I am slowly getting around to organizing/culling photos from prior trips. Almost two years ago I visited Leon, Nicaragua, for a few days as part of a 2 week trip around the Ultramaraton Fuego y Agua event. (The next race, by the way, in February 2012 is open for registration).
By the time I reached Leon on this trip, I had been in country for over a week, including several days in the city of Granada, which was the historical rival to Leon. Compared to Granada, Leon seemed more liberal and lively. Although peaceful now, previously Leon had also been impacted more by revolutions and civil wars, and that was evident in the street art memorials.
Vendors preparing agua fresca (fruit flavored sugar water) drinks to sell:
This visit was a couple of weeks before Christmas, and so decorations were up all over. There was a nativity scene in the main square. I happened to be there one day while there was a graduation ceremony at the main cathedral. Some festivities from the graduation were still ongoing into the evening.
The central park always seemed to have people hanging out, often with families and kids, including into the evening. Vendors were on the square renting out toys for kids to ride. Next to the central park was the Basilica de la Asuncion, which is the largest cathedral in Central America.
Vendor rents toys for kids to ride in the park:
One afternoon my guide took me to the Museum of Legends and folklore which was most interesting. The museum had a bunch of exhibits explaining the local folklore. In each room, the museum host and historian enthusiastically explained the story behind the exhibit, and my guide translated. These stories were a combination of fairytales and ghost stories. The museum was previously a prison which was notorious for torture of political prisoners. On the walls behind the colorful main exhibits were usually flat black and white drawings depicting the conditions of the prison as a subtle reminder of what happened there.
There was no shortage of additional churches in this city.
Iglesia Dolce Nombre de Jesus el Calvario
Iglesia Parroquial de San Juan Bautista de Subtiva
Iglesia San Juan de Dios Leon
Ruins of the San Sebastian church
Unidentified church near the San Sebastian Ruins
In many countries of a similar economic development level that I have been to, as an obvious foreigner walking around a city, I often found myself approached and followed around by aggressive beggars and touts trying to befriend and swindle me thus making it difficult to just walk around and observe the place. I did not encounter that problem here, nor in Nicaragua in general. I had become so accustomed to being on the defensive for such people I was a little unprepared when such defensiveness was not needed here.
During my stay, I took day trips from Leon to hike the nearby Cerro Negro volcano and a wildlife watching boat tour through the costal Juan Venado Nature Park.
More Leon photos in slideshow or album format.
- More Blog Posts or Photo Albums from this Nicaragua Trip.
- Maps of the sites I visited in Nicaragua: on Google Maps or Google Earth
- Tour operator/guide who arranged my Nicaragua Travels: ¡Un Buen Viaje!