Street directions in Nicaraguan towns

One of the really quirky things about Nicaraguan towns is the direction you are often given to find things you are looking for, like a restaurant you’ve heard about and want to eat at.

Although most of the larger towns have proper street names like 1 Avenida NE (1st avenue north-east) and 3 Calle SW (1st street SW) of a prominent landmark (usually the cathedral or central park), most people (and the internet) ignores this helpful system and instead gives directions from a not-quite-so-prominent landmark.

For example, yesterday in Estelí I wanted to have dinner at a highly recommended Italian restaurant, Casa Vecchia.   The only instructions I could find on the internet were:

Del Gallo Mas Gallo Media Cuadra Al Oeste, Esteli”  


From the shop “El Gallo más Gallo”, 1/2 a block to the west”.

I knew which direction west was, but had absolutely no idea where the local “El Gallo más Gallo” shop was – and it wasn’t on any of the main thoroughfares I’d walked since arriving.  Of course, I could have asked a local, but I did eventually find it by walking another north-south road one block over from where I’d spent most of my time.

Surely you would want to give your directions from something a little more permanent than a shop, albeit a big chain-store?  Why would you not just use the actual street names?

el gallo mas gallo

A little more on “El Gallo más Gallo“.  It is a chain of shops that you find everywhere here in Nicaragua which quite literally means “the roosteriest rooster” or “the rooster’s rooster”, perhaps “the cockiest rooster”?   They are everywhere and are a bit like a Harvey Norman on steroids as they are always having a sale, and sell everything from whitegoods to audio-visual/computers to furniture but stretch it out to also include motorbikes and tyres and batteries!   I’ve always thought it was a super-weird name though.



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