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Leon is not particularly dangerous even at night, so go ahead and walk around a bit. Most of the city is dimly lit, but occasionally there are lighted buildings. Be careful of fast traffic in the narrow streets.
Updated Feb 11, 2013
Local crafts, as well as massive amounts of cheap Chinese imports, are sold by vendors inside the Central Market. Not so impressive from streetside, so what makes Leon's market interesting is the inside courtyard setting and mahogany ceilings for many of the vendors. This market with within a block of the cathedral. Back on the street, take in a great view of Iglesia Del Calvario along Calle Central.
Written Feb 11, 2013
Roughly 20 km west of León on the Pacific coast are the beaches of Poneloya and Las Peñitas. While Poneloya has long been popular with wealthy Nicaraguans who have luxury beachfront villas here, the nearby Las Peñitas is a wide sandy beach stretching for about 4 km, fronted by small hotels, bars and restaurants, and with a small fishing village behind. Here people are living their traditional life as fishermen and the environment is quiet and nice. There are not many tourists yet who have found this quiet and nice place to spend their holidays. You have long empty beach to walk and swim, go horseback riding along the beach, and if you like, the local fishermen will take you out fishing for a reasonable price. There’s also excellent surfing, with smallish regular waves that are perfect for beginners. Several places along the beach rent surfboards and offer lessons.
Close to the estuary in Las Peñitas is Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado, a mangrove that provides habitat for hundreds of species of migratory birds, as well as crocodiles and other wetland creatures, and is also an important nesting beach for sea turtles. You can arrange a trip to Isla Juan Venado with most hotels or with one of the many boatmen in Las Peñitas.
During weekends and holidays, locals from the surrounding cities come to have picnic on the beach, play volleyball and swim in the ocean or inside the shallow bay next to the Nature Reserve. I spent Christmas day here, and boy, it got so crowded! It seemed like everybody headed for the beach that day to escape from the heat of the city. Then I returned another day during the week and could not believe it was the same place. It was quiet and peaceful, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere.
Updated Aug 28, 2011