Trencitos (train rides) seem to be everywhere in Nicaragua. The major malls (Metrocentro, Multiplaza Las Americas, Galerias Santo Domingo) all have small train rides for kids, and the tourist destinations of Puerto Allende (in Managua) and Masaya have larger, tractor-sized ones. Maybe this trencito obsession is an attempt to fill the void left by the 1993 decision by then-President Violeta Chamorro to close the country’s rail lines and sell the equipment and tracks for scrap. Though Doña Violeta is widely regarded to have been one of Nicaragua’s best presidents, a number of people I spoke with regretted this decision to scrap the national rail system. It does seem a bit short-sighted, especially with the recent development of plans for a Pacific-Caribbean rail canal.

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