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Thread: Tourist guide in Leon?

  1. #1
    Active TRN Member StickMan's Avatar
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    Default Tourist guide in Leon?

    There will be a group of +/-20 Norteamericanos that are considering a day trip to Leon on a Saturday in November. We have visited Leon previously, but often have simply spent time wandering in and around the central plaza and checking out the cathedral (if it is open) and whatever else we could find walking around.

    Plans aren't final yet, but I am wondering if someone could recommend a tourist guide, or at least someone who is familiar with the area, that could travel with the group and point out sites in/around Leon. We would arrive via bus and would have transportation between points of interest.

    As evening rolls around (5:00-5:30ish), we would want to eat somewhere within the city in a place large enough to accomodate the group size - and who is able to tolerate some of the inherent phobias ("Is this ice made with purified water?" "Is the fruit safe to eat?" "Are the restrooms clean?") that a somewhat spoiled group of gringos of this size would have.

    In years past, we have spent the day wandering in/around Granada, carriage rides, boat tour of the isletas, souvenir shopping near the calzada, and finishing with a nice meal at El Zaguan. We are trying to see if we could come up with a similar experience in Leon.

    If anyone knows of someone willing to act as a guide for a day, please have them PM me.
    "Find out what it is in life that you don't do well - and then don't do that thing." -The most Interesting Man in the World

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    We have a long time Leon resident on TRN with family ties to the community .. . .


    Are your trips open to everyone?
    I'd like to meet some of my fellow expats, and this seems like a good opportunity.

    You could become the International Living of TRN and Nicaragua, with more integrity, of course.

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    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    "Is the ice made with purified water?" reminds me of my old shop teacher who always told us to "use purified water in the customers battery, even if you have to get it out of the tap". Drink bottled water and worry less.

    Don't know you need a guide for just one day, maps are easy to find.
    the art museum by san francisco church is ok, even if its just for the architecture and gardens.
    there is another folklore museum in an old jail. Blow past the guy rambling on about somoza and see the cultural stuff. and some ruins across the street.
    restauran medteraneo might do. for a group I'd check in advance or make reservations.
    The botanical garden on the western exit of town past La Salle institute is good if you like such things and its not too hot.
    You can hit el mercadito for sea food and walk around to see indian stuff, the hanging tree, a church, and I believe a museum. Never tried the food, I've just stopped there to buy veggies on the way to La Penitas.
    If that won'y give you tired feet and sun stroke, I don't know what else to offer.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  4. #4
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    Good advice from the big fairy (goblin?). Center city Leon is small, manageable. Break the bunch into 4 or so groups and send 'em in different direction to meet later for lunch or dinner. They'd have more to talk about. Besides, congo lines of 20 gringo tourists without rhythm is an eyesore.

    I prefer two other restaurants. 'Ya Voy' is classy, top quality & affordable - for any meal. Porky's House serves some outstanding dinner dishes for dedicated carnivores. The expensive El Convento probably has the cleanest bathrooms.

    Near the art museum is the Ruben Dario museum. He lived in Leon in his formative years. Just seeing a photo of his love-nemesis (la garza morena) made it worthwhile.
    Beyond the cathedral - which is spectacular - there are many churches that are historic landmarks and architecturally very photogenic: La Recolecion, Saragosa, La Merced, San Franscisco, San Felipe. The sheer size & number of mast-pole columns (hewn tree trunks) that support these structures impress me.

    Of course there's the Pacific shore spots 20 minutes away with fresh fish, shrimp, steaks, memorable sunsets & ice cold $1 beers. Many places there could accommodate
    and would certainly welcome 20 corpulent North-Americans with healthy appetites. The biggest & best equipped is Reyes' Suyapa Beach restaurant/hotel.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy-YO View Post
    Good advice from the big fairy (goblin?). Center city Leon is small, manageable. Break the bunch into 4 or so groups and send 'em in different direction to meet later for lunch or dinner. They'd have more to talk about. Besides, congo lines of 20 gringo tourists without rhythm is an eyesore.

    I prefer two other restaurants. 'Ya Voy' is classy, top quality & affordable - for any meal. Porky's House serves some outstanding dinner dishes for dedicated carnivores. The expensive El Convento probably has the cleanest bathrooms.

    Near the art museum is the Ruben Dario museum. He lived in Leon in his formative years. Just seeing a photo of his love-nemesis (la garza morena) made it worthwhile.
    Beyond the cathedral - which is spectacular - there are many churches that are historic landmarks and architecturally very photogenic: La Recolecion, Saragosa, La Merced, San Franscisco, San Felipe. The sheer size & number of mast-pole columns (hewn tree trunks) that support these structures impress me.

    Of course there's the Pacific shore spots 20 minutes away with fresh fish, shrimp, steaks, memorable sunsets & ice cold $1 beers. Many places there could accommodate
    and would certainly welcome 20 corpulent North-Americans with healthy appetites. The biggest & best equipped is Reyes' Suyapa Beach restaurant/hotel.




    I translated it as The Big Elf

    But, FOR SOME REASON i GOT IT CONFUSED WITH The Big Lizard and that's what I've used when referring to our succulent loving friend from Estelí.No wonder I get hammered on some of the other sites.


    I really like Leon too, should be on everyone's short list. I think of it as the cultural center of Nicaragua.
    Too bad it's so damn HOT.

  6. #6
    Active TRN Member StickMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    Thanks for the responses.

    As mentioned we have been there in the past (last time was about 3 years ago) and saw some of the sights/churches and of course the cathedral, just by walking around and stumbling upon them.

    We also saw some murals and quite a number of years ago visited the old "fortress" outside of the city that can be accessed by walking through the dump.

    Some of the suggestions above sound good, but by not knowing the city and not having anyone with us that knows the city, we might end up going to the extreme west side of the city, only to find that we have to go the north to get to the next thing to see.

    Also, regarding the restaurants mentioned, can you give me an idea as to where they are located in relation to the cathedral. The cathedral seems to be a good central meeting point, so if we break up into smaller groups, it would be nice to let folks know to meet at a certain time and location relative to a known starting point - i.e., head east along the street north of the cathedral until you come to the Calvary church. Turn left and continue two blocks... or something like this.

    It would still be nice to have someone familiar with the city to act as a guide for the afternoon. If anyone knows who might be interested, please have them PM me.

    KWP, technically these are not ex-PATS as they/we are all still residents of the U.S. who are just going to be in Nicaragua for a week or more. That said, if you would like to join us for the day if we decide to visit Leon, I will extend the invitation to you now. I will let you know as we get closer to the date of which day we would be there. I doubt we would be hard to spot once you get to Leon.

    Last, some of us are planning to stay for a few days after the normal week of working in our regular neighborhood. Our plan this year is to stay at a lodge on the coast on up past Leon, so those of us staying will have the opportunity to visit the Pacific. We won't likely go that far out of Leon on the one day visit to the city.

    Again, thanks all and if you know someone who might want to "herd" a group of walking tourists (or even ride on our bus with us and tell our driver where to take us next), I would appreciate it.
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  7. #7
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    Ya Voy and Porky's House? Sorry, can't help it.

  8. #8
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    'Ya Voy' is half block down (abajo = west) from the corner of Parque la Merced (Esquimo, UNAN's CUUN & the new stalls for souvenir vendors). For the variety & quality of what they serve, the best restaurant in Leon. Plus good, cheap, cold national beers - packed with young Fri & Sat nites. Something of a sports bar - for the number of TV screens; it gets packed for big futbol events. Well-kept central open courtyard. Good service. 'Bar Baro' (gutted by fire, was the most popular spot in Leon's Zona Rosa) owned by the same guy (Carrion dept stores).

    'Porky's House' is 3 blocks North of the yellow Iglesia la Recoleccion. Portraits of pigs all over the walls. The owner is proud of his pig farm and will talk your ears off. The chef is a bearded 300-pounder. He's excellent - if he's not on the open-fire grill, don't eat there. His lechon Cubano con yuca is superb; likewise the steaks (esp. filet mignon) Ditto on the good, cheap, cold national beers. Mostly just a dinner crowd.

    Hotel/restaurant el Convento is beside Iglesia San Franscisco. A showplace. Pricey by Nica standards.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

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    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    I translate el duende grande as the big dwarf or the giant leprechaun!

    Thanx for the restaurant tips, Daddy-Yo. I'll give them a try when I am there next.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  10. #10
    Active TRN Member StickMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy-YO View Post
    'Ya Voy' is half block down (abajo = west) from the corner of Parque la Merced (Esquimo, UNAN's CUUN & the new stalls for souvenir vendors). For the variety & quality of what they serve, the best restaurant in Leon. Plus good, cheap, cold national beers - packed with young Fri & Sat nites. Something of a sports bar - for the number of TV screens; it gets packed for big futbol events. Well-kept central open courtyard. Good service. 'Bar Baro' (gutted by fire, was the most popular spot in Leon's Zona Rosa) owned by the same guy (Carrion dept stores).

    'Porky's House' is 3 blocks North of the yellow Iglesia la Recoleccion. Portraits of pigs all over the walls. The owner is proud of his pig farm and will talk your ears off. The chef is a bearded 300-pounder. He's excellent - if he's not on the open-fire grill, don't eat there. His lechon Cubano con yuca is superb; likewise the steaks (esp. filet mignon) Ditto on the good, cheap, cold national beers. Mostly just a dinner crowd.

    Hotel/restaurant el Convento is beside Iglesia San Franscisco. A showplace. Pricey by Nica standards.

    Excellent, thanks. We have a team meeting coming up next Saturday to discuss the upcoming trip. I'll pass along this information to see what kind of reaction I get.

    p.s. - I saw a picture someone posted to Facebook that the cathedral is being restored. Not sure what all that consists of, but the photo showed a lot of scaffolding and the exterior was as white as I have ever seen it.
    "Find out what it is in life that you don't do well - and then don't do that thing." -The most Interesting Man in the World

  11. #11
    Active TRN Member StickMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    Well, the trip to Leon is a bust. Too many of the folks didn't want to go, so we are heading back to Granada again.

    We plan to start the morning with a visit to downtown Managua to see Paseo Xolotlan, then to Tiscapa for a Zip line tour. Afterward to Masaya volcano, and then on to Granada for either walking/shopping in the square or for some to take a boat ride through the isletas.

    If you see a group of gringos wandering about, look for the tall pudgy one and tell me Hi. (Stickman doesn't refer to my physique.)
    "Find out what it is in life that you don't do well - and then don't do that thing." -The most Interesting Man in the World

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    TRN's fiesty redhead catahoula fan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    I'm out and about in Granada today making deliveries, and will keep an eye out for you... if you happen to see a very skinny redhead wearing a baseball cap, yell out "Melissa". Maybe we'll run in to each other.
    "Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing."

  13. #13
    Active TRN Member StickMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tourist guide in Leon?

    Just got back to Managua. Sorry I missed you Melissa.

    Had a nice carriage ride around the city, stopped at Doña Elba Cigars new shop and bought some sticks for back home. Spent the last hour or so eating a fabulous meal at El Zaguan.

    Part of our team is heading home in the morning, and the rest of us are heading up to Jiquilillo to Montys Beach Resort for a couple of days before heading back home.

    If any of you think about it this winter, send a little heat our way.
    "Find out what it is in life that you don't do well - and then don't do that thing." -The most Interesting Man in the World

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