Masaya’s Crafts Scene
Masaya, Nicaragua’s third largest city named after the Masaya Volcano, has a prolific crafts scene. In Masaya, within the walls of a castle-like structure that dates back to the 1900s, you’ll find the Mercado de Artesanias (Craft Market). After spending our morning visiting the Masaya and Nindirí volcanos, we stopped at the market to begin our search for an authentic Nicaraguan hammock. While browsing through the numerous market stalls, I couldn’t stop myself from taking pictures of the market’s vibrant colors.
After a few hours at the market, we finally found the perfect handmade blue and white hammock – the colors of the Nicaraguan flag! We exhausted the remainder of our souvenir budget on a painting for my parents.
En route back to Granada after leaving the Craft Market, we stopped in nearby San Jaun de Oriente, a municipality of Masaya that was founded in 1585. At that time, the city was known as San Juan de los Platos because clay dishes used in the region’s religious festivals were crafted there.
While there, we stopped at the Valentin Lopez School of Ceramics where we were given a demonstration of how its skilled artisans create their pottery. The artists use their hands and feet to prepare the clay before shaping it on a potter’s wheel. Once the earthenwares dry, they’re painted and buffed before being fired in the outdoor kiln.
When we walked into the display room, I immediately regretted spending all of our shopping money at the Craft Market. The ceramics school offers such a wide variety of pottery, masks, and jewelry for sale – quality crafts that anyone would be proud to display in their homes or adorn their bodies.
Fortunately, I had a few Cordobas left to buy some earrings.
So learn from my mistake and be sure to budget your time and money between these two Masaya crafts destinations wisely.