A city with character and history, everywhere you look nica-people are making a living, socialising on the streets or tooting horns from the ex-american style school buses. The colonial town has busy streets, plentiful of markets to explore and excite your taste buds, plus beaches reachable by bus within 30 minutes. Not being much of a city girl myself 3 nights here was more than enough to visit the iconic white cathedral while listening to the hustle and bustle in the streets below whilst you admire the views over León.
A hike up Cerro Negro is compulsory for the adventure seekers, the hike up is 45 minutes and then you board down Central Americas youngest active volcano. Quetzaltrekkers are the tour group I would recommend for $30 this includes lunch and the opportunity to hike and board down for a second time. Also your money goes back into the community, they are a non-profit volunteer-run group that donates all profits to locally-run projects working with disadvantaged youth, not only do you have a thrilling experience you also give back to the local community.
The variety of hostels is huge with something to suit all the different travellers. For me a relaxed hostel with a community vibe and good location without the party atmosphere is appealing and I chose to stay with Tortuga Booluda. The friendly staff, clean environment and pancake’s with banana breakfast made my stay all that bit better.
Transport in León is cheap especially the ex-american style school buses A.K.A chicken buses. If your taking a taxi don’t be shy at haggling and agree the price before-hand, although everything is pretty reachable by foot in the city the only time i needed to take a taxi was to and from the main bus terminal to my hostel and avoid the bicycle taxi’s they are not so purse friendly which is understandable.
Food is cheap, if you enjoy grilled meats, rice and beans (the speciality) and plantain then you will get by in León just fine, with plentiful of fritangas (Street side grills) especially dotted around the cathedral. Also with the added extras of salad, tacos and tortillas. Along with the fritangas, León has fresh fruit stalls and drink stalls selling ice tea and fruit juices, served in a plastic bag with a straw, unfortunately not the friendliest of options for the environment.
The busy street vendors parade the buses before departure selling food and drinks, so if your on route to your next stop you can pick up a snack for less than a dollar and I have to say I give it to the Nico-people for the way they make a living. This city has plenty of appeal but I’m ready for a more scenic town and so next stop is Matagalpa!