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Leon and the North West Highlights

Leon, Nicaragua’s capital until 1857, has all of the intellectual power and monumental glory that one could want in a city. Don’t forget to get a shot (or 400) of the famous Leon lions, still roaring outside the cathedral. 


The black (and gold) sand beaches in the northwest have some of the best surfing anywhere in Nicaragua and, even better, are usually completely empty. Poneloya, Puerto Sandino, Miramar, El Velero and El Transito are fairly isolated villages with rolling breakers and powerful riptides.  


Volcan Telica, Volcan Rota, Volcan Santa Clara and Volcan Cosiguina rise out of the northwest with hiking challenges for the athletically inclined. Just remember to bring your water and sunscreen.  

Get away from the rush of the city at El Sauce, an outlying city where cowboys walk the streets and park their horses outside the informal shops. 


The biggest tree in Naragote is now a national monument in honor of a former indigenous chief. Around the city park, you can also find stands selling the cheesy local delight quesillo. 

By Rachael Hanley
A sometime newspaper journalist with a heavy side of wanderlust, Rachael moved to Quito in November to work on the V!VA staff. She is currently...
08 Oct 2009

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