Nicaragua's most treasured souvenirs are hand woven cotton hammocks which are famous throughout the world for their quality and beauty. You'll find hammocks everywhere in Masaya, but if you'd prefer to see their place of origin, check out the fabricas de hamacas (hammock workshops) located in San Juan neighbourhood near the southwest edge of town (two blocks east of the Malecón and close to the stadium and the old hospital). This is probably the most important hammock-producing area in the country. Most of the shops are a family-run business and the hammocks are usually made inside or in front of the family's house. A visit to this neighbourhood can be very interesting as these artisans often welcome visitors and will gladly show you how hammocks are made.
Hammock –weaving is a refined art that has been passed down generation after generation. The price of the hammock depends on quality which is determined by the density of weave and quality of mateirals, and size (single, matrimonial and family). Cloured ones are more expensive than natural ones. Expect to pay 10 – 20 US $ for the simple ones and 25 – 50 US $ for the nice ones.
Most of the hammocks are sold within Nicaragua, but there are a couple of producers that export them to many other countries. Funnily enough, a friend told me that all the hammocks he saw on his Cenral American trip were made in Nicaragua, most probably in Masaya.
The central square, Parque de Octubre, was packed with people who had come to see the Independence Day's parade. School children in colourful or white clothes marched through the city, some of them drumming. It was interesting to witness this occasion, though at times I felt claustrophobic with all those people around me.