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San Juan de Oriente

Looking for ceramics while in Nicaragua? Head to the tiny village of San Juan de Oriente, where practically everyone is a potter. As you wander the village’s narrow streets, stopping at different workshops along the way, you’ll see all kinds of pottery, including handmade necklaces, vases, plates and ceramic animals based on Nicaraguan folklore. Founded in 1585, the pretty village was originally known as San Juan de los Platos (Saint John of the Plates), because village artisans used to create the plates that were used in local religious festivities.

Some of the artisans favor traditional pre-Columbian designs, while others work with modern geometric shapes reminiscent of M.C. Escher. It’s worth taking the time to visit each workshop, most of which are in the potters’ homes, because each family has its own distinct style that has been passed down from generation to generation.