I’ve always wanted to write a travel blog or something of that nature and now that I have been living in León for more than half of a year I feel somewhat qualified to do so. The list that I have composed is in no particular order, just the “off the map” places that many of the tourists tend to miss here in the city of León. They are also some of my favorite places that I’ve been able to share with the help of the kindhearted Nicaraguans who are always more than willing to share their beautiful city with me. I dedicate this to all of them.
Right, you guessed it, there really is a botanical garden just outside of León. Few tourists really ever pass through this way, yet it makes a beautiful afternoon walk through some of the different types of ecosystems that flourish throughout Nicaragua. From picking up the fragrances of dry and wet tropical forests to learning some new Spanish plant-vocabulary, this is the perfect place to get out of the busy city for a few hours as well as an educational hub for knowledge seekers. Take the caminota from the esquina of the Revolutionary War Museum all of the way to La Salle, get off and its about a 10 minute walk recto on the left. If you don’t mind spending an extra dollar or two, take a taxi (you may want to get their phone number, chances are you wont find one for the way back). Costs about 100 cords for foreigners but if you’re skin is dark and you speak well enough Spanish you may be able to pass right on through (not in my case).
As soon as the sun sets, take a ride on Bus Pelón to get a full tour of the city of León. You won’t miss it – a bus without a roof decorated with holiday lights strung down the walkway. It’s a perfect way to beat the afternoon heat and mosquitos during dusk, hang with some locals, or chat with your date. Costs 10 cordobas, find it in front of the Museum of the Revolution where it comes and goes every hour. Feel free to let the salsa music flow through your body, get up and dance, and get off randomly for an adventure if it looks and feels right.
What better way to immerse yourself in another country’s culture than at a baseball game? Plus, baseball is the national sport here in Nicaragua, it is played more frequently than soccer throughout the entire country. Tickets are cheap, anywhere from 10 to 30 cordobas. Don’t worry about bringing food or beer because there will be every type of street food vendor at your service. Make some friends, Nicaraguans will love to explain to you what the score is or who’s up to bat. Chances are their cousin, uncle, or nephew will be out on the field playing, too. Take a taxi so you don’t get lost.
Want to catch a sunrise or sunset? Take a taxi driver to “El Fortín” for a breathtaking view of the entire city of León as well as the volcanic landscape surrounding the city. Take a tour for a dollar to learn about this history of this archaic building that served as a prison and one point. The taxi driver will charge you extra if you make him wait too long, so time your arrival for about a 20 minute ride from the center to catch a marvelous sunset over the ocean.