Somoto, boasting a population of about 35,000, is the capital of and biggest town in Madriz. If you are heading west to Honduras (vs. north where you would go through Ocotal instead) it is the last town before the border.
The town is in the process of a rather significant facelift. There is a new municipal building which now houses the public market, a new park (as well as the older one by the church) and wider streets.
Still a work in progress but Somoto is looking like a town a lot bigger than it is.