Leon Nicaragua

Close proximity to beautiful beaches and cheap accommodations

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Visiting Leon Nicaragua

Leon Nicaragua is the second largest city in Nicaragua, after Managua. Home to the Universidad Centro Americana, Leon has a large student population and lots of restaurants, bars, and activities for people of all ages! Leon was established in 1524 by Spanish explorers and the original location was abandoned approximately a hundred years later after an eruption of the nearby volcano Momotombo. With many excellent examples of colonial Spanish architecture and some of Nicaragua’s most famous cathedrals, Leon rivals Granada as a destination for those looking for colonial charm. More colonial cathedrals and churches per capita exist in Leon than in any other city in Nicaragua! Leon is also the starting point for great trips such as hiking up volcano Telica and sliding down Cerro Negro.

Highlights

Leon Nicaragua The Intellectual Hub

nicaragua leonLeon has been the intellectual center of Nicaragua for many years. Much of the population are students, and one of the first Universities in Nicaragua was established here in 1813. Leon has long been popular with international students because of its proximity to beautiful beaches and cheap accommodations. The population of Leon drops sharply during school holidays as many residents disappear to the beaches or return home. Located along the fertile Chiquito River, Leon has also long been an important agricultural hub in Nicaragua. With sugar cane, peanuts and plantains as well as cattle being vital to the economy of Leon, this area is critical to the overall economic well-being of Nicaragua.

Cerro Negro

From Leon, the thrill-seekers can arrange for a tour to Cerro Negro. Unlike other volcanoes where hiking to the summit is the biggest rush, Cerro Negro is the kind of volcano you can slide down at high speed. The youngest volcano in Central America, Cerro Negro consists of basaltic cinder cone. After hiking up the 728 meter volcano, you board down it again.

Telica Volcano

Volcano near Leon NicaraguaIf you prefer a camping trip to an active volcano where you can see the magma bubbling at night, you can take a hiking and camping tour to Telica volcano. Telica is only located at about 20 kilometers from Leon. The hike is relatively easy and there are camping grounds right underneath the summit. At night, you can hike up and if you are lucky, you can see the magma inside the volcano.

Tips

Visit between December and May for the volcanoes: This is the dry season and the best time to go hiking or camping. If you are only visiting the city, you can do so all year round if you don’t mind a bit of rain.

Explore the charming city: Leon is a great place to wander around. Enjoy looking at the colonial buildings and the interesting graffiti. A lot of them depict scenes ans symbolism referring to politics and the civil war. Perhaps also try some of the small vendors selling street food.

Visit the revolution museum: Learn about Nicaragua’s fascinating political past and their history of revolution.

Getting there

private transfer welcomeLeon is very easy to reach. When flying into Managua, it only takes around 90 minutes to drive to Leon. When traveling from the Costa Rican border, however, it will take you around 4 hours.

Dining

Gallo PintoIn Leon you can eat very cheaply and it will be delicious as well! Visit Tacubaya for amazing Latin and Mexican cuisine and Coco Calala for local flavors cooked in a very healthy way. Il Capriccio is a wonderful Italian restaurant that is also vegan friendly.

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