Guide to Leon in Nicaragua

From what I’ve heard Leon is everyones favorite city in Nicaragua. I fell in love with this place for many reasons. It is much friendlier then Managua and Granada and is home to Central America’s biggest cathedral. It is also the only place in the world where you can go volcano boarding! If that isn’t enough to convince you to visit, the wonderful food and great nightlife might just do it!

Things to do in Leon

Climb the lady of grace Cathedral

You can’t go to Leon without climbing the cathedral and walking on its beautiful white roof. Make sure you have enough space on your memory card, because you won’t be able to stop taking photos. Its the top spot for all you instagrammers out there;) It’s only open till 5 so unfortunately not long enough to catch the sunset. I tried to bribe the guard, but he wasn’t having it.

Cathedral león Nicaragua

Leon Cathedral Nicaragua

Go volcano Boarding

Sliding down an active volcano on a tiny piece of wood at 60km per hour, just my cup of tea! Probably the most popular excursion from Leon is going volcano boarding. You won’t believe it, but I skipped it. I thought it would be a similar experience to sand boarding in Namibia and sometimes you have to make choices. If you’re an adrenaline junkie you will love it though. It’s the only place in the world where you can slide of an active volcano.

volcano boarding león nicaragua

Go Salsa dancing at La Olla Quemada

Make sure you’re around on Thursday so you won’t miss salsa night! I’ve enjoyed myself here every time despite not being the best dancer. (Ok let’s just admit it, I’m terrible). Let one of the locals take the lead while you try not to embarrass yourself.

Get a massage by Elena

If you’ve spent your traveling days crammed into those lovely public busses, Elena’s magic hands will renew your traveling spirit. This lady has a gift! I’ve never felt more relaxed in my life then after the half hour massage she gave me. You can find her place on the tourist maps they have in all the hostels.

Spend a day (or more) in Las Peñitas

You can take the local bus to Poneloya or Las Peñitas. This little beach town is the perfect place to unwind. You can spend the day there, but I would say it’s worth it to spend a little more time there. There is a popular hostel near Poneloya called surfing turtle lodge which is awesome, but its secluded. You have to take a little boat to get there and there isn’t anything else around. The spot is really beautiful though and they have great parties at the hostel. You can spend the day surfing, but I think Las Peñitas has better surf spots, so you might just want to go there for a few days. If you do, Olazul is a cool beachfront hostel and it’s run by really lovely people. It has everything you need: surfboards, swimming pool, beerpong table, great food and obviously the beach! When it’s turtle season you might even get the chance to do a tour in the reserve nearby and release over a thousand baby turtles!

baby turtles in las penitas nicaragua

sunset las penitas

Where to eat in Leon

Breakfast at pan y paz

This French café has a lovely little garden to sit down and relax. I enjoyed the almond croissant and a cappuccino for breakfast, but they also have really great sandwiches!

Lunch at Paz de luna

There’s a lovely seating area in the garden and the staff is super friendly. Its a great little place with a large menu, so you have a lot of options! I really loved the chill vibe and the food was amazing!

Dinner at Cocinarte

I would recommend this place to everyone, but especially to the veggies among us! The restaurant is a little more pricy and we went here when we wanted to treat ourselves to a nice sit down dinner instead of some street food.

Sundowners at El Mirador

Go grab a drink on this wonderful rooftop terrace and find yourself a nice spot to watch the sunset!