Chontales Department is one of fifteen (15) departments and two (2) autonomous regions in Nicaragua. Chontales Department is located along the eastern side of Lake Nicaragua and the department includes portions of the lake itself. The eastern side of Lake Nicaragua is much more rural and tends to have small local villages along the shores where locals subsist off of their own fishing.
The capital of Chontales Department is the city of Juigalpa, Nicaragua which is a mid-sized city. The Gregorio Aguilar Barea Museum, located in Juigalpa, contains a large collections of totem-pole like statues created by the Chontal people.
The Sierra Amerrisque Natural Reserve in located in Chontales Department and is a mountainous region not often visited by tourists. Therefore, you will be charting your own path exploring the Sierra Amerrisque Natural Reserve unless you hire a local guide.