10 Things to See and Do in Leon, Nicaragua

Colonial Calvario church in the historical city of Leon, Nicaragua
Colonial Calvario church in the historical city of Leon, Nicaragua | © mundosemfim / Shutterstock
Jack Guy

The atmospheric Nicaraguan city of Leon is a fascinating place for visitors, and there is plenty to keep you busy while you’re in town. Here’s our top ten things you won’t want to miss.

Hit the roof at the cathedral

For just $3 you can climb up to the roof of Leon cathedral, which gives great views over the city and the surrounding volcanoes.

Leon Cathedral, Nicaragua

Grab an ice cream and sit in the Parque Central

The main square in Leon is a great place for people watching, and it’s even better with an ice cream. Bag a shady spot to escape the blazing sun and relax as you watch the locals go about their business.

Sandboarding at Cerro Negro

Just outside the city centre lies Cerro Negro, the most active volcano in Nicaragua. Hike to the top and slide down on a sandboard for a fun day out.

Sandboarding in Nicaragua

Eat at Taquezal

Treat yourself to a meal at this atmospheric restaurant set in a high-ceilinged dining room. With mains from $4-7, it’s more expensive than most places in town but absolutely worth it.

Visit the Museo Historico de la Revolución

Leon has a strong liberal tradition, and the city turned into a hotbed of revolutionary activity against the Somoza dictatorship. Visit this museum to find out more about the history.

Come for Semana Santa

Holy Week is a big deal in Latin America, and Leon is home to some great celebrations. There are processions, artistic sawdust carpets and even a sand castle competition.

Alfombras for Semana Santa in Leon, Nicaragua

Take a Revolution Tour

If you’re interested in the history of Leon and the street art which is a common sight on city walls, take a Revolution Tour with Hokano Adventures. It lasts around 4 hours and by the end you’ll have a new appreciation for the city.

Celebrate the Día de la Virgen de Merced

The patron saint of Leon is celebrated in pious fashion on September 24 each year, but the day before is a lot more fun. Watch out as locals strap on a bull-shaped frame and charge around town launching fireworks at onlookers.

Try the local delicacies at Mercado Central

Wander around the market and sample the local fare, from fritangas to nacatamales, and you’ll leave with a full stomach and a better understanding of Nicaraguan cuisine.

Dance the night away at Don Señor

This popular nightspot has two great dancefloors, with a disco and a separate bar area where you can have a more relaxed night. It’s also linked to the restaurant-pub called El Alamo, found just around the corner.

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