A Sandinista stronghold, a university town, a market center for the thousands of farmers that populate its surrounding hills: Estelí has a multifaceted soul. On weekdays you can wake up with sunrise yoga before Spanish class; on Saturday you can mingle with farmers at the massive produce market, then see them again at midnight, dancing like mad in a ranchero bar. And we haven’t even mentioned the world-class cigars or the zeal with which a city with socialist roots has taken to slot machines. You don’t have to be a Che Guevara devotee to dig this town.
Set on the Pan-American Hwy close to the Honduran border, Estelí was a strategic gateway that saw heavy fighting and helped turn the revolution and, later, the Contra War. It's no surprise then, that Estelí has remained one of the Sandinistas’ strongest support bases.