Esteli the artist

For over 30 years, Alberto Gutierrez Jiron has been sculpting in the cliffs of the hill “Jaculate” located within the nature reserve “La Estanzuela” which lies south of the city of Esteli.  Alberto’s passion for history and art began when he was about 11 years old.  He has lived in the area all of his life and spent most of it reflecting the appreciation that he has for the deep and powerful history of this northern part of Nicaragua.  The most intense battles were fought here and surrounding locales and the amount of energy seeming to pulsate from the land is astonishing.  Being able to walk along with my friend, Raul, listening to him translate the stories of Alberto as we walked higher through the hills admiring his works is an experience that myself, AJ and Adam will never forget.

Some say that Alberto has spent the last 35 years living as a hermit.  Alberto admits that sometimes he views himself as such, but he will also point out that his roots are here in Jaculate.  His great-grandparents and parents lived there and Alberto has 5 brothers.

In 1977 he began carving in the rocks around him – characters, landscapes and stories he had known from a beautiful book called Tizey Estanzuela.  The reserve is a mystical place full of colorful singing birds and an amazing variety of plant life.  Walking through the unique art gallery high in the clean mountain air is an energizing experience in itself.

Jiron has sculpted magnificent works on the side of the cliff.  The hundreds of different characters and figures reflect the rich history of the area and that which has made Esteli what it is today, one of the most beautiful towns in all of Nicaragua.

Special thanks to Raul Baldizon and Alberto Jiron for making this experience possible.  If you ever find yourself near the town of Esteli, you must visit this place and meet Alberto.  GreenSurf Nicaragua is now offering this as one of the stops in our unique and highly personal tour of Esteli and Jinotega.

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