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Nicaragua’s second-largest city is hot! Visitors can expect temperatures of 95 °F/35 °C in the dry season (December – April). Regardless, we liked this university town and the following things to do in León, some of which are in the shade and for which you will thank us!
What to Do in León
1. León Cathedral
Don’t miss a visit to the top of the Cathedral of Leon, aka Real Renowned Basilica Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This Cathedral was built in 1747 and took over a century to complete.
During the tour, you can walk on the rooftop, which displays the best views of the city and its surrounding volcanoes.
2. Museum of Legends and Traditions
A bizarre way to spend fifteen minutes in the shade is visiting the Museo De Leyendas y Tradiciones (4a Calle SO, frente Ruinas San Sebastián).
The museum includes stories such as that of the young woman who forced men in the street to breastfeed.
3. Volcano Boarding at Cerro Negro
Most people to plan a trip to this city are visiting to hike up an active volcano called Cerro Negro and sled down it!
Volcano boarding is one of the biggest pulls for Nicaragua, with many tours leaving from hostels and tour companies.
3. Eat Tacos
Nicaraguan tacos are deep-fried shells stuffed with meat, cabbage, and delicious cream, perfectly paired with a Toña beer!
4. Lunch on Baguettes
You’ll smell Pan & Paz – French Bakery before you see it!
Take out freshly prepared bread or dine in at the cafe.
5. Tattoos in León
One of the top things to do in León for us was to get some ink done!
Quite the unusual day out, but the city does quality work at cheaper prices than back home.
Craig and I spent the afternoon with Andy at White Devil, treating ourselves to the most permanent souvenir.
6. Las Peñitas
A great way to avoid the heat, check out the natural air con of Las Peñitas.
Take the 30-minute chicken bus from the Mercadito and spend the day surfing or sunbathing, then hop back on the bus before sunset or taxi back to León when it gets dark.
Getting To León
Microbuses run between Managua and León and take around 1-2 hours.
The small minivans are more comfortable than the chicken bus journeys, which can take around four hours!
Getting Around León
León is not that big and can be discovered on foot.
Forget street names; locations are found via counting blocks.
If you are lost, ask a local.
If they don’t know, they’ll holler at the next person walking by and work it out together.
Things I’d Still Like To Do in León
- Old town – Leon-Viejo: Leon before the volcano eruption
The main reason I like León is not the architecture or the constant whiff of meat on the grill but because the city doesn’t give two hoots that you are a tourist.
Vendors sell chicha in plastic bags, kids skip to school in their pristine uniforms, and the estimated seventeen Catholic church buildings of colonial Leon continue to crack.
Have you been to León? Are you going?