I read about Alberto Guterriez for the first time long time ago, even before my trip around central america started. From that moment I knew I want to visit him and see all those amazing carvings. And so I planned this visit carefully when the right time came.
For those who don’t know who Alberto is this is the short introduction. Alberto is currently 76 years old and has be carving rocks of Tisey Estanzuela Natural Reserve near Somoto for around 38 years. He lives very simple life in a small house in the middle of reserve. To get there it requires a few hours in bus and hiking but it’s definitely worth. He is very well know all around. Just mention his name and everybody will agree what a great guy he is.
There are 2 different options how to visit him. Both quite complicated. You can ask in the local tourist office in Esteli, they will be very happy to explain you both ways. You can also hitchhike there but be prepared, there are not many cars you can catch as it’s quite remote location.
We decided to catch the local bus and then hike around 1.5 hours. The countryside is simply breathtaking. Hard to describe, the best way is to see the pictures:
Once we entered his property we felt like in a paradise. Mangos, oranges, pineapples and small stones with beautiful pictures everywhere. We knew this is the right place. What however got our attention was the sound of his tools coming from the distance. And then we saw him. He was fixing one of many benches along the rocks.
From the beginning he was incredibly nice and started talking about all the carvings we could see everywhere around us. There are mostly animals and bible motives but it doesn’t stop there. There are many pictures from Nicaragua and even Twin Towers from NYC. Every single one of them has some story behind it. Alberto gently explained us everything. This was the moment when I wished my Spanish skills were much better. Fortunately my friend Lotti translated me everything he said. I was simply stunned.
Alberto is a really great host. Not very surprising after he revealed that more than 38.000 people have already visited him in all those years. He has log books with all the people’s names. And so we added our names, too.
Alberto was talking a lot and he loved to mention pieces from the bible. At the end of each of his speeches he always clapped his hands. And so we did, too.
At the end of our visit he showed us his tools he has been using from the beginning and even gave us some fruits and flowers from his garden.
And what about all those stone pictures? The same as the scenery around – very hard to describe with words.
Well, what to add? Visiting Alberto was definitely one of the strongest moments of my whole trip. It’s nice to know that there are still people out there doing what they love no matter what. Thanks Alberto for the motivation.