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Ocotal is the capital of the Nueva Segovia Department in Nicaragua, Central America.HistoryIn 1927, Ocotal suffered one of the first dive bombing attacks in history during a battle that pitted the American Marines and the Nicaraguan National Guard against Sandinista rebels. Ocotal is the same city that was founded by Spanish colonialists in 1543, with the name Nueva Segovia.During the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis, ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya set up a government-in-exile in the city briefly in July during reconciliation negotiations with coup leaders.DescriptionOcotal is the capital of the Nueva Segovia Department in Nicaragua. The main agricultural production is coffee. The city, which has a population of 39.450 (as of 2000), is located in a valley. The name comes from the native language word for pine resin, due to the local abundant pine ocote. It was the third Spanish colony (after León and Granada) founded in what would eventually be called the Province of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Its original name was Nueva Ciudad Segovia (New Segovia) and credits for its foundation are given to Rodrigo de Contreras in 1543.Attractions include the Dipilto-Jalapa Pine forests on the north, the Somoto Canyon on the south, the indigenous and artisan towns of Mozonte and Totogalpa, as well as multiple hiking opportunities around its picturesque mountains. The old town center boasts some of the oldest colonial homes in the region as well as a very well preserved central garden in the middle of the commercial center featuring hundreds of species of flowers and tropical plants. Due to its valley location and close proximity to Nicaragua's highest mountains, its climate remains safe from the extreme heat of the pacific. Some "yet-to-discover" activities also include hiking the majestic Cerro Guásara, letting the Coco River drag you down from "El Saltarin" all the way to the Ocotal Bridge, or simply visiting one of the many surrounding coffee farms while enjoying the landscape. A day trip to El Rosario Waterfalls from Ocotal is also worth considering.
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