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León (Nicaragua)

1,779 bytes added, 02:31, 14 March 2013
By bus
===By bus===
The bus terminal is about 2 km northeast of the center, take one of the trucks waiting in front of the terminal - which serve as local buses (3 .5 cord) - to the center, or take a taxi for about C$1020.
* From [[Managua]] : Take the vans leaving from Mercado Israel Lewites or the microbuses (camionetas) leaving from UCA (Universidad Centro Americana). The vans from Mercado Israel Lewites are fiteen-passenger vans that are fairly crowded, but not excessively uncomfortable, particularly when one sits next to a window. Buses run regularly, leaving from the Mercado every 15-20 minutes. Buses leave from La UCA beginning at 4:30am until approx. 9pm. They leave whenever they are full, usually every 15 minutes. The bus from either terminal costs C$ 4046. If you take the bus, make sure to get an expreso - otherwise the bus makes stops to pick up passengers on the side of the road along the way. The microbuses cost about 51C.
* From [[Esteli]] : There's one are normally about 3 to 4 buses they call expresso buses that shuttle direct bus dailybetween the two cities. (5:20, 12:45 - but not everyday 2:15, 3:10-the 3:10 does not leave on Sundays) If you miss it, the bus you've got to change in San Isidro on the Panamerican Hwy.There are also some microbuses that shuttle between the cities. The cost is around 70C. Please note schedules and prices change frequently.
* From [[Matagalpa]] : There are 2 direct busses running daily, otherwise take a bus to San Isidro and transfer to Leon.
The city is very walkable if you can stand the heat. You do not really need a car once there, unlike Managua. The locals get around by bicycle and walking, and if you need to get across town you can take a taxi. However, to go to the places outside the city, such as the beach, a car is convenient.
Ruletos (trucks) serve as local buses (C$ 3 4 per ride). Taxis are C$ 15 20 per person anywhere in the city before 7pm, C$20 30 after 7pm. Confirm the price with your driver when you get in because some drivers are now beginning to charge C$20 all the time, but if you insist they'll usually agree to C$15.
==See==
==Do==
* '''SONATI''' is an environmental-education non-profit organization, which also offers volcano treks to the nearby Maribios volcanic chain (incl. treks to Telica, Momotombo, San Cristobal, Cerro Negro, Cosiguina, Las Pilas/El Hoyo volcanoes [and others, depending on demand]). They also offer volcano boarding trips to Cerro Negro and mangrove forest swimming/kayaking tours, and in around September to February turtle nesting/hatching trips as well as bike tours to lesser known parts of the city. All profits from tours go to environmental projects.
SONATI also organizes several environmental education activities every week catered to local Nicaraguan children, and travelles are invited to join the activities for free. They are located 3 blocks north, 1/2 block east of the cathedral. There are several volunteer positions available if you're keen on spending some time in Leon. Located one block north of Recolecion church and half a block east.
 
* '''Quetzaltrekkers Nicaragua''' offers non-profit volcano Treks. They are located just around the corner from ViaVia and Big Foot. Same as Quetzaltrekkers Bigfoot offers excellent value Volcano Boarding trips with an English speaking guide. Rumor has it that they will be commencing climbing Nicaraguas Tallest volcano, San Cristobal.
* [http://www.laislafoundation.org La Isla Foundation] is a non-profit organization, which offers accommodation for more than affordable price, various volunteering opportunities focusing on chronic kidney disease, which is abundant in this region, Spanish, yoga, and salsa classes, and different local tours. The funds from the Spanish school, local tours, and adventure tours throughout northwestern Nicaragua are used to help fund their projects in the communities they support. '''Address:''' from the main Cathedral 3 blocks north, and 10 meters east, '''phone:''' 505-2315-1261, '''hours:'''Mon-Fri 9 am - 5pm. * '''[[Poneloya ]] and Penitas [[Las Peñitas]] beaches'''. Be careful once there though, not of the people, who are just as friendly as in León, but of the surf. The waves are large and quite fun, but watch out for the currents. The surf claims a victim or two every year, including the young and fit. There The beaches are less than 20 kilometers away. In [[Poneloya]] there are accommodations from hotel Lacayo, old and historic, all wood structure, to Hotel Poneloya, recently refurbished rooms w/ a/c across the street. They have upgraded For an off the beds, famous for uncomfortable before. Stillbeaten path experience try Surfing Turtle Lodge in [[Poneloya]], across the rooms have no real windows. Rooms were $25 dollars a night "bocana" (they built some new rooms which I did not look at. There are better hotels river mouth) in Penitas. Try the Hotel Suyapa Beach (885-8345)Isla Los Brasiles. Rooms are a bit more expensive but well worth it if you have the money (still less than $60). They have a pool and a popular beachside restaurant. Besides hanging out at the beach, there's a billiard hall popular with locals at the end of the paved road in Poneloya (though at night it gets a little rowdy as locals get drunk on Lijon - (cheap sugar cane liquor), and rustic restaurants past the billiard hall, and lots of Flor de Caña rum. There is also a Catholic Church in Poneloya in case you need to make atonement for what Flor made you do. Buses depart from the road "El Mercadito de Subtiava" to Poneloya on the outskirts of town (by Subtiava), they are quite affordable. Splurging on a taxi is also an option (C$150 to $250 C250 depending). The beaches In [[Las Peñitas]] Try the Hotel Suyapa Beach (885-8345). Rooms are a bit more expensive but well worth it if you have the money (still less than 20 kilometers away$60). They have a pool and a popular beachside restaurant. [[Las Peñitas]] is a well known tourist destination with a lot of options for hostels.
* Catch a '''baseball game''' if you are there during the season. The Leónes won the championship in 2004 and are perpetual contenders. For fifty cordobas you can sit right behind home plate, or pay less for 3rd base side where the lively crowd sits with the unofficial band. Order some vigoron, get a Victoria and enjoy. If Chinandega is visiting, it can get quite rowdy and tickets sell out. The stadium is in the northern part of the city.
* '''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 directionsbut becareful as muggings have been reported.
*<do name="NicAsi Tours" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">At Asi tours you can do social cultural activities. Recommended is , for example the Cooking cooking workshop: starts with , which proceeds from buying the ingredients at the local market, then to creating your own tortillas at the local tortilleria and then going to a local family household to cook your Nicaraguan dish. Other tours are e.g. include a history tour, cowboy for a day and other workshops. Animal lovers may want to avoid this company as they also promote Rooster Fightsrooster fights.</do>
==Learn==
You also can get excellent classes with private teachers, which actually is much cheaper.
 
*<learn name="La Isla Foundation" alt="Fundacion La Isla" address="La Perla Hotel, 50 m North, 30 m West" directions="La Perla Hotel, 50 m North, 30 m West" phone="505-2315-1261" url="www.laislafoundation.org" hours="M-F 9 am - 5pm" price="Variable" lat="" long="">The only NGO in Leon that has a Spanish school. The La Isla Foundation was created to find a solution to the Chronic Kidney Disease epidemic currently affecting families and communities outside of Leon. The funds from the Spanish school, local tours, and adventure tours throughout northwestern Nicaragua are used to help fund their projects in the communities they support.</learn>
==Work==
There are free-of-charge volunteer opportunities with Quetzaltrekkers [http://www.volunteer-nicaragua.org] an organisation raising money for street kids by offering hikes to volcanoes around León. You can volunteer as a hiking guide for a minimum of three months.
Sonati- [http://wwww.sonati.org] Free volunteering guiding treksalso offers volunteer positions such as environmental education, art, teaching English, working in hostel reception doing environmental activities. All proceeds from , and guiding treks and hostel go tours. They are sometimes able to providing provide free environmental activities. Minimum time is one to threee months depending on activiityroom for some volunteers.
Las Tias - the supported organization - also takes volunteers, taking care of the streetkids, with a two months minimum.
Ask around at the cafe run by "Edad de Oro", whether this organisation got some (volunteer) work for you - they're pretty cool too.
Some people find work at the Big Foot Hostel, and for long-term visitors (6 month or so) it's sometimes possible to teach English. The university is a good contact.
==Buy==
===Budget===
* <sleep name="Big Foot Hostel" alt="" address="" directions="1 block east of '''Casa Vieja''' is rumored to be the cathedral, then 1 and a half blocks north" phone="+50589178832" url="http://www.bigfootnicaragua.com/hostel.html" checkin="" checkout="11AM" price="Dorms US$6, privates US$15" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Kitchen, DVD system, modest swimming pool, barcheapest accommodation in town 65C in dorm, populated by street vendors and pool table, all set in a garden courtyard. The kitchen is welldown-equipped except for good cutting knives, forks or bowls. 5 dorms with 8 beds each with large lockers for each & 5 private rooms. A note for budget travelers: staff on duty to enforce -the strict no-outside-alcohol policyground travelers. </sleep>
* '''Casa Vieja''' is rumored to be the cheapest accommodation <sleep name="Lazy Bones" alt="" address="[email protected]" directions="Two and a half blocks north of Parque Ruben Dario" phone="(00 505)-23113472" url="http://www.lazyboneshostelnicaragua.com/" checkin="" checkout="11 AM" price="Dorms US$8, privates w/o bath US$20, private w/bath US$30" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Opened in town 65C December 2006. Clean with real beds and pillows. Included in dormthe price are : internet access, populated by street vendors coffee and down-to-tea, pool table and a swimming pool for hotel guests only. Check out the-ground travelersmural. No kitchen access.</sleep>
* <sleep name="Lazy BonesSonati" alt="" address="[email protected]" directions="Two From NE corner of Cathedral, 3 blocks Northward and a half blocks north of Parque Ruben Dario½ block eastward" phone="(00 505)-231134722311-4251" email="" fax="" url="http://www.lazyboneshostelnicaraguasonati.com/org" checkin="" checkout="11 AM" price="Dorms USfrom $85, privates w/o bath USfrom $20, private w/bath US$30" lat="" long="" email="" fax="10">Opened New hostel, opened in 2009, in December 2006 and the newest hostel center of Leon where you can experience the sound of nature, relaxing in one of the hammocks in Leónthe garden where beautiful hummingbirds come to feed. Super Friendly, peaceful and clean with real beds hostel, a perfect place to enjoy the old colonial city of Leon and pillowsmeet like minded travelers. Included in the price are : internet accessBig kitchen, new mattresses, coffee and teafree wi-fi, pool tablefree use of computer, DVD library and free coffee. SONATI is a swimming pool not-for hotel guests only-profit organization with a social and environmental vision which carries out several educational activities. Check out Promoting long-term self-sustainable environmental-educative activities is the mural. No kitchen accessmost important mission. The hostel is the financial base to achieve this goal, along with some of the volcano treks and other outdoor activities on offer</sleep>
* <sleep name="SonatiLa Tortuga Booluda" alt="" address="" directions="From NE from the SW corner of Cathedralthe central park, 3 .5 blocks Northward and ½ block eastwardwest" phone="505311-2311-42514653" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="http://www.sonatitortugabooluda.orgcom" checkin="" checkout="" price="Dorms from Dorm: US$7, private: US$512, privates from with private bath: US$1120"> New hostelAC optional, opened in 2009, in the center of Leon where you can experience the sound of nature, relaxing in one of the hammocks in the garden. Friendly, tranquil free Internet and clean hostel, a perfect place to enjoy the old colonial city of Leon and meet like minded travelers. Big kitchen, new mattressesWifi, free Internetpancake breakfast, free coffee and a big garden, etc. SONATI is an organization with a social and environmental vision which carries out both profit and non-profit activities. Promoting long-term self-sustainable environmental-educative activities is the most important mission. Thehostel is the financial base to achieve this goalbook exchange, bike rentals.</sleep>
* <sleep name="La Tortuga BooludaBig Foot Hostel" alt="" address="" directions="from the SW corner 1 block east of the central parkcathedral, 3.5 then 1 and a half blocks westnorth" phone="311-4653" email="[email protected]" fax="+50589178832" url="http://www.tortugabooludabigfootnicaragua.com/hostel.html" checkin="" checkout="11AM" price="Dorm: Dorms US$76, private: privates US$12, with private bath: US$2015" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">AC optionalKitchen, free Internet and WifiDVD system, modest swimming pool, free pancake breakfastbar, free organic coffeeand pool table, book exchangeall set in a garden courtyard. The kitchen is well-equipped except for good cutting knives, bike rentalsforks or bowls. 5 dorms with 8 beds each with large lockers for each & 5 private rooms. A note for budget travelers: staff on duty to enforce the strict no-outside-alcohol policy and it may get a bit noisy at night.</sleep>
* <sleep name="ViaVia" alt="" address="" directions="1 block east of the cathedral, then 1 and a half blocks north" phone="2311 6142" url="www.viaviacafe.com" checkin="" checkout="11am" price="Dorms US$6 , privates US$18" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]" fax="">Has a popular restaurant/cafe. In the back there is a brand new hotel with 2 dorm-rooms and 6 well-kept private rooms with private bathroom. ViaVia's Bert Teuwen will respond to emails saying "We do NOT charge extra for towels" (Oct 20, 2011), which is another way of saying they DON'T provide towels at all for free or otherwise. ViaVia emails also claim discounts for staying three nights or nothing, which is untrue. Staff at the location speaks little or no English.</sleep>
* Hostel D´Oviedo is located in the heart of Leon and is more like a bed and breakfast than a hostel. A lovely Nicaraguan couples have converted their home into a hostel. The prices vary depending upon the room. Matrimonial suite with private bathroom, fan and cable: 20 dollars per night. Dorm room with separate bathroom and fan: $8 dollars per person. Matrimonial suite with a single bed for a child, fan, tv, separate bathroom: $18 dollars per night. Breakfast and really fast internet are included. Guests are also allowed to use their kitchen. Directions: Go to park central in the center of the city next to the main cathedral. Find Theatre Gonzalez and walk south 2.5 blocks. It’s very close to Hostel Clinica. As well, the owners have 2 sons who are dentists. If you need any cheap work done on your teeth ask the owner. Prices for the rooms and for dental work are negotiable. Phone: 2311 3766 *[http://www.surftheboom.com'''Nicaragua Surf Cabin''']<do name="" alt="" address="Aseradorres, Chinandega region" directions="45 mins drive north of Leon, 2 hours by bus)" phone="" url="www.surftheboom.com" hours="" price="$8-$12 (total price for cabin)" lat="" long="">Great little rustic cabin on 2 acre plot near some awesome surfing beaches. Two free bikes to use. Inexpensive meals organized by friendly local neighbors. Practice your Spanish. Kick back and relax in this super tranquilo setting.</do>
===Mid-range===
==Contact==
contact Sonati Hostel and tours for city and tour information.
1 block north of recoleccion church and half a block east.
==Get out==
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