Around the corner

Around the corner

This is what's west on the cross street between the house I've been looking at and the river. The houses are smaller than the ones around here but basically look well kept up (probably newer).

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if that house is brand new or old, it still looks dated.....

jajajajajja. the marine blue trim ain't helping....

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

What's important about that house... that it has a river view and is $120 a month US. You know how much I'd have had to have paid for a river view in Manhattan?

Rebecca Brown

Islander, I don't recall nicareal slamming other parts...

of Nicaragua.

SJdS gets slammed by some people who never miss a chance to make the stereotypical comments.

oops x2

First, don't you just love Drool, Pal? Comments outta place --

Second oops -- what I meant was, or at least what was in my pea-sized bird-brain: other than nicareal, there tain't a whole lotta input from anyone else in SJdS. I did not mean to imply that he denigrated other parts of NicaLandia!

SJdS gets slammed by some people who never miss a chance to make the stereotypical comments.

See, again, Sage of Jinotega et al (maybe, look in igloos?)



Jesus Jinotega is a dump isn't it? Aside from Leon and Granada, few cities in Nicaragua are known for their gracious architecture, but Jinotega makes Esteli look like Paris.

Jinotega reminds me towns in Northern Ontario ... ugly little pissholes in the snow, surrounded by natural splendour, and full of adolescents bored to the verge of insanity and waiting till they reach the age of 16 so they can leave town and move to some place else where something happens.

More like reserves in Northern Manitoba

but a lot warmer, and with paved roads, running water and electricity, so actually better - more livable - than most reserves in Manitoba.


that because the Natives drink their $$$ away and tear apart their housing!!!! Then whine for more $$$$ that the chiefs drink away!!!


"that because the Natives drink their $$$ away and tear apart their housing!!!! Then whine for more $$$$ that the chiefs drink away!!!"

I'd like to see things from your point of view but I can't seem to get my head that far up my ass.

you wonder

I know what you mean about those places in Northern Ontario, but I prefer to imagine what a motivated chamber of commerce and a little money could do to fix it. That's a chamber of commerce interested in attracting businesses and people to the city, encouraging the citizens to spruce things up, and yeah, given some money. How do you fix it?

The street itself would be considered expensive anywhere else because of the labour costs to install those blocks. It could use a good sweeping. Trim the weeds, replace the zinc fence. There's paint on the curbs so paint them some consistent neutral colour, same with the poles.The first house is solid but the trim colour is reminiscent of old hockey rinks. I liked Rebecca's comment about murals too. How much of our impression could be changed by a little cleaning and painting? With Jinotega's climate, it could be a garden city with hanging flower baskets everywhere.

Our local city government helps Jinotegans

It's opening up a development half way up one of the side mountains which will probably be very poor people's cheap places. Lots in the new part of Barrio Centroamerica went for $100 or a couple of hundred, I've heard, and the houses there look like it for the most part. Mostly dirt roads now, but some paved.

I suspect painting over the FSLN colors would not be very popular (it's an FSLN neighborhood, though not as much of an FSLN neighborhood as Barrio German Pomares).

I considered replacing the zinc side yard fence if I take Rosario's house, but I suspect that would bring me more problems than if I left things as they are and painted flamingos and stock cars or Che Guevara on it. Or let the kids decorate it. Or paint it in black and red to match the house steps. Or all of this.

One of my current patio fences is zinc patchwork and there's zinc fencing on the street for one of the local gringo's street front yards.

I was thinking that probably what predisposes me to be happy here is that I'm a fiction writer -- and that requires an innately high context personality comfortable with ambiguity and capable of seeing things in different ways, including finding beauty in a patchwork zinc fence.

Rebecca Brown

chamber of commerce

A chamber of commerce, and I mean a local one, is a business advocacy group, not government. You would think it would be in everyone's best interest to have an attractive (more universal definition) city to promote local business and lifestyle, especially for tourism.

I'm glad you found it.

Every town has a CANTUR and most have a CANATUR...local and national Chambers of tourism commerce.

At least in Jinotega, it's a spectacular waste of money

I suspect it's patronage money in a lot of places.

Rebecca Brown

Um, no, it's not in everyone's best interests

One of the things that people find out here is that people are fiercely competitive with other similar businesses. B. Not everyone thinks tourism is a good thing (Granada is notorious for actually hating the tourists except for their money and I have had men spit near my shoes when I passed by, twice). The more tourist we get here without other improvements to the local economy (small manufacturing, etc.), the more problems for those of us who aren't just passing through.

One of the things I've noticed is that the tourism money isn't going to promote things that are genuinely intriguing like the local art center which seems to be a project of one guy here on a small budget and I'm about the only gringo I've seen in the place.

It's a different culture and beyond that, it's a poor place by North American standards for most of the people who live here, though some are rich by anyone's standards.

Since the poor will shoot you if they think you've made their lives more difficult here, it's not in anyone else's interests to ignore theirs in Nicaragua.

Given that I have a friend who works there, I'm glad that La Estancia de Don Francisco is full this weekend and that I'm helping get the images out in Facebook and here, but any time more than a couple of gringos show up in one place, even here, the beggars come up, too. Tourism is only really pleasant if the local population isn't desperately poor -- and tourism is notoriously not a way to lift most people, even the people working in it, out of poverty. Fixing motorcycles and computers and teeth makes for better lives. Selling farm machinery makes for better lives, but it doesn't really attract tourists.

A friend of mine on Facebook, who has been a net friend for years, is now in Guatemala. Guatemala has far more tourist attractions that Nicaragua could ever have in the next 300 years. They've got the Spanish ruins of Antiqua, the Mayan ruins, live indigenous textile traditions, amazing small towns. And some of the danger of Guatemala is from having tourists in such numbers so easy to pluck (the National Tourist police tell people that one road near a popular attraction has a 95% chance of people being robbed unless they're in large enough groups to fight back). Guatemala can get the tourists regardless of the hazards and gets enough money from the tourists to protect most of them, or at least the wealthier ones (my friends here say of robbery in Managua that "they don't kill you like they do in Guatemala"). Guatemalan indigenous people occasionally beat a tourist to death, allegedly over suspicion that the tourist is taking Guatemalan babies for spare parts. My friend is loving it, but probably has enough money to travel safer (and is the kind of woman who went to Myanmar recently).

If I were a tourist and had enough money to travel safely in Guatemala, I'd be traveling there, not here. Here is a good place to live, but honestly, there isn't much for tourists compared to a lot of other places and you can't just build now what Guatemala has as attractions. I'd rather see Jinotega improve its economy for more of its citizens, even if that made it more difficult for me, rather than see it be a cheap substitute for Colorado or Guatemala without the local textile traditions, the ruins, and all. Nicaraguans didn't ever appear to build step pyramids for human sacrifices -- probably always a nice place to live in, but not so much a place for spectacular displays.

Also, your definitions of attractive are not universal. Many world cultures work on making nice interior spaces and don't pay so much attention to the facades.

Rebecca Brown

You Can Still

live cheaply in Nicaragua and travel anywhere you want if you can figure out how to safeguard your house and goods. Miami is only two hours away. Easier to fly back to Miami and then to Guatemala, CR, Panama, and probably the same or less money if the right flights are chosen.

Nicaragua has a LOT to see, and areas in RAAN and RAAS that probably only see GRINGOS a few times yearly. Much of the country is NOT like Granada or SJDS, or even Jinotega.

You have to have the vision to see Nicaragua in ten years and beyond, and the foresight to realize that the opportunity is today. Like any opportunity anywhere, there is some risk.

What does that mean?

"Much of the country is NOT like Granada or SJDS, or even Jinotega."

The NOT, I mean.

I live here and have done for over 5 years. From my modest 620 sq. ft. concrete and zinc roofed home and on public transport, I am still only about an hour away from a lot of "Nicaragua". Oceans, hills, cloud forest, shade grown coffee, rivers, waterfalls, pueblos, Sunday afternoon baseball, 100 cord fish dinners and more.

Why is SJdS such a dirty word to those that don't even live here.

How many people from SJdS that are on this site have ever given other parts of Nicaragua such a hard time?

i dont know..

where there from..but a lot of people give mga.. a lot of bad problem with im a old backpacker..and for me for it being in nica. its way over priced..i lived in tela,hn. for a couple of yrs..used to go back often..way cheaper..i have stayed in beach towns in c.r. less expensive..but then..good for sjds..if it can get the bucks get them..ure just not going to get many of mine

Probably not the SFdS people giving Jinotega a hard time

It's them Matagalpanas that give Jinotega a hard time, and the guys who marry them.

I don't care if most of Nicaragua is not like Jinotega.

I would suspect that what made SJdS a term of abuse is that guy who created Pelican Eyes, and all the other developments for foreigners who want to see Nicaragua from their front decks, but who don't really want to live here. I have no patience with people who want to move to artificially created communities that don't even exist in their own countries, maybe except for Boulder, CO.

And there are plenty of Nicaraguans who don't want to live in Nicaragua, either (I met some Nicaraguans, now living in Miami but back for a visit, who found the whole country just too boring).

Rebecca Brown


SJdS, as well as Granada, are NOT the REAL Nicaragua.

See: Sage of Jinotega (the original one now channeled via the resident Sage-ess [crap, that ain't a word?])

How many people from SJdS that are on this site have ever given other parts of Nicaragua such a hard time?

Since nicareal bailed on the site, unless YOU were to give a hard time to other parts of Nicaragua...........

most people from ..

sjds..have never seen nica..only pricesmart in mga...and im sure very few..have ever been to mercado orrental

Everybody should go through

Everybody should go through the meat section of mercado oriental.

'fess up....

what did you do to those 2 men? you can tell us! the ones you walked by twice.

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

What did we do before Google?

So it turns out there is a Jinotega chamber of commerce and they face similar barriers to economic development that you see all over Nicaragua but it's nice to see locals actively working to solve their own problems. Naturally, they're encouraging different kinds of businesses and many related to agriculture but apparently they want tourism too. Go figure.

Let's put it this way

Rotary International is the one who put up our trash baskets, not the Chamber of Commerce.

Thinking about Nicaragua is a hobby for you. I live here.

Rebecca Brown

my rotary district

worked on this project

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson


Well, that's a bizarre comment. It seems you have no idea what they do.


I wonder whether it would make sense to promote the idea of BIDs in Nicaragua.

"A business improvement district (BID) is a defined area within which businesses pay an additional tax in order to fund improvements within the district's boundaries."

I can hear the naysayers already, but i think it could actually fly in a few select areas if the business operators could be convinced that the usual grease-bags in the political parties or civil civil service couldn't get their paws on the money.

Fair description

When I first went to Jinotega (before I moved to Nicaragua) that was pretty much my impression. But, it is a friendly and safe town with great weather. You just can't have everything in one place.

Personally, I find the architectural examples from....

...San Juan del Sur to be supremely tasteless and dangerous, plus likely to need air-conditioning to be cool. And earth bag houses like their owners are high maintenance.

Jinotega has everything I need available in town, though not everything I want.

It's a town of 50,000 or 60,000 -- and yeah, at least some young people think any American who moves there is mad, which perhaps we are.

I'm seriously tempted to paint more stuff on the house walls if I rent there -- maybe mammoths in celebration of my Western European heritage.

Rebecca Brown

i disagree

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

Yeah, but that looks like a normal house with a supremely

...tacky swimming pool. Adobe is high maintenance -- one of the shop fronts in Granada collapsed like a hysterical gringo tourist recently.

Rebecca Brown


Yes people were quite friendly on the times I passed through town, but I'm not sure how safe it is after dark. I don't understand why any traveler would want to spend time in Jinotega. Matagalpa is just down the road and has 1,000 times more to offer in terms of Nicaraguan culture, shopping, services and tourism.

Jinotega is for sophisticated students of urban fabric

Matagalpa is more dangerous and doesn't have an adequate water supply for its population. Esteli visibly fails the Jane Jacobs tests of street safety. (The friend who was with me thought that women weren't on the street after dusk because of the rain, like rain keeps people off the street in Jinotega after five p.m.).

Jinotega is like the best cross between the Lower East Side before gentrification and a regional agricultural district trading center.

Most of us assume it's safe enough until about 7 p.m. -- and I have had people drinking on my stoop and decided not to walk between their complaints about the putas.

And we're getting a bistro.

Rebecca Brown

That's on less gringo

That Rebecca needs to worry about being her neighbor.


"That's one less gringo that Rebecca needs to worry about being her neighbor."

Not to mention five million Nicaraguans too, and probably 90% of the population in Jinotega under the age of 30.

maybe all the young people there

need to move to Esteli for the sex, drugs, and rock and roll.....and the endless miles of shed-houses on dirty streets. Jinotega is a cute little town, definately plain-Jane, but cute. It still has some ``pride of owmership``. It hasn`t yet become a giant traffic jam like matagalpa, for example.

Yeah, the architecture isn`t much, but architecture world over is a function of RICH PEOPLE. Maybe some rich foreigners and returnees can spruce it up.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand


"Jinotega is a cute little town"

What do you think is cute about it? I'm not trying to be a smart-ass, I'm really interested.

"need to move to Esteli for the sex, drugs, and rock and roll". Plus it has a great football team. Now Esteli has four things going for it!

It looks like any normal street.

How much would that empty lot be behind the zinc fence?

If it's not someone's side yard

...probably anywhere from a couple hundred dollars (if the town owns it) to a couple thousand. I suspect it's someone's yard (the yard for the house I'm considering is behind the same kind of fence on the north side, but the wall to the south is masonry, so side yard rather than back. My current yard runs along a street on the north side, but with a masonry wall, but again, a similar house style -- L shaped rather than a squared O with a central patio or an inverted squared U.

The town sold off other lots in the main part of Barrio Centroamerica for $100 US if my informant knew what he was talking about. There most of the houses are small cinderblock without stucco and without tile floors and right on the road, but even there, a few people built better houses.

For privately owned lots, I hear prices from several thousand dollars to "what were they thinking" for a parcel near the part where someone is building apartments (US $100K or up).

I've seen some things here that were obviously owned by people with money; some owned by people who obviously didn't have much money. Haven't seen any between the creek and the river with dirt floors, but I wouldn't have to go far to see that either. People seem to be doing a fair amount of home improvement (I've heard coffee prices have been good for two years running).

Rebecca Brown