Lion Fountain Leon Nicaragua

León is a gorgeous colonial city which is a must visit on any Nicaragua trip. It is a city steeped in history which is home to two UNESCO heritage sites. Surrounded by volcanoes, León has been impacted by volcanic activity over the years. In fact the original city, León Viejo, was abandoned due to a volcanic eruption. Nowadays, the nearby volcanoes are popular tourist destinations for volcano hiking as well as volcano boarding. León is also known as a centre of art and culture. It is also the home to Nicaragua’s oldest university. León is filled with beautiful churches as well as museums and parks. For many years there was a rivalry between two of the Nicaragua major cities – liberal León and conservative Granada. In particular, during the 1800s León and Granada alternated being the capital of Nicaragua. Find out more in this Leon Nicaragua destination guide.

Short on time? Here are our León Nicaragua top recommendations:

Hightlights: volcano board down Cerro Negro Volcano, marvel at the rooftop of León Cathedral and relax on the nearby beaches.

Activities: book your León Nicaragua Tours with Get Your Guide.

Accommodation: we use to find the best hotels.

Private Transfers: Pacific Tours,

Flights: find cheapest flights with cashback on WayAway.

Airport Lounge Access: start your holiday the right way with Priority Pass.

Travel Medical InsuranceSafetyWing Nomad Insurance is the ideal choice for long-term travellers and digital nomads.

Travel Banking: Wise makes global travel banking seamless and affordable.

What is Leon Nicaragua famous for?

Leon Cathedral Nicaragua Rooftop
Leon Cathedral Nicaragua Rooftop

León has a long history as the political and intellectual centre of Nicaragua. Founded in 1524, León is one of the oldest cities in the Americas. It is also famously the childhood home of renowned Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío. Additionally it is the city where Nicaraguan president Anastasio Somoza García was assassinated in 1956. León was also the capital of Nicaragua on and off between 1839 and 1852. Nowadays the city is most famous for landmarks such as the UNESCO listed León Cathedral (Catedral de León). Notably, the Cathedral of León is the largest cathedral in Central America due to its architectural and cultural significance. Be sure to go to the rooftop for amazing views and unmissable photo opportunities! León is also the birthplace of one of the most iconic Nicaragua traditions – the giant dancing dolls known as La Gigantona.

Why you should visit Leon Nicaragua

Woman Volcano Boardng Cerro Negro Nicaragua
Volcano Boardng Cerro Negro Nicaragua

León Nicaragua is a charming colonial city which is in close proximity to an impressive chain of volcanoes. Popular day trips from the city include volcano boarding down Cerro Negro Volcano as well as hiking Telica Volcano. Additionally, there is no better place to take in the views of these volcanoes than the rooftop of León Cathedral. This UNESCO listed building has stunning architecture as well as unparalleled 360 degree views of the area. León is a deeply religious city and is home to over 17 churches. The city also has a rich literary history, giving rise to some of Nicaragua’s most prominent poets. Notably Nicaragua’s most famous poet Rubén Darío grew up here and there is a museum dedicated to him.

León is a great place to come for lovers of food! There are a number of excellent restaurants and cafes throughout the city serving local as well as international fare. Some of our favourites include Sua León Cocina Mediterránea as well as Mañana Mañana Café. Also, don’t forget to sample the local street food while you’re there. We enjoyed trying enchiladas at the Central Market as well as having a casual dinner at one of the street carts lining the streets.

León has more of a local vibe than its rival city Granada. However there are still a number of businesses catered to tourists. We enjoyed trivia night ViaVia Leon hostel, and the ice creams at Kiss Me ice cream shop were to die for! León also has a great range of accommodation to suit all budgets. We do recommend getting a room with air conditioning while you’re there as León gets HOT!

Leon Nicaragua Destination Guide: Know before you go

Basic info about Leon Nicaragua

Leon Cathedral Nicaragua Rooftop View
Leon Cathedral Nicaragua Rooftop View

  • Official name – Santiago de los Caballeros de León (however it is most commonly known as León or Leon)
  • Date founded – León Viejo (Old Leon) was founded by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba on Jone 15, 1524. However after a number of earthquakes as well as a volcanic eruption in 1610 the city was moved to its current location. The ruins of León Viejo were excavated in the 1960s and it is now a UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Language – Spanish; Many tour operators and hotel staff speak English in popular tourist areas, but if you prefer travelling and shopping local you will need a basic understanding of Spanish.
  • Currency – Nicaraguan córdoba (NIO). Many hotels and restaurants also accept United States dollars (USD). ATMs dispense both cordobas and US dollars. For more details on money in Nicaragua, see this post.
  • Population – 210,041 (2019)
  • Area – 820 km2 (229 sq mi)
  • Department (Departmento) – León. León is the capital of this department.
  • Emergency number – 118
  • Police number – 101 (tourist police), 118 (police)

Utilities in Leon Nicaragua

  • Electricity – Nicaragua uses Types A and B power plugs, which is the same plug type as the United states. It operates on a 120v supply voltage at 60Hz. Power outages in Nicaragua are not uncommon but generally don’t last for too long.
  • Water – the tap water in León Nicaragua is safe to drink. However many expats and tourists prefer to drink filtered water. Some accommodation in León provides filtered water for guests to use (however the one we stayed at did not).
  • Toilets – sit-down flushing toilets are the most common type of toilet in Nicaragua. Don’t flush your toilet paper – use the bins provided. Public toilets are not common in Nicaragua, but you can usually find toilets in cafes and restaurants.
  • Telephone country code: +505

Where is Leon Nicaragua?

León is a city in the department of León Nicaragua. This city is situated on the Río Chiquito (Chiquito River). It is an inland city located in western Nicaragua.

The closest cities to León Nicaragua are Managua, Granada and Masaya. León is around 2 hours by car from all 3 cities.

How to get to Leon Nicaragua

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: Arriving by land

Leon Nicaragua intercity land transport

Microbus-Esteli to Leon Nicaragua
Microbus-Esteli to Leon Nicaragua

The main transport options for travelling overland to León Nicaragua are:

  • Private vehicle
  • Private transport operator
  • Shuttlebus
  • Bus
  • Minivan

Driving to Leon Nicaragua from within Nicaragua

If you are driving to León Nicaragua from within Nicaragua, here are the travel times and distances:

  • Managua – 1 hour 50 minutes (94km, 58miles) without tolls
  • Granada – 2 hours 14 minutes (134km, 83miles) without tolls
  • Masaya – 2 hours 19 minutes (121km, 75miles) without tolls
  • Estelí – 2 hours 34 minutes (143km, 89miles) without tolls
  • Rivas – 3 hours 32 minutes (185km, 115miles) without tolls
  • San Juan del Sur – 3 hours 54 minutes (213km, 132miles) without tolls
  • Peñas Blancas border crossing to Costa Rica – 4 hours 2 minutes (220km, 137miles) without tolls
  • Las Manos border crossing to Honduras – 4 hours 8 minutes (244km, 152miles) without tolls
  • Bluefields – 7 hours 52 minutes (444km, 276miles) without tolls

Intercity trains to Leon Nicaragua

There are no trains in Nicaragua.

Shuttle buses to Leon Nicaragua

Shuttle buses operate between major tourist destinations in Nicaragua. You can often book these shuttles through your accommodation or through tour operators. Expect to pay around $30-35 per person for a shuttle between León and San Juan del Sur (as at 2023). Additionally there are two shuttle bus companies that provide shuttle services to Nicaragua from other countries in Central America: Nicabus and Ticabus.

Local buses to Leon Nicaragua

Local Bus Jinotepe Nicaragua
Local Bus Jinotepe Nicaragua

A common way to get around Nicaragua is by using local buses. Tourists often refer to these as chicken buses. Nicaragua public buses are old US yellow school buses that are often painted in bright colours. They have the destination on a sign at the front of the bus. Buses rarely leave on time, so patience is key. We also recommend that you ask about bus times at the station, particularly if you are considering a less regular route. Keep in mind that most locals, including local bus drivers, only speak Spanish.

Before the bus leaves as well as during the journey a number of vendors may get on the bus selling food and other goods. This is a great opportunity to get a snack for your trip or even do your grocery shopping.

Bus terminals in Leon Nicaragua

The main bus terminal in León is the León – Terminal de buses, which is near the market Mercado La Terminal. Microbuses also depart from this area. From this bus terminal you can catch buses from León to other parts of Nicaragua. Additionally, León has a bus stop for buses to Las Peñitas beach. This bus stop is called León – Las Peñitas Bus Stop, and is located near the Sutiaba Church – St. John the Baptist.

Common bus routes for Leon Nicaragua

Details for some of the most common bus routes for León Nicaragua are listed below:

FromToBus FareDurationFrequency/Departure Time
LeónLas PeñitasC$1030 minutesHourly
LeónSan Jacinto (Telica Volcano)C$1230 minutes
LeónChinandegaC$18 (approx)1.5 hoursEvery 15 minutes
LeónManaguaC$522.5 hoursHalf-hourly
LeónRota (Cerro Negro Volcano)C$40 (approx)2.5 hours5:50am, 11am, 3:30pm
LeónMatagalpaC$882.5 hours4:20am, 7:30am, 2:45pm
LeónEstelíC$952.5 hoursDaily

The above bus fares are as at 2021.

Microbuses or minivans to Leon Nicaragua

An affordable but slightly more expensive alternative to buses in Nicaragua are microbuses or minivans. These vans generally seat around 10-15 people. They are more direct and generally only a few córdobas more expensive than buses. They usually leave when they are full and are also typically more frequent than buses. We personally think that buses are more comfortable than the minivans as people do get crammed into the minivans and minivans generally don’t provide much legroom. However you do always get a seat in minivans, albeit once my seat was just an upside-down crate in between two other seats. Microbuses in Leon Nicaragua depart from the microbus terminal: León – Interlocales De La UCA. This microbus terminal is in the same location as the local bus terminal, which is near the market Mercado La Terminal.

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: Arriving by air

The closest airport to Leon Nicaragua is Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (Airport code MGA). This international airport is located in Managua, 84km (52 miles) away.

Other nearby airports include:

  • Costa Esmeralda Airport in Tola Nicaragua (Airport code ECI). This airport is 145km (90 miles) away.
  • Toncontín International Airport in Tegucigalpa Honduras (Airport code TGU). This airport is 184km (115 miles) away.
  • Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (Airport code LIR) in Liberia Costa Rica. This airport is 252km (156 miles) away.

There is currently no national airline of Nicaragua. However airlines that service Nicaragua include American Airlines, Aeromexico, Copa Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Avianca Airlines as well as United Airlines. The domestic carrier in Nicaragua is La Costeña.

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: Arriving by boat

Puerto Corinto (Corinto Port) is the main port and also the main cruise port for the city of León Nicaragua. It is over an hour drive away from the city centre. Corinto is also the busiest seaport in Nicaragua. It is located on Corinto Bay on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua.

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: How to get around Leon Nicaragua

Walking in Leon Nicaragua

Leon Central Park from Leon Cathedral
Leon Central Park from Leon Cathedral

León Nicaragua is a very walkable city. However León does get uncomfortably hot and very sunny, so we’d recommend wearing a hat and bringing drinking water if you plan to walk around the city.

Local buses in Leon Nicaragua

Local buses service León Nicaragua. However these are mainly used to go from León to other cities and towns in Nicaragua as well as to Las Peñitas beach.

Trams in Leon Nicaragua

León Nicaragua does not have a tram system.

Local trains in Leon Nicaragua

León Nicaragua does not have a local train line.

Metro trains (subway or underground) in Leon Nicaragua

León Nicaragua does not have an underground train line.

Vehicle hire in Leon Nicaragua

A wide variety of vehicles can be rented in León Nicaragua. This includes:

  • Bicycles
  • Motorcycles
  • Cars
  • SUVs

In Nicaragua they drive on the right side of the road.

Horse and carriage rides in Leon Nicaragua

Horse and Cart Leon Nicaragua
Horse and Cart Leon Nicaragua

Horses and carts are common on the streets of León and you can often see them lined up on the streets near the bus station. However we didn’t notice horse and carriage rides for tourists while we were there. If you do end up going on a horse and cart ride in León, we’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments.

Tuk-Tuks in Leon Nicaragua

Auto-rickshaws or tuk-tuks are common in Nicaragua. They are a cheap and quick way to get from one place to the next. Agree on a price before you start your journey. Expect to pay around C$20-C$30 for a couple for a 10 minute trip. Tuk tuks may pick up other passengers along the way, so don’t be surprised if you have to share a ride with other passengers.

Taxis in Leon Nicaragua

One of the most convenient ways to get around Nicaragua is by taxi. Taxis in Nicaragua don’t generally have metres, so be sure to agree on a price before you begin your journey. In León the fare to get to anywhere within the city is C$20 per person during the day (before 7pm) and C$30 per person after 7pm. Taxis may pick up other passengers along the way, so don’t be surprised if you have to share a ride with other passengers.

Ride-share in Nicaragua

Uber, Lyft and Grab do not operate in Nicaragua. In Managua there are some alternatives:

  • Aventón
  • Ray Nicaragua
  • inDriver

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: Is Leon Nicaragua worth visiting?

Sunset Las Penitas Nicaragua
Sunset Las Penitas Nicaragua

León is Nicaragua’s second biggest city and one of the unmissable destinations for any Nicaragua vacation. The city has a rich history, beautiful architecture as well as two UNESCO world heritage sites. It also has a vibrant food scene and a great range of accommodation. Furthermore is just a short drive away from the volcanic beach Las Peñitas beach as well as one of Nicaragua’s best adventure activities – Nicaragua volcano boarding. For all of these reasons we believe León is definitely worth visiting. Do keep in mind that León is one of the hottest parts of Nicaragua, so we do recommend splurging for an air conditioned room while you’re there.

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: How long to spend in Leon Nicaragua

Woman Standing on Cerro Negro-Volcano Day Tour Nicaragua
Standing on Cerro Negro-Volcano Day Tour Nicaragua

The historic colonial city of León is a must visit for any Nicaragua trip. Located less than 2 hours drive from Nicaragua airport, it makes for a great first or last stop on your Nicaragua itinerary. It is a very tourist-friendly city with plenty of restaurants, accommodation and attractions. When planning a trip to Nicaragua, you may want to know how many days to spend in León Nicaragua. If you want to do volcano boarding at nearby Cerro Negro Volcano or go to the nearby beaches we recommend spending at least 2 days in León to explore the city and the nearby attractions. Keep in mind that León can get oppressively hot, so that may affect how long you want to stay in the city. We spent 3 nights in León and particularly enjoyed visiting the rooftop of León Cathedral, exploring León’s cafe culture and sliding down Cerro Negro Volcano!

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: What to do in Leon Nicaragua

León Nicaragua is a beautiful colonial Nicaraguan city with a number of interesting activities nearby. It has a range of great free activities as well as paid activities.

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: Free things to do in Leon Nicaragua

Woman sitting on Las Penitas beach at sunset Nicaragua
Sitting on Las Penitas beach at sunset Nicaragua

There are enough free activities in Leon Nicaragua to keep you entertained for a day or two:

  • Playa Las Peñitas (Las Peñitas beach)
  • Playa Poneloya
  • Church of the Recollection
  • Iglesia El Calvario (El Calvario Church)
  • Iglesia San Juan Bautista de Sutiaba (Sutiaba Church – St. John the Baptist)
  • Mercado Central
  • Parque Central De León
  • Parque de Los Poetas
  • Parque Héroes y Mártires

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: Paid activities in Leon Nicaragua

Cerro Negro Volcano Day Tour Group Nicaragua
Cerro Negro Volcano Day Tour Group Nicaragua

A number of attractions in León Nicaragua charge a fee:

  • Cerro Negro Volcano – volcano boarding tours are available for a fee. Expect to pay around $25-$40 for the volcano boarding tour (as at 2023).
  • Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – entry fee 105 cordobas or $3 USD (as at 2023).
  • Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian – entry fee $3 USD (as at 2023).
  • Telica Volcano – entry fee 70 cordobas for foreign adults (as at 2020).
  • Museo de la Revolucion – entry fee 100 cordobas for foreign adults (as at 2023).
  • Museum of Legends and Traditions (Museo de Tradiciones y Leyendas) – entry fee 50 cordobas for foreign adults (as at 2018).
  • Ruinas de León Viejo (Ruins of Old Leon) – entry fee $5 USD for foreign tourists (as at 2020).
  • Momotombo Volcano – volcano hiking tours are available for a fee.
  • Museo Ruben Dario – entry fee 37 cordobas or $1 USD (as at 2023).

Events in Leon Nicaragua

La Purisima Festival in Granada Nicaragua
La Purisima Festival

León Nicaragua hosts a number of events throughout the year, including:

  • Año Nuevo – New Year’s Day 1 January. Typically celebrated with bombas (fireworks) in the street as well as setting alight effigies.
  • Semana Santa – Holy Week (Easter), typically in March or April. Traditionally there were religious processions in the streets of León during this time. It’s common for families and friends to flock to the beach during Semana Santa.
  • Gritería Chiquita (Chiquita Scream) – 14 August. People sing in the streets for the Virgin Maria at alters that are set up outside houses throughout the city. Singers get gifts of sweets, fruit or other small presents. In the 8 days leading up to the Gritería many families pray to the Virgin, and alters are erected on the 9th day. Gritería Chiquita is performed annually as thanks to the Virgin for saving the city of León from the eruption of Cerro Negro.
  • Patron Saint festivities – 24 September. León’s patron saint is the Virgin de la Merced.
  • Feast of San Jerónimo – 29-30 September. During this celebration, an image of San Jerónimo is paraded through the streets of the Sutiaba neighbourhood.
  • La Purísima – 29 November-8 December. This festival celebrates the Virgin Mary. As part of the León La Purísima festival, giant Gigantona dolls dance in the streets and there is a competition to judge which is the most beautiful Gigantona.
  • La Gritería – 7 December, the final day of the La Purísima festival. It culminates in a parade, fireworks and performances.
  • Hípica de León – 2nd Sunday December (coincides with the feast day of the patron saint of Sutiaba, Santa Lucía). This horse riding festival includes horse parades as well as plenty of food, music and dancing.

Weather in Leon Nicaragua

Parque de los Poetas
Parque de los Poetas

The climate for León Nicaragua is classified as tropical, with relatively uniform hot temperatures and also high humidity throughout the year. The hottest month is April with an average temperature range of 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 94°F) and coldest month October with an average temperature between 24°C to 31°C (74°F to 88°F). There are two main seasons in Nicaragua; a wet season that typically commences in May and continues through to the end of October; and the dry season, which lasts from November through to April.

Best time to visit Leon Nicaragua

The dry season is a popular time of year to visit León Nicaragua. This is from November to April. One thing to keep in mind is that León is an uncomfortably hot city, and its hottest month is April. As such we wouldn’t recommend visiting in April. We were in León in mid March and struggled with the heat. If you are interested in unique cultural experiences, we highly recommend visiting León Nicaragua during the León La Purísima festival in early December so you can see the giant Gigantona dolls that are part of the festivities.

Internet and mobile phones in Nicaragua

The main internet and phone companies in Nicaragua are Tigo and Claro. Tigo has the widest coverage but is slightly more expensive. Both currently operate on 4G. Movistar is another common provider.

The phone messaging app Whatsapp is used extensively in Nicaragua, along with the other popular social media platforms.

High speed optic fibre internet is available in some areas of Nicaragua. The best speeds we’ve experienced have been around 40 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload. More common speeds that we have found in city hotels have been 4-5 Mbps download and 1-2 Mbps upload (as at 2021). Free wifi comes standard with most accommodation and you can find free wifi in many restaurants and cafes catered to tourists.

Cell phone SIM cards can be bought in many places throughout Nicaragua, including local corner stores known as pulperias.

For more on internet in Nicaragua, see this post.

How much to budget for Leon Nicaragua?

Is Leon Nicaragua expensive?

León Nicaragua is an ideal backpacker destination due to its wide range of affordable hostels, its great street food scene and its awesome selection of budget friendly activities. If you are looking for a cheap place to visit, we highly recommend León Nicaragua.

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: Daily spend for a couple travelling in Leon Nicaragua

Mercado Central Leon Nicaragua
Mercado Central Leon Nicaragua

León Nicaragua is a great value budget destination, but it also caters to those after a more luxurious experience.

As a rough guide, we recommend the following budgets for a couple:

  • Low-budget daily spend – US$40 per day for a couple will get you hostel accommodation, meals at local eateries and markets, local transport and free or cheap activities such as visiting the central park, churches and local markets.
  • Mid-range daily spend – US$100 per day for a couple will get you mid-range accommodation, local transport, taxis within the city and a few tours.
  • Luxury spend – $500 per day for a couple will get you a premium experience in Nicaragua, staying in luxury accommodation, travelling by private transport, doing a range of tours and eating at high end restaurants.

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: Accommodation in Leon Nicaragua

Volcano Hotel Leon Nicaragua
Volcano Hotel Leon Nicaragua

There is a good range of accommodation to suit most budgets in León Nicaragua. However what makes staying in Leon particularly special is its abundance of beautiful colonial properties. Airbnb also operates in Nicaragua, and there are a number of Airbnb properties in León Nicaragua.

Where to stay in Leon Nicaragua

We recommend the following accommodation in León Nicaragua:

  • Best hostel in León Nicaragua – Hostal Tortuga Booluda is one of the best hostels in León Nicaragua. Conveniently located, it has friendly hosts, delicious breakfasts, a relaxed atmosphere and a pool. As the name suggests, there are even pet turtles!
  • Best value hotel in León Nicaragua – Casa de Los Berrios is the perfect budget friendly accommodation in León Nicaragua. It’s great value family hotel run by a lovely owner. It’s also conveniently located close to the Central Park and the Cathedral.
  • Best hotel in León Nicaragua – Hotel El Convento Leon Nicaragua is one of the best hotels in León Nicaragua. It is in a gorgeous historic colonial property with rooms surrounding a central courtyard. It’s also conveniently located in the city centre. The service is exceptional and the breakfasts are delicious. The hotel also has a small pool.

How much is accommodation in Leon Nicaragua?

For short-term accommodation, a general price per night is as follows:

  • Budget accommodation – US$7-12 for a bed in a dorm.
  • Mid-range accommodation – US$18-150 for a private room.
  • Luxury accommodation – US$150-240 a night for a luxury hotel.
  • Rental property – US$75-260 a night for a fully furnished 3-4 bedroom home.

Leon Nicaragua destination guide: Food in Leon Nicaragua

How much does food cost in Leon Nicaragua?

Lunch at ViaVia Leon Nicaragua
Lunch at ViaVia Leon Nicaragua

Our price guide for your food budget in León Nicaragua is as follows:

  • Restaurant meal – US$10-15 for a main dish (350-500 cordobas)
  • Local eatery – US$3-5 for a main dish (100-200 cordobas)
  • Street food – US$1 (30-40 cordobas)
  • Beer (try the local Nicaragua beer Toña) – US$1 (30-40 cordobas)
  • Local fruit drink (refresco) – US$0.30-0.50 (10-15 cordobas)

Must eat food in Leon Nicaragua

Cerviche at Las Penitas Nicaragua
Cerviche at Las Penitas Nicaragua

  • Local street food from local fritangas
  • Nacatamales
  • Cheese soup
  • Quesillos
  • Tacos
  • Enchiladas
  • Elote
  • Indio Viejo (Nicaraguan Beef Stew)
  • Corn and black chicha drink
  • Coconut cajetas (cajetas de coco)
  • Leche de burra (this literally means “donkey milk” but it is actually a candy)

Cheap Eats in Leon Nicaragua

Kiss Me Ice Cream Shop Leon Nicaragua
Kiss Me Ice Cream Shop Leon Nicaragua

  • You can’t go past street food for a cheap and delicious treat. Our favourite street food includes enchiladas, nacatamales, hamburgesas and raspados. You can find street food all around León, particularly at Parque Central de León as well as around the local markets as well as at transport hubs. A lot of street vendors sell food from in front of their homes or else go door to door down the street, so you’re never far from great food!
  • Bakeries are a great place to get cheap and delicious food.

Leon Nicaragua culture

Weekends in Leon Nicaragua

Weekends in León are on Saturdays and Sundays. Sundays are typically quieter in the city and public transport may be less frequent on Sundays as well.

Leon Nicaragua public holidays

Public holidays for Nicaragua are as follows:

  • New Year’s Day – 1 January
  • Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) – the Thursday before Easter Sunday, typically in March or April
  • Good Friday – the Friday before Easter Sunday, typically in March or April
  • Easter Sunday – typically in March or April
  • Labor Day – 1 May (holiday on the Monday if it falls on a weekend)
  • Mother’s Day – 30 May
  • Sandinista Revolution Anniversary – 19 July
  • Battle of San Jacinto – 14 September
  • Independence Day of Nicaragua – 15 September
  • Indigenous Resistance Day – 12 October
  • All Souls Day (Day of the Dead) – 2 November
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Immaculate Conception Day) – 8 December
  • Christmas Eve – 24 December
  • Christmas Day (Navidad) – 25 December (holiday on the Monday if it falls on a weekend)
  • New Year’s Eve – 31 December

National symbols of Nicaragua

  • Nicaragua flag – two blue bands with a white band containing the Nicaragua coat of arms in the middle. The blue bands represent the Pacific Ocean as well as the Caribbean Sea and the white band symbolises peace.
  • Nicaragua coat of arms – this consists of a triangle, the Cap of Liberty, a rainbow, the rays of sun as well as 5 volcanoes. The Cap of Liberty represents national freedom, the 5 volcanoes represent the original 5 member states of the United Provinces of Central America and the rainbow and sun represent the bright future of Nicaragua.
  • National flower – sacuanjoche (the flower of the frangipani tree).
  • National bird – guardabarranco.
  • National heroes – poet Rubén Dario, revolutionary leader Augusto C. Sandino.

Nicaragua pastimes

Calvery Church Leon Nicaragua
Calvery Church Leon Nicaragua

  • National dish – gallo pinto. This is a dish of fried rice mixed with red beans and also spices. It can be eaten at any time of day. It is typically served at breakfast along with eggs, tortillas, fried plantains as well as a type of cheese called queso fresco.
  • Popular drinks – grama, Toña beer, Flor de Caña Rum.
  • National sport – baseball.
  • Religion – 56% Catholic, 28% Protestant, 1% Jehovah’s Witness (as at 2010).

Famous people from Leon Nicaragua

  • Famous people born in León Nicaragua – percussionist from Santana José Areas, former president of Nicaragua Leonardo Argüello Barreto, founder of the Contras Enrique Bermúdez, former president of “Democratic” Nicaragua Francisco Castellón, former Nicaraguan president Rosalío Cortés, composer José de la Cruz Menas, former Director General of the National Police of Nicaragua Aminta Granera, Nicaragua’s first female physician Concepción Palacios Herrera, former joint-president of Nicaragua Máximo Jerez, philosopher depicted on the C$10 note Miguel Larreynaga, Nicaraguan national hero and assassin of the dictator Somoza – Rigoberto López Pérez, former president of Nicaragua José Madriz, journalist Román Mayorga Rivas, poet Azarías Pallais, former president of Nicaragua Juan Bautista Sacasa, poet Mariana Sansón Argüello, former Nicaraguan president René Schick, former Nicaragua president Anastasio Somoza Debayle, former president of Nicaragua Luis Somoza Debayle.
  • Famous people who lived in León Nicaragua – poet Rubén Darío.
  • Sports stars from León Nicaragua – baseball pitcher Wilton Lopez, baseball pitcher Tony Chévez, boxer José Alfaro, boxer Adonis Rivas.

Is Leon Nicaragua Safe?

Nicaragua travel guide: Safety in Leon Nicaragua

Trivia at ViaVia Leon Nicaragua
Trivia at ViaVia Leon Nicaragua

We found León Nicaragua to be a very safe place to visit. Petty crime and crimes of opportunity can be an issue, so we recommend taking care to keep your valuables secure and out of sight. As with any country, there are some areas that are safer than others. For more information on safety in Nicaragua, watch this video.

Nicaragua did experience a period of civil unrest in 2018. This has now passed, and as a tourist you should not be affected.

General safety considerations in Nicaragua

Other general safety considerations for travel in Nicaragua:

  • Drinking water – Tap water in León Nicaragua is safe to drink. We drank tap water without issue. However many tourists prefer to drink bottled water. Additionally, most accommodation provides purified water for guests to use.
  • Mosquitoes – The mosquitoes in León don’t generally carry tropical diseases. Nicaragua has mosquito control programs and many buildings are sprayed regularly for mosquito control.
  • Scorpions – León has scorpions. We recommend checking your shoes before putting them on and keeping bags zipped closed when not attended to protect against scorpions.
  • Road safety – In Nicaragua we often travelled standing up in the back of vans or in vehicles without helmets or seat belts. This does come with an element of risk
  • Water safety – take care when swimming as currents and waves may be stronger than you expect. Also, the Nicaragua bull shark is in Lake Nicaragua.
  • Earthquakes – Nicaragua experiences regional and local earthquake activity. In an earthquake, stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall. If inside, get under a table, desk or solid furniture and hang onto it. Cover your head and torso to protect from falling objects. If outside, stay outside and go to an open area away from buildings.
  • Volcanic eruptions – the closest volcano to León is Telica Volcano. This is one of the most active volcanoes in Nicaragua.
  • Hurricanes – León is not typically significantly affected by hurricanes. You may get some heavy rain during hurricane season and blackouts may occur.
  • Sun safety – The UV Index is very high in Nicaragua. Therefore sun protection such as sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses is very important.
  • Dogs – stray dogs are common. For more on dog safety, watch this video.

As with any destination, take all of your normal safety precautions.

Nicaragua Blogs

You can find our Nicaragua blogs below.

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