Eli and I have spent the last three days immersed in the hustle and bustle of the Nicaraguan city of León, our last stop in Nicaragua *crys*. The streets of León are filled with markets, music, and life – people selling any and everything, friends drinking in the streets, and between the months of November and December groups of kids walking through the streets playing the drums while La Gigantona y El Enano dance. Not only is León rich in culture but in history as well – being the first city liberated, by high school students I might add, during La Revolución. While walking through the streets you can witness the history of La Revolución graffitied on the walls and painted through murals. If you find yourself in León and are looking for some ideas on what to do here are some activities that I would recommend.
Visit El Museo de La Revolución
As I wrote above León has a lot of history and played a key role during the revolution of Nicaragua.I will admit that I was bad and before coming to Nicaragua I didn’t know much about its history, and wow there is a lot! El Museo de La Revolución is the perfect place to learn of the events that made Nicaragua the country it is today.
Price: 100 córdoba ($3.70) plus tip for your guide. Ours was a lovely old man who was so excited to teach us about the history of his country.
Go to the Movies
Okay, I might be lame because in the awesome city of Leon all I wanted to do was go to the movies. But I wasn’t the only one! Eli was just as eager as I to catch a film everyday – we saw Goosebumps, The Last Witch Hunter, and James Bond. Goosebumps is definitely the best *loudly whispers*. Going to the movies is actually a very logical decision. It’s really cheap AND THERE IS AIR CONDITIONING *sequels*. For two whole hours you won’t be drowning in your own sweat and just might actually get cold like this girl right here. The movie times are really speratic with some playing every day and some at certain times or certain days.
Price: The price varied for us. Twice it was 200 ($7.40) córdoba total and the other it was 170 córdoba ($6.29 total.
Take a Cooking Class
For those who don’t know me I get my talent in the kitchen from my mother whose speciality is burnt cookbook served over a counter top that has been melted by metal dripping off a pan. This actually happened, not serving us a cookbook for dinner but setting a cookbook on fire and destroying the kitchen did. An improvement in the kitchen is something that I am in definite need of. The lesson was super relaxed and very fun. First we hopped on a chicken bus, my favorite thing – I happily sang along and watched pedestrians try to get the hell out-of-the-way as we cruised along, which took us to a mercado. There we wandered the stalls with our guide buying ingredients. I was mildly horrified by the amount of flies people were swatting off food and thank gawd our purchases were fly free. Once we returned to the hostel we chopped, sweated, and chatted with Mercedes, our super smiley and kind teacher, even while hung over from too much fiesta the night before, as we made Vigoróm and El Indio Viejo, hands down my favorite Nicaraguan dishes.
Price: $15 each. Company: Maribios Tours
El Museo de Legendas y Mitos
This quite the interesting museum. You learn a little about the revolution, cultural dances of Nicaragua, and legends like how the mountains were created or the Nicaraguan things that go bump in the night. My personal favorites:
- While walking home late at night you see a sexy young thing down the street and decide to whistle and yell just how attractive you think she is, honestly I don’t catcalling. Everyone deserves compliments but not being screamed at by randos. Anyways, as you get closer to your horror you realize that it’s really an old hag who makes you strip and finish your walk through the streets stark naked.
- There once was an old lady whose only asset was her gigantic breasts and having never had a husband she died alone. Now she haunts the streets waiting for drunk men who she then chases and demands them to grab her huge melons.
Walk behind the Cathedral at night
and you will find a plethora of amazing street food. Families set up tables and stand by their grills yelling at the passerby the menu of the night. The food here is really good and there are lots of options, vegetarian as well. The tables are family style (as in people who you don’t know will probably sit by you) and its a lot of fun being surrounded by the happy vendors, who call everyone daring and princess, and people enjoying a good meal.
Price: Most things are 15 córdoba (.55) with the meat being a little more. I got a typical Nicaraguan meal, really good grilled chicken, gallo pinto, plantains, and salad, for 90 córdoba ($3.33) but if you skip the meat and apt for their other delicious options it will be cheaper.
We didn’t find a lot of night life while traveling through Nicaragua. This is probably our fault because we are so lazy.. but in Leon there are tons of bars and places to dance! We went out and had an absolute blast dancing the night away with new friends and locals. Though I would recommend drinking ahead of time because drinks at the bars are ridiculous.. well, for Nicaragua..
Other Activities (we didn’t have time to do *sniffles*)
Climbing to the top of the Cathedral (I’m really sad we didn’t have time to do this)
Go Volcano Boarding
Go to the beach. The beaches are really close (about an hour) and our hostel said it’s really cheap to go by chicken bus.
We stayed at La Tortuga Booluda and it was awesome! Online they say that they don’t take reservations but we emailed ahead of time and were able to reserve beds (this could be because it was low season). If your going to Leon I would recommend staying here. I’m a freak about presentations and first impressions when it comes to hostels. If it isn’t nice on the eyes and doesn’t look clean there is no way. The common rooms are open and specious, with a pool table and places to chill. The common rooms open into a small patio area, which I loved, and the dorms and bathrooms are nice and clean. It’s definitely not a crazy party hostel but pregaming is not frowned upon. The best part is there is a free banana pancake breakfast! I have never eaten as many banana pancakes as I have on this trip, I think my lifetime’s worth.
Price: $8 a night per person.
After an amazing month an a half in Nicaragua Eli and I kissed it’s amazing culture, places, and people goodbye and started off on our next adventure. After 17 hours on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, multiple borders, and lots of praying from both us and our driver (more on that later) we have made it to Antigua, Guatemala in one piece. Stay tuned for our adventures through Guatemala and the tips and tricks picked up along the way.
Have you ever been to León? Are you hoping to go? Tell me about it in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. I still have tons of stories and trip&tricks from Nicaragua that I’ll be writing about so things might be jumbled for a little while. Just a warning!