Leon, Nicaragua

Photo by
Nfilip

Help rewrite the guidebook by sharing a backpackers introduction to Leon. Click here to share your description. If selected, a byline will appear with a link to your website or BF profile.

What to See

Cathedral of the Assumption

Best View in Leon
by Kluft about 9 years ago
Best View in Leon

Leon is made for walking around and exploring the culture. Everyone will stumble upon the old cathedral. Go inside the main entrance and on the left hand side there is an entrance to go up to the roof of the cathedral. It is 2$ but well worth it because of the beautiful views.

What to Do

Trekking

Volcano trekking with Quetzaltrekkers
by Nfilip about 8 years ago
Volcano trekking with Quetzaltrekkers

The highlight of my trip to Nicaragua. Quetzaltrekkers is a non-profit organization, run by volunteers, that works with children on the street. They offer single/multiday treks. I did the "Volcan el Hoyo" 2 day trek and absolutely loved it. It was physically challenging and hot (dry season!). You have to carry your own water (8 lts), and either food or a tent. We got to camp in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and got to see both the sunset and sunrise. Food provided during the trek was surprisingly good, and the guides were all helpful and friendly. This was also a great way to meet other outdoorsy travellers. The Quetzaltrekkers office has some gear (tents, sleeping bags,fleece, hiking shoes) you can borrow if you don`t have your own. Good, comfortable shoes and a camera are a must. http://www.quetzaltrekkers.com/nichome.html

Volcano Boarding

Volcano Boarding - Leon Nicaragua
by Kluft about 9 years ago
Volcano Boarding - Leon Nicaragua

Leon is a city with a vibrant culture, interesting people and exciting nightlife, but it also boasts one of Nicaragua’s best activities – volcano boarding. 2 tour operators run tours to Cerro Negro volcano, including the popular Big Foot Hostel. A 45 minute ride away, Cerro Negro has some of the best views found in all of Central America and the hike up is as much fun as the ride down. At Bigfoot the cost is 23$, plus a 5$ entrance fee and includes 2 mojitos upon return. See if you can beat the record speed of 87 km/hr at this must-do Nicaragua activity.

Where to Stay

Central

Great place to relax
by Tristessa72 about 9 years ago

We stayed at Tortuga Booluda in Leon and it was a great place away from the party scene in town. It has a pool table, free internet, comfy lounging and a great kitchen and dining area. We had a decent sized private room with 2 fans and a shared bathroom that was clean. The staff was extremely helpful which was great since it was our first time in a Spanish-speaking country. The hostel is only a five-minute walk from the town center, which was really convenient if you're looking for somewhere close to the scene but want quiet at night.

Top Accomodations in Leon
by Kluft about 9 years ago

One of the most popular hostels in Leon is Big Foot Hostel ( http://www.bigfootnicaragua.com/). This hostel has good rates, good drinks, clean beds and a pool. The reason this is the best hostel in town is because it arranges several top notch tours including the must do volcano boarding. Another popular hostel is Lazy Bones ( http://www.lazybonesleon.com/). This hostel is also clean with good rates and a laid back atmosphere. Most cab drivers in town should know where both are located.

What to Eat

Restaurants

Vegetarian/Healthy Treats at This Cafe Next Door to Bigfoot Hostel
by Hacked By of youtube.com/fırlamaadam about 9 years ago
Vegetarian/Healthy Treats at This Cafe Next Door to Bigfoot Hostel

Pure Earth Cafe, conveniently located next door to Bigfoot Hostel, serves vegetarian/healthy options that can be hard to find on the road. Lunch options include the very tasty spicy vegetarian burger bagel and fettuccine alfredo with spring salad. Lunch and dinner options range from C$65-80 or about USD$3.25-4.00. Pure Earth Cafe is open every day except Tuesdays.

Cheap Eats
by Kluft about 9 years ago
Cheap Eats

There are a couple cheap restaurants in Granada serving traditional Gallo Pinto and other delicious Nicaragua specialties. They are across from the square in the picture provided on Cancha 23 de Julio. From the main cathedral go to the side of the square furthest from the cathedral. If facing the cathedral it is down that street to the left.
There are also good street vendors in the covered market behind the cathedral and several set up on the street behind the cathedral in the evenings.

Street Food

Street Eats!

Want some cheap and easy food in Leon?
Around the main plaza/park are lots of hotdog stands- only 17 cordobas each and they come with the works (onion, shredded cabbage, gherkin and all the sauces!).
Behind the Cathedral are some ladies selling a huge selection of delicious Nicaraguan foods cooked on the BBQ, again really cheap and they are there all day long, even late at night.
During the day in the square/around the cathedral you can get a 'raspado' - shaved ice covered with fruit sauce and/or dulce de leche sauce - great for cooling down on a hot day!

Where to Party

Theater

Movie Theater
by Misscjones about 8 years ago

About .5 blocks East of the main Grocery Store downtown is the Movie Theater. Tickets are about $3 and they play three movies at a time. I loved this movie theater; it is cool and clean. They offer pizza, cotton candy, popcorn, candy, drinks, and other snacks too.

Getting Around

Bus

Leon to Managua minivan
by Lorrainey about 8 years ago

Leon to Managua - there is a minivan from Leon central bus station to Managua which leaves at 5am (50 Cordobas, Jan 2013).

Leon to Guasaule Honduran border minivan
by Lorrainey about 8 years ago

Leon to Guasaule - There is an express minivan that leaves at 4am every morning from the Leon bus station to Guasaule 6am. If you want to confirm the times to the border with the driver, you can contact: Servicio Interlocal, ph 8732 3347 Claro or 8792 5112 Movistar, cost 70 Cordoba (Jan 2013). No need to be scared that you will be the only one at the bus station, it gets crowded with so many people arriving at 3.30am for the minivans going to other cities in Nicaragua.

From Honduras a minivan leaves 8am to El Salvador border arriving 10am (US$5-6) From there, an airconditioned bus to San Salvador left at 11am and arriving 3pm (US$7). Transferred to another terminal to the Guatemalan border and got there at about 6pm (US$2). Yes you can do it in one day! I did! and a lot faster and cheaper.than TICA buses which leaves at 12pm everyday from Leon and costs US$45.

How To Get From Leon, Nicaragua To Tegucigalpa, Honduras
by Misscjones about 8 years ago

I looked forever to find directions from Leon Nicaragua to Tegucigalpa Honduras without backtracking to Managua. In the end, I just had to keep asking locals, but it worked out! Go to the Main Bus Station in Leon (North East of Central Square). From the Central Square you can take a cab or simply go to the street that touches the north part of the park (it is only one square block) and walk right (east) about one and a half blocks. You will find the crazy trucks that have two benches built into them (and a LOT of locals) and for 3 Cordobas per person they will take you to the bus station (it is the second stop). There you can take one of the van/buses to Chinandega (about 25 cordobas), the van drops you off in a bus station, walk left to the very end and get on another van that takes you to "la frontera" Gausaule (about 45 cordobas). Once you get to the border it gets crazy; about 15 people flock you, they take your bags and put it in their taxi bikes. They tell you they will only charge a tiny bit, but will ask for a much larger amount once they are done. Ask the van driver to drop you off on the main road and just walk it if you wanna save money. I was charged $2 to leave Nicaragua and $3 to enter Honduras. *Warning* If you are a female the taxi bike folks will try to touch you, kiss you, and do other obnoxious things. When I return I plan to mace them... lol. Anyways, once across you will find a bus that will take you to another bus, and THAT one will take you to Tegucigalpa. Altogether it was about 10 to 15 dollars. It is a long day, but at least you are not going backwards. I left Leon at about noon and arrived in Tegucigalpa at about 8pm.

Chicken Bus from Leon to Guasaule
by Mattfromtexas about 9 years ago

Ticabus is not the only option to get to Honduras from Leon. There's an "express" chicken bus that runs from Leon to Chinindega and the Guasaule border crossing. It only runs once per day and leaves Leon at 5:40am from the main terminal. When you get to the bus terminal, ask for the express bus "Josana" to Guasaule. I don't remember specifically what we paid, but it was way cheaper than the Ticabus option. Once you cross the border, there are buses on the Honduras side waiting to take you to Choluteca and beyond.

No Direct Buses from Granada to Leon
by Hacked By of youtube.com/fırlamaadam about 9 years ago

To get to Leon from Granada, you have to change buses in Managua. The Granada-Managua bus, which leaves from the terminal located one block south of the Parque Central, costs 20 cords, takes about an hour, and leaves every 20 minutes beginning at 6:30am. Buses to Leon leave from the same station where you arrive in Managua, and leave only when seats fill up. Getting to Leon takes about 21/2 hours and costs 40 cords. The bus arrives on the northeastern end of town.

Taxi

Taxis
by Kokko about 9 years ago

Taxis here work on per person basis. It's 15 cords anywhere in the city until either 6 or 8 o'clock. After this time it is 20 cord a person. So get in and pay at the end. If you  negotion before getting in let's the driver know you don't know how it works and will give you an inflated price costing you more money. 

Border Crossings

Leon To Honduras Border Crossing

Minivan Leon to Guasaule, Honduran border and Leon to Managua
by Lorrainey about 8 years ago

Leon to Guasaule - There is an express minivan that leaves at 4am every morning from the Leon bus station to Guasaule 6am. If you want to confirm the times to the border with the driver, you can contact: Servicio Interlocal, ph 8732 3347 Claro or 8792 5112 Movistar, cost 70 Cordoba (Jan 2013). No need to be scared that you will be the only one at the bus station, it gets crowded with so many people arriving at 3.30am for the minivans going to other cities in Nicaragua.
From Honduras a minivan leaves 8am to El Salvador border arriving 10am (US$5-6) From there, an airconditioned bus to San Salvador left at 11am and arriving 3pm (US$7). Transferred to another terminal to the Guatemalan border and got there at about 6pm (US$2). Yes you can do it in one day! I did! and a lot faster and cheaper.than TICA buses which leaves at 12pm everyday from Leon and costs US$45.

Leon to Managua - there is a minivan from Leon central bus station to Managua which leaves at 5am (50 Cordobas, Jan 2013)