Mancarrón: An Art Lover’s Must-See On Solentiname Islands

On a recent trip to the Solentiname Islands in Lake Nicaragua, I realized that an island vacation doesn’t just have to be full of swimming and sunbathing; it can be full of art appreciation too!

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The Solentiname Islands is an archipelago and each island has something different to offer. Mancarrón is the largest island and is home to the communal artist society. Priest and poet Father Ernesto Cardenal established the community in 1966, and the artists continue to produce beautiful art in the primitive style.

If you have the chance to go to the Solentiname islands, a visit to Mancarrón is a must! The island has more than just great souvenirs to offer. I loved visiting Father Cardenal’s church and it was great to read some of his El Evangelio de Solentiname (The Gospel of Solentiname) in the island’s library. The art on the walls of the church was drawn by children of the community and then painted onto the walls of the church. I recommend spending some time sitting in the church, even if it is just to appreciate the bright colors and peaceful island ambiance.

art nicaragua

There is also an opportunity for some retail therapy on Mancarrón. There are tons of artisans in the community that carved beautiful birds, turtles and fish out of balsa wood and then painted them with vibrant colors. These souvenirs are unique, beautiful, and best of all, lightweight! I love that I got three or four souvenirs and they still didn’t make my bag overweight!

The Solentiname Islands is a wonderful place for a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation. The people who live and work on Mancarrón are friendly and ready to share their techniques and stories with you. I was so glad to have the opportunity to not only relax during my trip but also to get my creative juices flowing. I was so inspired by the artists that I took a couple of seedpods home from Mancarrón and painted them in a primitive style. So get started planning your trip to southern Nicaragua and get ready to be inspired!

community nicaragua

Maura Lewandowski

Maura is from Pittsburgh, PA and loved visiting Lisbon. When it comes to traveling, she's a planner. She does research before she arrives at the destination and makes sure she can fit in as much as possible.

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