Leon Nicaragua ranks as the second largest city in Nicaragua, after Managua. The city of Leon Nicaragua, which translates as "Ciudad de Leon Nicaragua" in Spanish, is located 90 miles from the capital city of Managua, so you can definitely plan to see both cities on a trip to Nicaragua. Take a Leon vacation for some great shopping and dining opportunities, as well as a chance to learn about the city's interesting history.
Locals will be the first to tell you: Ciudad de Leon Nicaragua is the perfect Leon attractions to visit if you're interested in seeing some of the most beautifully restored Spanish colonial style churches in the country. In fact, there are a dozen or more churches to tour, most of which are in great condition. A Leon tour will reveal strong Catholic traditions of the people of Nicaragua; you'll see people worshipping any time of day in these beautifully constructed churches that date back to the 1500s. Visitors often marvel at how the arched flying buttresses of the Cathedral of Leon, the biggest in Central America, could have been put in place with bare hands, and without the aid of the modern construction equipment.
Ciudad de Leon Nicaragua is also a college town--it is home to the large Universidad Centro Americana and an attractive place for college students from outside of Nicaragua to visit because of the cheap accommodations and delicious, affordable cuisine. Some people like to visit Leon because it seems like a perfect atmosphere to meet other young travelers interested in seeing a different side of Nicaragua.
One of the best things to see on a Leon tour is the Ruben Dario Museum, named for the famous Nicaraguan poet and journalist. You'll learn about his life and legacy and even the inspiration behind some of the thought provoking poems that have influenced generations of Nicaraguans. One particularly inspiring poem by Dario is called "Azul," or "Blue."
To get to Leon Nicaragua, you'll fly into the international airport in Managua. The city is only a 90-minute drive away, so consider taking an inexpensive bus from the capital. Renting a car is also an option, but seeing Leon from the backseat of a car would be a shame. This lively city is set up for easy walking and biking, so be sure to park your car and see Leon on two feet. Trekking through the city will allow you to strike up conversations with the friendly residents and discover charming cafés and side streets. If your destination is a bit too far away for walking, city trucks called Ruletos serve as the city's public transportation system and will take you almost anywhere you'll need to go for around three dollars.
If you do have a car, be sure to check out some of the attractions right outside of Leon's city limits. Magnificent volcanoes and beautiful white-sand beaches are only a short drive away. Visit Cerro Negro, a very young volcano that last erupted in 1999 and consequently formed three tiny craters. Also fun is the trek across the Telica Volcano and the fumaroles at San Jacinto. The fumaroles act as a magma vein to the volcano. The angry bubbling noises and smoke produced right at the surface are interesting.
If you want volcano exploration to be the main highlight of your trip to Nicaragua, consider taking an adventurous Nicaragua tours that will escort you to all of these great natural wonders. Leon tours are available for extremely adventurous people looking for the most challenging Nicaragua hiking trails as well as those with limited hiking experience.