Nicaragua
Home > Central America > Nicaragua > Leon and the North West
Page Rating
Content Quality:

Page Importance:
Author Pick:
Close Map

Book a Hotel or Hostel

Hotels Hostels & Budget
Country

City

Check in Date

Check out Date

Number of Rooms
Adults
Children



Top Nicaragua
Contributors

Leon and the North West

The northwest corner of Nicaragua is a land of extremes: the highest volcano, the hottest city, the oldest Spanish ruins. While almost anywhere in the country can claim to have “a little something for everyone,” the northwest is one of the few places that delivers on that promise. There are monuments aplenty, cathedrals galore, old forts, prisons with grim histories, ceramic workshops, museums, fertile agricultural fields and deep blue crater lakes – and that’s just the landward side.

Geography

This region of Nicaragua is tucked between the Pacific Ocean, to the west, El Salvador and Honduras, to the north, and Lake Managua, to the east. Characterized by both flat agricultural lands and steep volcanic peaks, the northwest has managed to earn the title of Nicaragua’s bread basket while still being home to the mighty Ring of Fire. The two major cities in this area are the ever-popular intellectual center of Leon and the less-popular, but more pleasantly local, Chinandega.

Visiting the North West

The Spanish chose the northwest when they settled in Nicaragua, and then chose it again when seismic activity and crime forced them from their original spot. Today, tourists take minibuses up from Managua to experience the colonial grandeur of the cities themselves and, when they’re tired of that, to relax on some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. Pick your destination carefully if you plan to swim; riptides and volcanic outcroppings make the northwest the land of surfing.

Although more likely to be overlooked in the rush – to climb Volcan Cosiguina, kayak through a mangrove swamp or hitch a ride to El Salvador – the food in the northwest is both unique and delightful. Among the stops you shouldn’t miss are:

  • The cowboy town of El Sauce for homemade honey.

  • Corinto for fresh seafood and Naragote, where you can get local cheese wrapped in a tortilla.

  • Grab a fragrant, meat-filled roll in Chinandega.

  • Of course, the bread this far north is definitely worth the trip.









12 Oct 2009

Historic Leon

Catedral de Leon

122461This massive edifice is Central America's biggest cathedral, and one of the highlights of a visit to Leon. From the outside it appears as just another large church, but the towering marble columns of ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

Iglesia San Juan Bautista de Subtiava

In many ways, this is a typical Central American cathedral. It's spacious, elegant, beautifully designed, and badly in need of restoration. The wooden altar-piece is probably the church's most ...
Historical Building
Barrio Sutiava, Leon, Nicaragua

Iglesia Calvario

With its colorful, sculptured facade and immaculately painted interior, this church is second only to Leon's cathedral in terms of beauty and should not be missed. Unfortunately, like many of Leon's ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

Santuario de Nuestra Señora Guadalupe

A charming bright blue church that is one of Chinadega’s prettiest sights, the Santuario de Nuestra Señora Guadalupe was originally built in 1855 as an offering to its namesake during a cholera ...
Historical Building
Chinandega, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced

The beautiful, traditional wood paneling of this sweeping church almost suggests a European style, but the massive icons betray its Latinness. Worth checking out for its intricately carved altar, as ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

Church Tour

104592Starting at the central park view the biggest Cathedral in Central America then climb its roof for good views of the city. From the northern corner head five blocks east to the Iglesia de El ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

Tomb of Ruben Dario

Inside the Catedral de Leon and just to the right of the altar, look for a life-sized statue of a depressed-looking lion. Here, at the base of a massive column, lies Ruben Dario, Leon's favorite son. ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Recolección

122465Yet another beautiful church, Iglesia de la Recolección is worth a look if you're still hungry for more religious imagery after seeing the Cathedral and Iglesia Calvario. The church was subject to ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

Iglesia San Juan de Dios

122464The façade of Iglesia San Juan de Dios, which overlooks a park of the same name, is a mottled grey and not exactly what you would call pretty. The exterior, reconstructed by Mons. Santiago Abarca in ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

Iglesia El Calvario

Rebuilt by Bishop Monsignor Manual Ulloa y Calvo in 1874, this church was also destroyed in the earthquake of 1885 due to its weak structure of adobe. The church’s patron saint is celebrated on the ...
Historical Building
Chinandega, Nicaragua

Parroquia Santa Ana

Parroquia Santa Ana is the church which Chinandega was built around and currently can be found in the middle of town, surrounded by the local park. First constructed in the 17th century, the ...
Historical Building
Chinandega, Nicaragua

Things to do in Leon and the North West

Volcán Cerro Negro

122690At a mere 150 years old, Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in Central America. It's also one of the most popular climbs – travelers never forget their first sight of it's cinder-black cone ...
Climbing
Leon, Nicaragua

Catedral de Leon

122461This massive edifice is Central America's biggest cathedral, and one of the highlights of a visit to Leon. From the outside it appears as just another large church, but the towering marble columns of ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

Volcanoes

122685Nicaragua is famous for its volcanoes, and León is an excellent base from which to explore some of the best. Of course, Nicaragua's small size means the same volcanoes are accessible from just about ...
Other Activity
Leon, Nicaragua

Iglesia Calvario

With its colorful, sculptured facade and immaculately painted interior, this church is second only to Leon's cathedral in terms of beauty and should not be missed. Unfortunately, like many of Leon's ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

Iglesia San Juan Bautista de Subtiava

In many ways, this is a typical Central American cathedral. It's spacious, elegant, beautifully designed, and badly in need of restoration. The wooden altar-piece is probably the church's most ...
Historical Building
Barrio Sutiava, Leon, Nicaragua

Volcano Boarding

104591One of the best ways to see Volcán Cerro Negro is by going down the volcano's side on a board. While there are other tours, the Bigfoot Hostel version starts in the late afternoon; you head out to ...
Adventure Tour
Leon, Nicaragua

Ruinas Veracruz

Another casualty of the 1979 bombardment, these are probably the most impressive, intact ruins in Leon. The most likely reason for this is that they have been fenced-off, preventing people from ...
Ruin
Barrio Sutiava, Leon, Nicaragua

León Viejo

A visit to the ruins of Nicaragua’s first capital, León Viejo, is a trip in time—back to the early years of the Spanish conquest when beheadings, slavery and native uprisings were common. ...
Monument
Leon, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced

The beautiful, traditional wood paneling of this sweeping church almost suggests a European style, but the massive icons betray its Latinness. Worth checking out for its intricately carved altar, as ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

Santuario de Nuestra Señora Guadalupe

A charming bright blue church that is one of Chinadega’s prettiest sights, the Santuario de Nuestra Señora Guadalupe was originally built in 1855 as an offering to its namesake during a cholera ...
Historical Building
Chinandega, Nicaragua

Church Tour

104592Starting at the central park view the biggest Cathedral in Central America then climb its roof for good views of the city. From the northern corner head five blocks east to the Iglesia de El ...
Historical Building
Leon, Nicaragua

The Volcanoes Around Leon

Volcán Cerro Negro

122690At a mere 150 years old, Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in Central America. It's also one of the most popular climbs – travelers never forget their first sight of it's cinder-black cone ...
Climbing
Leon, Nicaragua

Volcán Momotombo

Leon is one of several cities from which tours can be booked to Volcan Momotombo (Managua is closer to the actual volcano). Tierra Tours in one of a few operators in the city that books day-trips ...
Climbing
Leon, Nicaragua

Volcán el Hoyo

Volcán el Hoyo offers a much easier climb than others in the area, and is popular chiefly for the outstanding view from the 1000 m summit. Tours depart around 6 a.m. and should have you back in ...
Climbing
Leon, Nicaragua

Volcán El Viejo

This grueling four hour climb is said to be the hardest in Nicaragua, as well as the most dangerous. The volcano is extremely active, but the chief difficulty is the cone's massive size, a towering ...
Climbing
Leon, Nicaragua
Mapa
View Nicaragua Map




South America | Central America and Mexico | Antarctica |
Advertise | Anúnciese | Jobs | Alliances | Alianzas | Terms of Use | Contact Us | About Us | Blog | Administradores |
You must register as an owner for access to these listing tools and benefits.

Notification of new reviews: receive your latest reviews by e-mail

Customized request-a-review link: encourage guests to spread the word about your property

Our owners' newsletter: stay informed about our latest tools and benefits for you

User login

Enter your username and password here in order to log into the website:

Login
 

Create a new V!VA account

Forgot Password