Tortugas and Art

Centro de Arte Fundación Ortiz Gurdian, Léon (Nicaragua)

Not far away from the central square of León, Nicaragua, you can discover a rather unexpected pleasure, the Centro de Arte Fundación Ortiz Gurdián. Next to the San Francisco church you can enter a large and well-maintained art museum. It is a private museum financed by two private entrepreneurs and art collectors. Inaugurated in the year 2000 it is today often seen as the best museum for contemporary art in Central America.

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Museo de la Revolucion, Léon (Nicaragua)

Nicaragua is a country that isn’t on screen in Europe and that young people here don’t know much about. That was totally different in 1979 when the Nicaraguan revolution succeeded and dictator Somoza had to leave the country. In the following years Nicaragua became a left-wing utopia, many people were dreaming of a better life in a Latin American socialist paradise. From all over the world volunteers came to Nicaragua to help rebuilt the country.

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White cathedral

Real e Insigne Basílica de la Asunción de la Bienaventurada Virgen María, Léon (Nicaragua)

At the central square of León, Nicaragua, you’ll find the Real e Insigne Basílica de la Asunción de la Bienaventurada Virgen María – the Baroque style cathedral completely painted in white to protect against the sun. It was finished in the year 1860 and is today a UNESCO world heritage site. The cathedral is beautifully decorated outside and inside; it contains an impressive large Way of the Cross and is the burial place for several important poets, including the famous Rubén Darío.

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Chickenbus experience

Chicken Bus, Léon (Nicaragua)

What happens to old US school busses? They get sold and receive a second life in Latin America. There they are repainted and receive a religious statement as an inscription in the front. From now on they tour through countries like Nicaragua on fixed routes, but without determined stops and vaguely known schedules. Every now and then people enter to sell food and drinks, beauty products or even livestock – maybe that is the reason for the local name: chicken bus.

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Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado, Las Peñitas

The Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado is a nature protection zone close to Las Peñitas, Nicaragua. Rivers running in parallel to the beach create a long-stretched island that is used by an endless number of turtles to lay their eggs. Along the rivers you’ll find a vast mangrove forest that gives a home to many different species; lots of birds, iguanas, crabs, fishes jumping out of the water to hunt insects and crocodiles.

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Fishermen‘s village

Playa, Las Peñitas

Where do the inhabitants of León, Nicaragua, go to if they need some time off at the beach? It is most probably Las Peñitas – a fishermen’s village located just twenty kilometers (or one hour in a chicken bus) from León. It is named after the rocks spread in some parts of the beautiful sand beach which is used for surfing. Along the beach you’ll find lots of relaxed bars and hotels; the sundown there is simply awesome.

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La Barca de Oro

The Hotel Barca de Oro is a classic backpacker hotel in Las Peñitas, Nicaragua. The village surrounding it is a classic fishermen’s village and when you’re up early enough you can watch them going out in their boats and returning with the catch of the day in front of the hotel. Next to it the natural reserve San Juan Venado begins and you can observe the water of the Pacific ocean rise and sink during the day.

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La Boca del Infierno

Volcán, Masaya

The Volcán Masaya is the most heavily venting volcano of Nicaragua. While the lava is continuously bubbling you’re nevertheless allowed to get up and have a look into the crater. The mountain is 635 meters high and pre-Columbian civilizations called it the ‘burning mountain’ (Popogatepe). Its eruptions have been seen as a sign of enraged gods and therefore children and virgins have been offered to calm them – not the last time that people fell into the hot lava.

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Shopping worlds

Centro Cultural Mercado de Artesanías, Masaya

Whether you want to buy some souvenirs like a tourist or buy some shoes, toys or food: shopping is different in Nicaragua and it mostly happens at markets outside. A good place to learn about this is Masaya where they have two markets, one for tourists and one for locals. But first you’ll have to find them in this confusing and busy city known for the artisan production of hammocks.

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Mirador de Catarina

Laguna de Apoyo, Mirador, Catarina

If you want to enjoy the best view on the Laguna de Apoyo, the lake inside a former volcano crater west of Granada, you’ll have to visit the Mirador de Caterina. It belongs to the city of Catarina in the Masaya region and sits on top of the mountain range surrounding the lagoon. As you can guess the Calle hacia El Mirador guides you to your destination and at the end there is a paid parking area and lots of seats on which you can enjoy sundown over the lake.

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