Located well to the northeast of Managua, Matagalpa Department (state) is noted for large-scale coffee production, cooler climate and forested mountain countryside. Abundant foliage and cool weather provide a break from the heat and dust of Nicaragua's other cities. An interesting historic, cultural and economic aspect of Matagalpa is its large German population. They are descendants of the original German immigrants who started the coffee industry there in the late 1800s.

Matagalpa city, the state capital, is a rather congested place with few attractions. Perhaps worth visiting briefly are the massive San Pedro Cathedral, the small but informative Museum of Coffee, with detailed explanations in English and Spanish of the history of Matagalpa and coffee in the region, and the Museum of Commandante Carlos Fonseca, one of Nicaragua's main revolutionary heroes.

Matagalpa's other attractions lie outside the city in small nature reserves and coffee plantations. Most visitors prefer to stay outside the city at small ecolodges and resorts in the mountains.

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