Set amid cool, lush mountains 34km north of Matagalpa is the pleasantly nondescript town of Jinotega, famous for the coffee grown nearby. It's worth coming up here for the ride, as the journey between here and Matagalpa is one of the most magnificent in the country, winding slowly though misty green mountains. The climate is significantly cooler than much of Nicaragua, with low cloud and drizzle not uncommon; bring a sweater or light jacket.
Most travellers only stop here on day-trips from Matagalpa, but if you miss the last bus, the best-value accommodation option is Hotel Bosawas (Tel:782-3311; Under US$5), on Av Central three and a half blocks north of the Parque. Rooms are attractive – if unusually sterile – and have an option of shared or private bathroom. The hotel also has family rooms, which are good value if you're in a group. For eating, Restaurante Soda El Tico (Tel:782-2059), a block south of the cathedral, serves up your standard buffet-style fare (mains from US$3) and is always popular with locals for its good service.
Buses run every thirty minutes to nearby Matagalpa, taking just over an hour, while ten buses daily make the trip to the capital, Managua.