Besides the attractions listed, it's worth a quick stop at two other sites: La Iglesia de Molaguina, 2 blocks east and 2 blocks north of Parque Darío (no phone), is a beautiful, simple church. It's popular with locals, although curiously, no one can remember when exactly it was built. East of the city, in the local cemetery, you'll find the final resting place of Benjamin Linder, an American volunteer killed during the war. His simple gravestone reflects his passion for juggling and unicycling.

Cerro Apante is a 1,442m-high (4,731-ft.) hill that dominates the town from its southeastern location. It makes for a good half-day hike and has splendid views at the top. Start at the northeastern corner of Parque Darío and walk southeast down Av. José Benito Escobar . You'll eventually begin to leave the city, walking through the neighborhood of Apante. (If you get lost, just ask for "el cerro.") The actual summit is off-limits, but if you follow the ridgeline north, you'll find a footpath that takes you back down to the town another way.

Touring the Coffee Farms Around Matagalpa -- While you're in the area, you should definitely try to take a tour of some coffee farms -- it's a great opportunity to meet real Nicaraguans in their natural environments, as well as to try some great coffee. However, coffee tourism is very much in its infancy, with very few farms offering set tours in English. It is best to organize a tour through your hotel or lodge.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.