locality, which is processed in its own workshop and marketed at different points of sale in the city of Somoto and in the town of Totogalpa.
Cayantu palm hats
Heriberto Pérez Vargas, with more than 40 experience, makes hats,for children and adults, and the old charro, using real palm fiber, in his family workshop in the community of Cayantú, 25 minutes from the urban center of the municipality of Totogalpa.
The somoteñas donuts stand out; Due to their quality and exquisite flavor, they are highly valued and marketed in all the departments of Nicaragua, Central America and the United States.
One of the most representative traditional and gastronomic items of the city of Somoto and therefore of the department of Madriz, the delicious Somoteña donuts which have been proudly recognized worldwide and have earned the recognition of the entire Nicaraguan population, you can find in the city of Somoto around 10 of the largest production workshops in the department where you can taste the variety of these derivatives of corn, their donuts, marzipan, puff pastry or oldies and quesadillas or also called empanaditas.
Yalagüina donut workshops
At present, the municipality has more than 100 small workshops that are dedicated to the elaboration of the famous donuts, these work in the urban area and in the communities of Los Encuentros, La Esperanza, Salamasi and Samascunda.
The production of donuts has been a tradition rooted in this town since Somoto and is well accepted in the national and international market for its excellent quality. There are more than 30 small brick and clay tile workshops, which are marketed in the region.