Inglesia La Recoleccion, Leon, Nicaragua

Leon City

Founded by the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba in 1524, this former capital was devastated by a series of earthquakes and in the 17th Century by a catastrophic volcanic eruption. Despite this, is does have some fine examples of Spanish colonial architecture, intricately carved doorways and wrought-iron balconies.

Leon is regarded as being the intellectual core of Nicaragua and hosts a thriving population of some 700,000 people. Long rivalled by the grandeur of Granada, what Leon may lack in splendour – its cathedral might be the largest in Central America but it is white and spartan – it certainly compensates for in other areas, most particularly the Ortiz Gurdian museum.

Leon Cathedral, Leon, Nicaragua
Leon City, Nicaragua

The Ortiz Gurdian Museum

The collection of world-class paintings and works of art is housed in the original family home which was refurbished in 2000. The old colonial house is impressive in its own right – the collection spreads across two buildings and surrounding greenery-filled courtyards – but as for the paintings and works of art….
Some powerful sixteenth and seventeenth paintings imported from Spain, the luxurious realism of the Renaissance, the spare beauty of the colonial period, romanticism, modernism, postmodernism and modern pieces by Cuban, Peruvian and other Latin American schools. Big Latin names also make an appearance – Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Fernando Botero, Roberto Matta and more plus international names such as Picasso, Damian Hirst, David Hockney and Andy Warhol.

Experiences

What do you really love doing? We’ll tailor your itinerary to suit you.

Morgans Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge, Estuary Kayaking, San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado

Kayak the brackish waters of Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua

Volcan Cerro Negro

Hike the blackened slopes of Volcan Cerro Negro.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Las Penitas Beach in Nicaragua

Poneloya and Las Penitas Beach

Visit the beaches of Poneloya and Las Penitas with relentless pounding surf.

Suggested Holiday Idea

San Jacinto boiling mud holes

San Jacinto

Visit the village of San Jacinto with its bubbling mud pools.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

La Perla £££££

  • Nicaragua
  • City

La Perla is one of Leon’s best hotels. It is very centrally located, just a couple of blocks from Leon’s cathedral, the central market and close to the National Theatre and the municipal palace. This mansion has been sympathetically restored by local artisans who have taken great pains to recreate the building’s full colonial neoclassical grandeur. There are just 15 rooms around a traditional central courtyard. The upper floor rooms have views across the city. The hotel has a small pool, bar and a respected restaurant that offers a good range of New World wines.

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El Convento, Leon £££££

  • Nicaragua
  • City

Hotel El Convento is one of Leon’s most charming hotels. This was the site of the former San Francisco Convent. The lovingly restored colonial buildings and carefully maintained gardens all add to the ambience and character. All 32 rooms are simple but equipped with modern comforts. Restaurant El Victoriano has a great reputation and there is a good range of local restaurants and bars on your doorstep.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

John Faithfull

This volcanic country offers an epic landscape of smoking cones, and one of John’s recommendations is to climb the young cindercone of Cerro Negro before tumbling down a vertiginous slope of light and (fairly) forgiving pumice scree.

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