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Leon

Leon Cathedral

Leon is a beautiful city about one and a half hour from Pochomil, three hours from Costa Rica and one hour from Managua.  If you are traveling to Nicaragua or traveling to Northern Nicaragua, Leon is a city you want to visit.

Formally known as Santiago de León de los Caballeros, the country's original capital was founded by Francisco Fernández de Córdoba on June 15, 1524 - almost two months after arch-rival Granada, which has never let León forget it, and 242 years before the (ahem) quaint little fishing village of Managua was handed the prize.

 

León remains what many frustrated visitors are looking for in the capital: cultural center with mind-blowing churches, thriving universities, fabulous art collections and historic sites. Its thick-walled colonial architecture has yet to receive the makeover Granada is currently enjoying (there are still bullet holes left over from the 1970s), but this is actually the more authentically Spanish city, having been burned to the ground only a fraction of the times of its oft-sacked southern adversary.

 

Altar Mayor Iglesia San Francisco

Leon has a rich history and has served as the capital of Nicaragua many times. Leon has an architecturally interesting city center and is full of old cathedrals and colonial houses.

León is a land of volcanoes, hot weather and interesting cities. Here, visitors will find the ruins of one of the first Spanish colonial cities that were built in the continent, which are preserved thanks to the volcanic sand that buried the place after an eruption. The elegant city of León preserves its attractive historical center and colonial buildings. Also, there are many natural attractions as well as little known and remote rural areas.

Leon is one of the most important cities in the country. The center itself is an attractive destination due to its museums, art galleries, colorful colonial architecture, an imposing cathedral, and the facades of its churches. The city also has hotels, restaurants, local tour operators, bars and clubs. It is also a good starting point to explore the region.

This department has a coastline in Lake Managua (Lake Xolotlán) and also features two major attractions: the ruins of the first city of León and the Momotombo volcano, which caused the destruction of the city in 1610. Nowadays, this area is known as 'Leon Viejo' (old Leon), and still preserves some of the buildings of this ancient city. Momotombo, which its almost perfect cone, happens to be a challenge when it comes to climb it.

Leon has eight volcanoes, all of which are part of the 'Cordillera de Los Maribios'. The most interesting might be Cerro Negro, which is a young, small volcano that offers incredible views and slopes to practice snowboarding. Other sites are the volcanoes of Santa Clara, Momotombito (volcano/island) and the natural reserves of Pilas-El Hoyo and Telica-Rota. Also, there are two volcanic lagoons: Asososca and Monte Galan.

There are even more attractions in Leon, such as several beaches on the Pacific Ocean, which are spread throughout the municipalities of Nagarote and Leon. Both municipalities have beaches with infrastructure, while others remain in their natural state. El Velero, El Tránsito and Puerto Sandino (good waves for surfing and a nice estuary) are located in Nagarote. On the other hand, the municipality of Leon has the most famous ones: Poneloya and Las Peñitas. In front of the last one, tourists will find the Juan Venado Island Natural Reserve.

The department has 10 municipalities. All of them have their own attractions and characteristics. Besides what we have mentioned before, the small towns of La Paz Centro and Nagarote also have interesting sites, including the delicious, traditional 'quesillo', which is served in many establishments located on the 'Carretera Nueva a León' and in the urban centers. It is also worth to mention that the majority of Leon's municipalities are rural and tourism is yet to be developed.

 



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Leon is home to the largest cathedral in Central America built from 1706-1740. This cathedral sits on the eastern side of the central park.

Leon currently has a population of around 400,000 making it the second largest city in Nicaragua. Leon is located 50 miles northwest of Managua and only 11 miles from the Pacific Coast.

Hotel El Convento - A beautiful old colonial convent that was made into a hotel. It sits three blocks west of the central park. Across the street is an art museum with an extensive collection of Latin American and European Art.

Leon Tourist Attractions:

Las Peñitas beach, Nicaragua
Poneloya
and Las Penitas Beach

The Pacific Beach towns of Poneloya and Las Penitas are located about 20 minutes from the center of Leon. These are great places to spend the day or a few days of relaxation. There are great real estate opportunities on the beaches in northern Nicaragua.

(Picture of Las Peñitas beach)


Hot Springs of San Jacinto

These hot springs are a short ride from the city of Leon. The bubbling mud pits are located in the town of San Jacinto. This is also a jumping off point to climb the Volcano Telica.

Cerro Negro Volcano Eruption
Cerro Negro Volcano

This is Leon’s most famous volcano. It is now possible to sled down the volcano at breakneck speeds. Cerro Negro has dumped tons of ash on Leon in the past and it continues to be an active volcano.


Currently many sand snow boarding fans go to the volcano to slide at top speeds.  It has been featured on many international TV programs and sports channels.


Leon Viejo city

The old city of Leon was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000. The ruins of the abandoned city have been excavated and it is an interesting piece of history to visit.

L
Leon Viejo Ruins

Places to See in Leon city

  • León Cathedral - this is the biggest cathedral in Central America. The story goes that the construction plans sent back to Spain for approval showed smaller dimensions, because they were afraid the Church wouldn't approve such a large cathedral, although this story has been debunked. The cathedral is also the final resting place of Ruben Dario, as well as many other notable Nicaraguans. You can pay a small fee to climb the stairs up to the roof, where you can get a nice view of all of León's churches and the surrounding volcanoes, and you can go into the cellars beneath the cathedral. On the roof you can see close up the giant sculptures holding up the cathedral bells, just don't ring them.
  • Iglesia de San Juan Bautista de Subtiava - one of the oldest colonial churches in Leon, the church has served a traditionally indigenous community. The rustic wood interior is a pleasant deviance from the often ornate styles that are more typical of the period.
  • Fundacion Ortiz - is an artistic treasure trove. It has a collection of European masters and a stunning collection of Latin American art.
  • Centro de Arte Fundación Ortiz Gurdián, (3 blocks west of the cathedral on the avenue), [1]. This privately supported centre is perhaps the finest art museum in Nicaragua. Showcases both international and Central American artists of various periods and media. Admission proceeds go the Breast Cancer Programme for Low Income Women. C$20 general, C$10 student (with ID).
  • Museo Ruben Dario. Pick up some of his poetry (Azul is a good beginning). There is an art museum that has a good collection, including contemporary art. It occupies two houses. The main part on a southeast corner of the street that runs from Parque Ruben Dario to the Cathedral (Avenida Central).
  • El Fortin For the best view over the city and the volcanoes, go to this old Somoza stronghold southwest of León, best reached from Subtiava. It's a 20 minute walk, ask locals for directions.


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Municipalities of Leon

Achuapa

Located at the North end of the department of Leon, the municipality of San José de Achuapa is situated in a mountainous zone where visitors will find the last pines reserves of the area. This territory is occupied by 20 villages and an urban center. Its inhabitants celebrate their religious festivities in honor of San Sebastian (second week of February) and San José (March 19th).

El Jicaral

El Jicaral is a rural municipality. Its inhabitants live from agriculture and livestock (on a smaller scale). A colonial church and a nice park are part of the attractions of the urban center, which celebrates its religious festivities in honor of the 'Señora de Las Mercedes'.

El Sauce

El Sauce, a municipality covered with hills and a range of mountains, is a good place for agriculture, livestock and apiculture. There are 16 villages and the capitol city of the same name, where tourists will find many workshops.

La Paz Centro

Despite the fact that the most important attraction in La Paz Centro are the historical ruins of Leon Viejo, this municipality also has a national historical landmark, as well as many rivers, lagoons, thermal spots, a cultural center, a municipal library and the Momotombo Volcano. Its religious festivities are held in honor of San Nicolás de Tolentino.

Larreynaga-Malpaisillo

The territory of the municipality of Larreynaga has one of the most impressive volcanoes in Nicaragua: the 'Cerro Negro'. Its inhabitants, which are organized in four urban communities and 59 rural ones, are mainly dedicated to agriculture.

Nagarote

Famous for its quesillos (cheese, sour cream and onions rolled in a tortilla), Nagarote is the traditional stopover of people traveling to/returning from Leon and Chinandega. The municipality has an old church that was declared national historic landmark, a central park, several beaches (some of them with hotels and restaurants), a port, a viewpoint, and the fame of being one of the cleanest municipalities in the country. The traditional festivities of the place are celebrated from July 19th to 28th, in honor of Santiago Apostol.

Quezalguaque

The municipality of Quezalguaque, located 17 kilometers from the city of Leon, has a colonial urban organization. A central plaza, where the municipal government and and old church are located, is situated in the urban center. Its inhabitants are mainly dedicated to agriculture and celebrates religious festivities in honor of the 'Virgen de los Remedios', on February 18th.

Santa Rosa del Peñón

Santa Rosa del Peñon is located on deposits of gold, lime and plaster. Its inhabitants are mainly dedicated to agriculture and mining. In addition to the religious celebrations in honor of Santa Rosa del Peñón de Lima (August 27th-30th), many theater groups represent the 'Judea' (Jesus' life and death) during Holy Week.

Telica

The municipality of Telica is, actually, the birthplace of Miguel Larreynaga, Nicaragua's independence national hero. There are several protected areas, two volcanoes, a river and a mountainous system that is also part of the 'Cordillera de Los Maribios'. Its urban center has old colonial houses that surround a nice central park with a colonial church. Telica's inhabitants are mainly dedicated to agriculture and livestock.



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Poneloya beach, Nicaragua

Picture of Poneloya beach, Nicaragua

How to get to Leon


Travel from Pochomil to 
Leon

From Pochomil to Leon: From Pochomil-Masachapa intersection drive on NIC 8 for 3.6 kms towards San Rafael del Sur until the first intersection. Turn left on the brick road NIC 10 until kilometer 30, where you will reach the intersection Leon-Managua, turn left (North) towards Leon on NIC 12, for 60 kms, you will pass Santa Rita, El Transito,  Puerto Sandino, Izapa and Salinas Grandes, until you arrive in León. See Map. 

To travel to other locations, see the Nicaraguan Cities page for directions.

 Distance from Pochomil to León is 100 kilometers and it takes 1:15 hour by car and 2:00 hours by bus.

Travel from Managua to León

Drive on the South Pan-American Highway (NIC 1) until km 6, Parque Las Piedrecitas, turn North on León Nueva Highway (NIC 26) towards Ciudad Sandino/Nagarote/León. You will drive through Ciudad Sandino, Xiloa intersection, Nagarote, La Paz Centro until ending at Izapa intersection. Turn right (North) on NIC 12 towards León until km 88.

Distance from Managua to León is 88 kilometers and it takes 1:15 hour by car and 1:45 hours by bus.

Travel from Managua to Mateare, Managua

See Travel to León, after passing Ciudad Sandino and Los Brasiles, the next town is Mateare.

Travel from Managua to Nagarote

Drive on the South Pan-American Highway (NIC 1) until km 6, Parque Las Piedrecitas, turn North on León Nueva Highway (NIC 26) towards Ciudad Sandino/Nagarote/León. You will drive through Ciudad Sandino, Xiloa intersection, Los Brasiles, Mateare until reaching Nagarote.

Distance from Managua to Nagarote is 42 kilometers and it takes a half hour by car and less than one hour by bus.

Travel from Managua to La Paz Centro

Drive on the South Pan-American Highway (NIC 1) until km 6, Parque Las Piedrecitas, turn North on León Nueva Highway (NIC 26) towards Ciudad Sandino/Nagarote/León. You will drive through Ciudad Sandino, Xiloa intersection, Los Brasiles, Mateare, Nagarote until reaching La Paz Centro.

Distance from Managua to La Paz Centro is 56 kilometers and it takes 45 minutes by car y 1:00 hour by bus.

Travel from Managua to Telica

Drive on the South Pan-American Highway (NIC 1) until km 6, Parque Las Piedrecitas, turn North on León Nueva Highway (NIC 26) towards Ciudad Sandino/Nagarote/León. You will drive through Ciudad Sandino, Xiloa intersection, Nagarote, La Paz Centro until ending at Izapa intersection. Turn right (North) on NIC 12 towards León until km 88, entrance to León, turn right on Chinandega by-Pass until it reconnects with León-Chinandega highway (NIC 12), turn right on this road. Drive 6 kilometers until reaching Telica.  

Distance from Managua to Telica is 100 kilometers and it takes 1:30 hour by car y 2:00 hours by bus.

Travel from Managua to El Sauce, León

Drive to Estelí, turn South on Telica highway towards León and El Sauce is 30 kilometers from Estelí.


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Introduction to Leon, Nicaragua

100km (62 miles) NW of Managua

Granada might have all the style, but León has all the substance. This historic university city may not be as unblemished and beautiful as its southern rival, but its history of rebellion and political radicalism, coupled with a vibrant and enthusiastic populace, means it wears its wounds with pride and makes for a fascinating visit. Those wounds come in the form of bullet-scarred buildings and an ancient abandoned colonial city called León Viejo. Its pride comes in the form of countless churches, museums, and the largest cathedral in Central America, along with narrow cobbled streets that lead to tiny parks and provocative murals. León is very much a city with character and with a story to tell. Perhaps that's why León is the birthplace of Nicaragua's greatest hero, the poet Rubén Darío, and is the center of an exciting art scene.

Today, it may be the dusty, hot capital of the northwest, but León was once the capital of the nation. It lost its title in 1852, but has been at the forefront of Nicaraguan politics ever since and was a focal point during the Sandinista revolution. The Somoza regime met rebellion with bombings and persecution and at one stage torched the central market. A failed uprising in 1978 was the beginning of the end for the dictatorship, and the city was liberated soon after. Every sultry corner seems to have a story. If you are going to do one guided city tour in Nicaragua, you should do so in León.



León

León is a land of volcanoes, hot weather and interesting cities. Here, visitors will find the ruins of one of the first Spanish colonial cities that were built in the continent, which are preserved thanks to the volcanic sand that buried the place after an eruption. The elegant city of León preserves its attractive historical center and colonial buildings. Also, there are many natural attractions as well as little known and remote rural areas.

Leon is one of the most important cities in the country. The center itself is an attractive destination due to its museums, art galleries, colorful colonial architecture, an imposing cathedral, and the facades of its churches. The city also has hotels, restaurants, local tour operators, bars and clubs. It is also a good starting point to explore the region.

Welcome to Northern Nicaragua

This is your place to begin the search for the property of your dreams in northern Nicaragua. Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and has all types of real estate in price ranges for every investor. Nicaragua has a quickly growing second home market and is becoming a retirement destination. With its rich cultural heritage, pristine beaches with world-class surf, charming colonial towns, and dramatic topography throughout the country, it’s hard to deny Nicaragua’s appeal.

Northern Nicaragua has hundreds of miles of untouched coastline and León is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich Colonial cities in all of Nicaragua. We have spent over 5 years in northern Nicaragua learning the dynamics of property ownership, investigating nearly every inch of the coastline, surfing every wave, and most importantly we have been building lasting relationships with the communities of northern Nicaragua in order to offer our clients the most comprehensive listing database in the country.


 



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Among the larger banks of the country are BAC, Banpro, Bancentro, LAFISE, Citibank, Banco de Finanzas or BDF and Procredit.

The tourists get their news of Nicaragua at La Prensa, El Nuevo Diario, Canal 2, Canal 8, Canal 10 and Canal 12 TV.

If you are at vacation in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, or you are looking for the trip advisor to go fishing, want to know where is nicaragua, or find out more about nicaragua, and you are traveling to Granada, Masaya, Leon, Matagalpa, San Juan del Sur, Tola, Rancho Santa Ana, then your must check out Pochomil Beach Vacation Rental. This page will provide you lots of information on your vacation rentals by owner. Many people are traveling to costa rica or traveling on vacation to Central America and after looking at this page they picked Pochomil Nicaragua.

 

Others who are traveling with their families and are looking for a beach rental at VRBO, Homeaway, airbnb, flipkey or other sites because they are looking for a beach rental, a beach vacation or simply visiting family in Rivas, Chinandega, Juigalpa, Boaco, Esteli or Sebaco, will find very useful information in our FAQ section. 

Nicaragua competes with the best resorts and destinations worldwide. Caribean resorts like Puerto Rico, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands have great resorts full of tourists, many travelers prefer the beaches of Nicaragua, specially Pochomil, that they can combine their vacation with colonial and historical sites in Nicaragua, also the proximity to Costa Rica.

 

Some of the beaches nearby are Pochomil, Masachapa, Montelimar, La Boquita, Casares, Huehuete, Tupilapa, La Flor, Poneloya, El Velero, Popoyo, Tola, San Juan del Sur also called San Juan, Playa Maderas, Majagual, Marsella, Tola, Chacocente, Las Peñitas, El Velero, Jiquilillo, Estero Padre Ramos, and many more. Most tourist who want beach photos on Nicaragua or the beach visit these beaches.

Many tourists who come to hotels in Managua, often visit Pochomil to relax, and business people who stay the weekend go to the beach at the Pacific Ocean of Nicaragua. Business people stay at Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Seminole hotel, Hilton Princess, La Perla, Hotel Granada, hotel Alhambra, Gran Hotel, among many. After visiting Pochomil and other beaches they search for beach house property for sale in Nicaragua. First they come requesting information on Nicaragua, information on Managua and information on Pochomil and information on San Juan del Sur. They they take Nicaragua Tours to go to the beaches and colonial towns. 

Among the larger banks of the country are BAC, Banpro, Bancentro, LAFISE, Citibank, Banco de Finanzas or BDF and Procredit.

The tourists get their news of Nicaragua at La Prensa, El Nuevo Diario, Canal 2, Canal 8, Canal 10 and Canal 12 TV.

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