It’s only 45 minutes from Villa Sandino to Juigalpa so we took it easy and went by taxi. The landscape changed surprisingly quickly, becoming very brown and parched. Even so cattle farming remains the main industry and Juigalpa, in complete contrast to Villa Sandino, is a hectic, prosperous town.
We chose our hotel for the location, high above the town with terrific views of the nearby Amerrisque Mountain range. We didn’t expect the continuous wind which made sitting out on the terrace almost impossible!
A silhouette of Augusto Sandino in the nearby park dominates the town. Sandino, a national hero. was a revolutionary who was assassinated in 1934 as a result of his opposition to the US military occupation of Nicaragua and dominance in Central America. He became a powerful symbol for the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) which overthrew the dictatorship of Somoza in 1979 and continued the fight against the CIA funded ‘contra’ rebels until 1986. The FSLN forms the present government and Sandino’s image appears all over the country often alongside another Latin American hero and revolutionary, Che Guevara!
The archeological museum is the main tourist attraction displaying a large collection of pre-Colombian statues found in the nearby mountains. Said to be over 1000 years old, they mostly appear to represent men and women, very different from the petroglyphs at Villa Sandino. Despite the huge collection very little seems to be known about the culture that produced them or what they signify.
Beyond the sculpture court there is a very eclectic collection including domestic items, early office machinery plus an unnerving display of stuffed animals, all with some kind of deformity, including a two-headed calf.
Jan took advantage of the shopping opportunities and bought a fetching cowboy hat.
After two days, with nothing left to do we continued our journey to San Carlos on the Río San Juan.