Jinotega is the capital of Jinotega.
Jinotega is the city center of Nicaragua's northern region by the same name which produces 80% of the nation's coffee. Not often visited by foreigners, it has a population of about 20,000 living inside a vast bowl formed by the surrounding mountains – perhaps the width of 200X100 soccer fields. It is known as "La Ciudad de las Brumas" or "City of the Mists" for the magnificent whisks of clouds continuously feathering through the top of the bowl.
The Jinotega region was perhaps the most war-torn region in the Nation's Century. Its remote location provided a haven for rebellious forces throughout the last two previous centuries. It's safe now, in fact you can visit the countryside without a problem if you wish, just find a guide. This will bring you to a corner of the world english speakers seldom see.
When To Visit
Certainly the most adventurous time to visit is during the coffee season - December through February. You'll see trucks barelling in and out of the city on the north side, men hauling coffee in on their backs in a frantic scurry.
Of all of the places in Nicaragua to do volunteer work, Jinotega is perhaps the most worthy. Due to its problematic history Jinotega has suffered through a serious decline in infrastructure. Jinotega is a place largly forgotten by the outside world.
A Good NGO to visit is AVODEC - the Association of Volunteers for the Development of Communities. It's a small Nicaraguan-founded NGO focusing on sustainable development. It's about 4 blocks north of the Esso Central. Just ask your average Jinotegan where AVODEC is, they will probably know. A couple staff members there speak english.
Take a bus north to the main Matagalpa station. Wait for the bus with the guys yelling "Jinotega Jinotega Jinotega..." Off you go!