Matagalpa is the fifth largest city in Nicaragua and is known as the “land of the eternal spring”. The city has a rich and varied cultural history and is populated by a diverse mix of peoples from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Matagalpa was originally an indigenous village of Matagalpa Indians, but Colonialism soon saw an influx of Europeans, particularly after gold was discovered in the area.
Although Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the region of Matagalpa has an abundance of natural water and fertile land resources at its disposal. In modern Matagalpa, the gold rush might have ended, but the city and surrounding area continues to benefit from a thriving local economy in which agriculture is very much an important component.
The “eternal spring” climate features warm temperatures and high rainfall throughout the year and is ideal for growing all kinds of produce. The local economy is mainly agricultural based and farming thrives in the Matagalpa region. Matagalpa has a number of important agricultural exports including coffee, cocoa, cheese, beef, onions, tomatoes and many different fruits and vegetables, and in 2009, more than $2 billion of local produce was exported to foreign markets.
Many crops are grown in the Matagalpa region for the local markets and these include a variety of fruit such as bananas, grapefruit, plantains, and oranges, plus lots of different vegetables including cauliflower and broccoli. Flowers are another popular crop that thrives in the warm, wet climate of Matagalpa. Local farmers also grow beans and corn.
Most agriculture in the Matagalpa region is still very small-scale and labour intensive, but in the last decade livestock and dairy farming has grown steadily and many local exports have benefited from the rise in international prices.
Coffee is one of Nicaragua’s biggest exports. The coffee produced in Matagalpa is considered to be an exceptionally high quality and is shipped throughout North and South America as well as Asia, Europe, and Australasia. Unsurprisingly, because coffee plays such a significant role in the Nicaraguan economy, and in particular the Matagalpa region, there is even a Coffee Museum located in Matagalpa city centre that is devoted to all things coffee related.
With such a favorable climate, tourism is also very important to the local Matagalpa economy and ever increasing numbers of visitors travel to Matagalpa every year to see the glorious mountains and spectacular waterfalls of the region. Tours of the city and local sights are very popular with tourists.