La Chureca: Living In Garbage

Managua Nicaragua La Chureca
Toxic Fumes at La Chureca Landfill Near Lake Managua
Managua, Nicaragua

La Chureca is the largest garbage dump in Central America. It’s located on the outskirts of Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua and covers over 4 square miles (7 sq. km). One thousand people live & work on the “City of Trash” every day.

Getting here was not easy, and traipsing through burning, rotting garbage wasn’t exactly a picnic either. But the hardest part of all was bearing witness to the way of life these people have to live.

They are called Churequeros. Their homes are made of trash. They scavenge through the garbage for food. Every day they search for scraps of plastic, cans, and glass to sell for recycling. This is how they make a living.

There is an elementary school located on the dump with 6 classrooms. But once kids have graduated, they don’t have many options. Most start working long hours in the landfill every day with the rest of the family. The people who live at La Chureca live a tough life, but still they are friendly and proud.

The following images are my attempt to share what goes on here. It’s not pretty, but it’s real.

Managua Nicaragua La Chureca Workers
Men Searching for Scraps of Glass & Plastic to Sell for Recycling
Managua Nicaragua La Chureca Scavengers
Vultures, Cows, and Wild Horses Pick Through Garbage with People
Managua Nicaragua La Chureca Dead Animals
Dead Animals, Bio-Waste, and Rotting Food are Constant Health Hazards
Managua Nicaragua La Chureca Home
Families Live on the Dump in Homes made of Trash
Managua Nicaragua La Chureca Woman
Woman Sweeps Garbage from Her Dirt-Floor Home
Managua Nicaragua La Chureca School Boy
Local Boy Waits for Class to Start at School
Managua Nicaragua La Chureca Dirty Water
Pond Filled with Trash & Green Sludge
Managua Nicaragua La Chureca Children Workers
11 Year Old José Breathes in Toxic Fumes While Scavenging
Managua Nicaragua La Chureca Burning Garbage
Garbage is Burned All Day, Dangerous Chemicals & Heavy Metals Included
Managua Nicaragua La Chureca Worker
Churequero Man Starts his Long Day of Working on the Landfill
Managua Nicaragua La Chureca Kids
La Chureca Kids have a Bleak Future and a Hard Life
Travel Planning Resources for Nicaragua
Location: Managua, Nicaragua [Map]

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Did you know people live this way? Ever heard of La Chureca? Share with us in the comments below!


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 10 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, beautiful photos, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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