Local hiking opportunities abound. The gorgeous boulder fields and red-rock faces of El Ocote are sensational. You can access the trail from behind El Castillo del Cacao and hike two to three hours before rejoining the highway to San Ramón at Finca La Praya. It’s just a US$0.50 bus ride back to town.

For more hiking options, pop into nonprofit Cafetín Girasol for detailed leaflets (US$1) explaining a number of self-guided walks in the Matagalpa area that vary in length from four to eight hours.