When you arrive in Estelí get a taxi right away to the best attraction in town. Just say “del tánque de agua Mercado Alfredo Lazo cuartro cuadras al oeste” (it’s 4 blocks west of the of the big blue water tank at outdoor farm market), you’ll see the sign at the main gate. Where you’ll see, nestled in a park-like setting, two beautiful buildings covered with murals that tell the history of the project in colorful wall paintings, and picturing the step-by-step process of recycling paper by hand and making greeting cards. You might see paper sheets already drying in the sun on large whiteboards. The women environmentalists, las Mujeres Ambientalistas, will show you how they make primitive paper using a process that’s hundreds of years old. And, they will let you get your hands wet while making some of your very own paper. Be sure to have good batteries in your camera and lots of room on your memory chip, you’ll be glad you did. This place was made for a camera.
Tour the natural medicine garden, tropical plants garden and the vegetable garden. Some folks like to spend the whole afternoon in this tranquil area away from all the noise and confusion of the city. I have taken photos of the Guardabarrancos - the Nicaraguan National Bird that land in the trees from time to time. If you have binoculars bring them along. I used to go there in the afternoons after attending four hours in class at Spanish School Horizonte in the mornings, to unscramble my brain and to practice my new language with those sweet women while they worked. I was hooked the first time I went to this parcel of peace. They are so friendly and will talk with you as long as you like. Next, spend some quality time in their store to find those one-of-a-kind gift treasures, you love the low prices. Be sure to sign their guest book and get a few hugs before you travel on.