BootsnAll Travel Network

Leon and Granada

From San Juan del Sur I travelled up to Granada.  Although it seemed like a very nice colonial city I ended up spending only 1 day there.  I enjoyed exploring the city but within the city itself there isn´t really that much to see and do.  I was there at the weekend and it seemed very quiet, so as I´m getting short of time I decided to move on to Leon.
Leon is another colonial city with some impressive buildings and a very interesting political history.  I spent a day looking round the city and went to the museum of the revolution where I had a good guide who explained all the recent political history of Nicaragua.  I found it really interesting to listen to the stories of someone who had lived through a lot of it and seen the changes happening. 
I also visited Leon Viejo, the original city that was founded by the Spanish but destroyed less than 100 years later by an earthquake, and had been covered with volcanic ash so it was only rediscovered about 50 years ago.  It was an interesting place to visit and the site itself was just a really nice place to wander around, by the lake beneath the volcano.
The following day I went on a 2 day hike with a charity called Quetzaltrekkers.  They organise hiking trips for tourists and use the money for that to fund various projects working with the local communities to help street kids, improve education etc.  I really enjoyed the couple of days I was with them, the volunteer walk leaders were really good, the hike itself took us to some very nice places and the other people in the group were all really nice.  It was an early start the first day, we had to meet at the office at 4am, to get organised and get the bus to the start of the walk.  First we climbed Cerro Negro, an active volcano that first erupted in the 1800s so is very new.  One of the most amazing parts of the walk was when we walked down into the crater, there wasn´t actually any lava, but some amazing rock formations and a lot of steam vents, a very strange landscape.  From the top of the crater we literally ran down the side of the volcano, so although it took about 45 minutes to climb up, it took about a minute to get down again.  We then climbed another volcano, El Hoyo which also had some impressive features that were really interesting to see.  We camped on the side of the volcano and enjoyed a nice night here.  Cooking on the steam fumaroles was good fun.
THe following day we got up to see sunrise over Volcan Momotombo and Lago Managua.  It was a hot and steep walk down from the volcano to another lake where we spent a couple of hours cooling off and having lunch, before getting the bus to Leon.
In the evening there was a big parade through the city and fireworks to celebrate the religious festival of the Virgin de la Mercad.  This was good to see, then I had a much needed early night to recover from the last few early mornings.

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