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Introducing Matagalpa

If you love coffee, mountains and urbanity, then have your cake and eat it in Matagalpa, a town where for decades an ever-increasing number of Liberal coffee patriarchs and subsistence Sandinista farmers have rubbed shoulders during city festivals and at market. Growth has sent Matagalpa sprawling into the foothills, up crumbling streets lined with shacks and onto graded plateaus laid out in tony subdivisions. Don’t worry, the mountains rise so high and layer so deep, Mother Nature doesn’t look the least bit threatened. Just glance skyward from nearly every city street and you’ll see pristine boulder-strewn peaks.

Besides, this kind of rampant growth, commerce and social tension does a city good. It keeps it moving with enough noise, speed and pointlessness to make you feel like you’re performing a cameo in some caffeine-addled existential comedy. Lucky for you, it’s one with good catering from established restaurants, upstart hipster cafes and local juice bars.

And when you’ve sipped your last cup of city, head for the hills, where you can hike through primary forest to gushing waterfalls, pick coffee, explore mineshafts and listen to ranchero troubadours jam under a harvest moon.