Read about the historical background of the Triangle, the economic activity, the state of the Mining Industry and everything you should know before you decide to visit!
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Siuna is a municipal area in the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. It is one of the 3 cities that comprise Nicaragua’s famous Mining Triangle along with Bonanza and Rosita. It has a territorial extension of 5,040 km2. It was larger but Mulukuku became an independent municipality. Geopolitically, Siuna has a formidable location; it is very near Bonanza and Rio Blanco which gives it enviable conditions for both exploring (tourism) and investment (economic development). Siuna is a town with a population of about 12,000 people and it is home to a growing number of Mestizos and Mayagnas who have gradually migrated from the Atlantic Coast to the Coco River in hopes of improving their livelihood.
In the dawn of the 20th century, Siuna was a bustling mining town that drew workers from all over the country; many of them were until then farmers and fishermen who found steady income in the mining industry. The industry was good and strong for most of the century but in 1979 Neptune Gold Mining Co. closed its operations because the mines were nationalized by the incoming Sandinista government. During the country’s civil war in the 1980s, Siuna became an ideal location for anti-Sandinista rebel forces known as Contras given the fact that it was very poorly patrolled and there were many locations within the area such as inactive or abandoned mining facilities that afforded them the ability to hide while conducting their operations. The industry has revived over the past couple of decades in a time of peace. HEMCO won in 1995 the international bid (the company is from Colombia) for rights to the mine in Bonanza and is today by far the largest mining company in the Mining Triangle. You can arrange for a visit to their plant by contacting them in advance via telephone at (505) 2266-1925 or by email: email@example.com.
You can get to Siuna via air travel using the Nicaraguan airline La Costeña. It is a direct flight with daily departures at 9am and an approximate duration of an hour and thirty minutes. You can make your reservations using their website or also by telephone at (505) 2263-2142.
If you wish to visit Siuna by land, you can do so by taking a Transmina bus. Their terminal is located outside the entrance gate to the Mayoreo Marketplace in Managua. The marketplace is near the northern highway of the city. You can get taxis anywhere in the capital to take you to the terminal. The bus leaves to Siuna at 10am daily so make sure to be at the terminal at least an hour in advance. The bus rate is 350 cordobas which is a little less than 15USD. The journey ranges from 15-20 hours depending on road conditions.
Besides the great gold mines and HEMCO plant in Bonanza, you can also do more traditional tourism by visiting the ‘’Cerro El Toro’’ for an exciting 1,652mt hike! Make sure to bring a human guide, proper supplies and wear boots. It is very difficult to provide addresses to these destinations because there are very few reference points so your most reliable companion during this visit should be your guide! If you don’t have one, your alternative is to find a taxi or local passerby to take you. Most of them are very friendly and willing to give tourists or other locals a ride. Camp Salto Labu is another great destination; it has as a stunning swimming hole with a cave, canyons and petroglyphs. The Cerro Saslaya is perhaps the best of the 3 attractions considering the geographic proximity to the powerful sights of the Bosawas National Reserve.
The weather in Siuna is very tropical with temperatures averaging in the mid 20s (Celsius) and annual precipitations that peak under normal circumstances at 2,000mm. Its humid weather permits for the growing of bulbous plants and their roots. It also possesses hundreds of hectares of precious wood where mahogany and royal cedar are the most predominant types.
Hemco is the most lucrative gold mine in Nicaragua harvesting well over 20,000 annual ounces of gold and other metals from 14 tunnels worked by some 500 plus miners. There is also handcrafted mining in the area. Unfortunately there is no census or statistic to identify what percentage of the population is primarily focused on mining as a source of income and much less of their actual productivity. One thing is for sure, it is not too high or sophisticated.
Like most of the other municipalities in the Atlantic Coast or RAAN, a lot of the transportation is done by foot or by rides from locals in Siuna. There are also taxies that will get you from point A to point B within the city and even the triangle area for around 1-5USD depending on the distance (we mention this because there are many goods or services that you will find in one city that you probably can’t find in the other). For example, if you intend to do shopping, the best marketplace is considered to be in Bonanza (part of the mining triangle).
There are local vendors who sell craftsmanship in Siuna, especially gold pieces or raw gold. You can find them in the downtown area. Like we mentioned in the paragraph above, perhaps the best shopping option that conglomerates the most amount of vendor stalls and has the best supply and demand of goods and services is located in Bonanza. The marketplace has no official name so it’s hard to provide one as a reference for you to find it. You will be able to find it by going to the downtown area in Bonanza and going to the marketplace across from the La Costeña branch.
One of best options in lodging value can be found at Hotel El Bosque in Siuna. You can reach them at (505) 2794-2043. This hotel has single, double and even three-bed rooms; the rates are 20USD (1 bed), 27USD (twin beds) and 32USD for three bed rooms. They have wi-fi, air conditioning, spacious parking and restaurant service. Another good option is Los Chinitos Hotel with beds starting at 7USD. You can make reservations by telephone at (505) 2794-2121 or by messaging them on facebook. If you are seeking the best food in town try Las Praderas Restaurant, they also have beds starting at 7USD. You can contact them at (505) 2794-2063. They are located next to the TECNOSOL Siuna branch (a leading and well-known renewable energy equipment distributor).