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Nicaragua Guide

Nicaragua

From the border catch a local bus to Las Manos, then you can catch another bus to Esteli. By this stage the sun was setting and it had been a good, long days travel having started around 3 am. In the short time we spent in Esteli I found very little to recommend it. We ended up getting an OK room at the Hotel el Mesón for US$6 pp. The vendors with stalls around the plaza do good, cheap food. The restaurant diagonally opposite the hotel was a close, but poor option. The service was poor with 3 of the 4 waiters in various states of drunkenness. One would return to his drink at the bar between serving people. The food arrived undercooked and in small portions.

Catholic Church in Leon, Nicaragua

Leon

If you read the description in your guidebook you would think that Leon is a fascinating colonial city with a lot of amazing buildings. It isn't. Leon has a certain charm to it and several nice churches, some good restaurants and bars, but almost all the colonial houses are crumbling and in urgent need of repair. In some cases they have been replaced with ugly, out-of-place modern buildings.

We stayed at the LP-recommended Casa Ivana. Indeed, it is a nice, family run affair with a pleasent courtyard area. They have doubles and triples for US$4 pp. There are several good restaurants in Leon, unfortunatel, all the places that serve comida corriente that we could find were heavily infested with flies. El Sesteo next to the cathedral, with nice views of the plaza does good food at reasonable prices. The licuados are especially good. Via Via which also runs a bar and hostel does OK food and has a pool table. The dorm rooms open right onto the bar, which is fine if you are going to be there to closing every night but is otherwise very noisy. This would be one of the better places to meet other travellers. Restaurante Italian Pizza does big, OK-tasting pizzas for OK-rates as well as middle-eastern kababs. The service is friendly.

It is worth spending a few hours visitng the churches and wondering the streets here. It is more comprable to Xela than Antigua for those of you that know Guatemala, but the churches and some of the post civil war murals are especially worth seeing.

There are many internet cafes West of the plaza at 10 Cordobas an hour.

Quetzal Trekkers is a non-profit organization that does trekking to the many volcanoes around Leon. They do guided hikes and tents and other equipment is included. Good shoes or boots and a raincoat are recommended, but you do not need to bring a sleeping bag.

Mini buses run from the main bus terminal to Managua every 10 or so. They are quick and cheap, but don't have much room for packs so you may have to pay for another seat for your bags. Again, service on Sandays is greatly reduced.