Leon Nicaragua – Best things to see and do.
The best things to do and see at the city of Leon in Nicaragua are: visiting the Cathedral of Leon, Visiting the Museum of the Revolution, boarding the Cerro Negro volcano, taking a walking tour of the city, visiting the Ruben Dario Museum, and enjoying the city’s nightlife.
About Leon Nicaragua
With an amazing history going back over 450 years; the city of Leon in Nicaragua has a lot to offer to those who travel to it. This city was the capital of Nicaragua for over 200 years; now Leon is the 2nd largest city in Nicaragua, right behind the capital of Managua. This city is not much of a touristic destination, but more a city of locals and university students
For those travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, cultural experience, or a taste of Nicaraguan local life, Leon, Nicaragua is the perfect place. The locals are friendly, the food is delicious, the city’s history is exceptional, the culture is outstanding, the and the nightlife is excellent.
Here are the best things to see and do in Leon Nicaragua.
Visit the Cathedral of Leon, Nicaragua
No trip to the city of León is complete without a visit to the Leon Cathedral. The Cathedral’s official name is the Basílica de la Asunción; one of the biggest churches in Central America.
The Cathedral, designed by Diego José de Porres y Esquivel in 1762; is a blend of the Baroque and Neoclassicism styles with some influences from Gothic, Renaissance, and Mudejar styles.
The inside of the Cathedral is characterized by the serenity of its exceptional interior decorations; additionally, the Cathedral has over 30 domes which help provide both ventilation and the abundance of natural light.
Undergrown the Cathedral, seven cellars provide stability in the event of earthquakes. Furthermore, the underground section of the Cathedral is also home to a system of tunnels that connected several churches. The tunnels provided a way of fleeing from one place to the other in case of an attack.
The Cathedral has survived earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and wars; this is in big part due to the robustness of its walls and outstanding architectural design.
After touring the magnificent Cathedral inside and undergrown section, visitors can make their way to the roof for a modest fee. From the Cathedral’s rooftop, visitors can see much of the city of León, including the surrounding churches and the surrounding volcanoes. This is a sight undoubtedly worth seeing.
Visit the Museum of the Revolution
The Revolution Museum is located in the city center near the cathedral. This Museum is run by veterans of the Revolution who have first-hand knowledge of the conflict and can tell you all about their role in the conflict.
The building itself is part of the revolutionary history of Nicaragua. Before the Sandinistas took over the building during the war, it was used as President Somoza’s palace of communication. Furthermore, as you walk through the Museum, you will notice many bullet holes in the walls. The bullet holes are a display of the intense fighting that took place at the Museum.
The Museum is a dedication to the blood, sweat, and tears of the revolutionaries who fought so bravely for Nicaragua’s liberty. It features many books and photos that documents events leading up to the Sandinista Revolution and the entire civil war.
Stop by the Museum of the Revolution and get to know more about the Nicaraguan revolutionaries who stood up against the Somoza dictatorship.
Go Boarding at the Cerro Negro volcano
A top attraction for visitors to the city of Leon is going volcano boarding at Cerro Verde Volcano, which is located about an hour drive from Leon. This active volcano is the youngest in Central America, and also one of the most active in Nicaragua.
Speeding down an active volcano at about 30 miles per hour on a little piece of wood is really fun. However, it can also be dangerous, as volcanic dust is effectively small pieces of glass or rocks.
To ensure your safety, make sure the touring company you are planning to use has a good reputation and offers quality gear such as gloves, a jumpsuit, goggles, and a board. Additionally, make sure you take something to cover your mouth and nose; inhaling volcanic dust is dangerous.
Also, getting to the volcanos boarding area is an adventure by itself. Firstly, it will take about an hour drive from Leon to the base of the volcano. Secondly, to board down the volcano, you need to get up there, so it’s time to hike. It will take about an hour to get to the summit, once there besides the boarding, you can enjoy spectacular views. And lastly, it is time to board down an active volcano.
Take a walking tour of the city
The best way to learn and appreciate the Nicaraguan culture is to take a walking tour of Leon. This city is renowned for being one of the oldest Spanish colonies in Central America, and also for playing a pivotal role during the Nicaraguan civil war.
As you walk and experience the city, you will notice the Spanish colonial influence. This influence is displayed in large part on its magnificent churches; by simply visiting churches like the Leon Cathedral, the Recollection Church, the Calvary Church, or La Merced church; you will be able to see great colonial architecture.
Furthermore, Leon played an essential role during the Nicaraguan Civil war. As you walk around Leon, you will notice murals all over; these murals display things about the civil war and the revolution. Then, if you want to learn about Leon’s part in the civil war, visit the Museum of the Revolution and learn more about it.
Lastly, during your walking tour, find the time and stop by one of the many small unique Museums located in this city. Museums such as the following four offer a great unique way to explore Leon, Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Guardia, Museo de la Revolucion, Museo Ruben Dario, and Museum of Legends and Traditions.
Visit the Ruben Dario Museum
The Rubèn Darìo Museum is located in the city of Leòn. In the home where Ruben Dario, this famous Nicaraguan poet spent his childhood and then returned to die. Ruben Dario is recognized as a great poet, journalist, and diplomat that represented Nicaragua all over the world.
At the Museum, the life and history of Rubén Darío are on display on its walls. Furthermore, some of his belongings are on display as well, including his bed, his bible, and some of his writings.
The Rubèn Darìo Museum is not only a favorite attraction for tourists but also for locals as well.
To sum up, Leon is a city that offers a little something for every type of traveler. It doesn’t really matter what you are into it, or what brought you to Leon. In this fantastic city, you can relax and truly embrace the Nica life.