| Geography of
Matagalpa Study Tour -- 2013
James Hayes-Bohanan , Ph.D.
Bridgewater State College Geography
UPDATED December 6, 2012
I have expanded this site's information about coffee shops, coffee roasters, coffee tours, health effects, and coffee preparation, and have moved that information to other pages. You can continue the exploration at my main coffee page.
This page is about my January 4--16, 2013 study tour in León, Jinotega, Matagalpa, and Granada. See my Coffee-Nicaragua page for stories, insights, and photographs from the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 study tours.
Cafezinho in Florianópolis
The Coffeeland Landmine Victims' Trust connects the coffee industry to landmine victims throughout the coffee-growing areas of the world. Unfortunately, this includes the Contra War area of Nicaragua. This year the journey takes us back to Ben Linder's grave in Matagalpa, but also to the Ben Linder café in León, which was established with the help of Deans Beans. Operating now primarily as a roaster, it honors the martyred North American engineer while helping farmers and victims of land mines.
The cafe was the inspiration for the proposed Ben Linder Cafe for BSU. The University Trustees have declined the proposal, but members of the community continue to advocate for the Cafe and its ideals.
"To know the unexplored of northern Nicaragua"
Every BSU Nicaragua tour since 2009 has used the excellent services of Matagalpa Tours. From office staff to field guides and local experts, this company provides reliable, expert guidance in every kind of setting.
Most places on this year's tour were also part of the 2012 study tour, with a few additions. Full itinerary includes BSU class time and other details.
NOTE: Throughout the tour, internet and phone service are often not available to group members.
Friday, January 4: Arrival in Managua
Travel to Matagalpa
Saturday, January 5: Matagalpa
Castillo del Cacao (Chocolate Castle!)
Lecture at CECOCAFEN Office
City tour, including Ben Linder grave site
Sunday, January 6: Matagalpa
El Chile community (weaving, food, panoramic vista)
Travel to Selva Negra
Monday, January 7: Selva Negra
Tour Selva Negra estate
Hike/climb Arenal cloud forest reserve
Lunch and tour of Corrales family farm
Tuesday, January 8: El Cua
Small-scale hydroelectric projects
La Pavona waterfall hike/climb
Wednesday, January 9: Rancho Grande
Tour and lunch with cacao cooperative
Thursday, January 10: La Corona
Arrival in La Corona for homestays
Friday, January 11: La Corona
Work in coffee harvest
La Corona waterfall
Local games, music, and dance
Saturday, January 12: León
Meet with ATC union to learn about the 1999 coffee crisis and strike
Visit Sol Cafe dry mill (cupping and purchase coffee)
Fabulous dinner in León
Sunday, January 13: León
La Isla Foundation -- sugar cane workers
Monday, January 14: León
Polus Center: Walking Unidos prosthetic clinic
PLUSAA wheel chair factory
Coffee geology and mild adventure at the Cerro Negro volcano
Tuesday, January 15: Granada
Masaya market (gifties)
Relaxation at Hotel con Corazon
Wednesday, January 16: Granada
City, lake, and island tour
Departure to Managua
Thursday, January 17:
Lecture at Casa Ben Linder
Departure via American Airlines
Photo from 2009, downtown Matagalpa: Part of the curriculum of this study tour is understanding the complex relationships among land, power, coffee, and politics. The three figures in the foreground represent the men and women of the Sandinista Revolution of the 1970s (and its defense in the 1980s). The shadow in the background represents Sandino, a revolutionary figure from a much earlier time.
Photo from 2010, Jinotega: Byron Corrales is the Poet of Coffee, whose care of the soil has won him the world-wide Cup of Excellence. With his wonderful children, he carries a tradition of caring for coffee to a third generation. His explanation of organic farming is the highlight of our tour.
Byron's daughter Sara shared this video, in which one of Byron's importers introduces customers to this most amazing farmer.
More photos will be added as time allows, and updates of what we learn from our adventures will be posted on the Environmental Geography blog.
For those needing flight information:
1 AA 801V 04JAN F BOSMIA HK12 640A 1015A /DCAA*FUAHSA /E
2 AA 919V 04JAN F MIAMGA HK12 1245P 220P /DCAA*FUAHSA /E
3 AA 970V 17JAN Q MGAMIA HK12 130P 505P /DCAA*FUAHSA /E
4 AA1812V 17JAN Q MIABOS HK12 710P 1015P /DCAA*FUAHSA /E