After our epic hike to Telica, we decided to use our last day in Leon to visit the city and enjoy the few city time we had left during our trip. We decided to go and visit the Catedral first. You can find on the back wall of the cathedral a small door on the left hand side – there you can buy tickets to visit the roof and the basement of the cathedral. You will have to pay 3$ per person for each. The roof visit doesn’t include a guide, but there are a few rules to follow when you arrive… such as do not walk on the domes as they could break, AND taking your shoes off. The roof was definitely a must – you can get a beautiful view of Leon as well of the volcanoes all around it.
The tour of the basement was lovely. We had a guide for this part, and she was very knowledgeable and explained us in details different areas of the cathedral. Some of the basements are currently being maintained and are supposed to be opening to the public within 2 years. Interesting thing – the cathedral has been declared a heritage building and is now being completely restored.
After our visit, we headed to the Museum of the Revolution, which is located right across the central park in front of the cathedral. It was about 100 cordobas per person to enter (if I remember this right) and our tour was around 1h. All the guides in the museum are veterans from the revolution and the war in Leon – which makes the tour even more interesting. Our tour was only in Spanish, so I did the translation every now and then to make sure my partner could understand most of the tour. The museum is very old school and is created in one of the building used as a communication center by the national guard during the war. There are paintings, photos and newspapers in frames showing the story of how the students and youth in Leon started the revolution in Nicaragua, and how it unfolded until their victory in 1979.
Our last activity in Leon was the Free Walking Tour (starts about on block from the cathedral). I usually start a stay in a new city by the free tour, but our schedule was a bit difficult to follow this time (we actually tried to take the walking tour at 9am instead of 4pm (they go twice a day), but the guide was sick in the morning and we ended up having to come back later in the afternoon!). It wasn’t the best tour I’ve taken, but I would recommend it as an introduction to Leon and its history.
This trip as also turned into a food trip – we tried quite a bit of food and local restaurants in Leon near our hostel. We tried El Bodegon (our favorite), El Katu (a bit disappointed by the paella), El Desayunazo, a local comedor and had drinks from some restaurants near the cathedral (such as El Mirador, which offers an amazing view of the sunset).