Introducing León & Northwestern Nicaragua
Steamy, volcanic and intellectual, the northwest is home to Nicaragua's best museums, oldest universities and finest churches, including the grandest cathedral in Central America (not to mention the refinery of one of the world's best rums).
Even better, if you've ever wondered what two tectonic plates smashing together looks like in real time, the Cordillera de los Maribios is this region's smoking backbone: some 60 unbroken kilometers of undulating lava and ash, from the red and black sands of Volcán Momotombo to smoking San Cristóbal's smooth, gray cone. The cordillera rises from the sweaty plains to cool crater lakes, delicious hot springs and more than a dozen peaks, five of which have erupted in the last century, and all of which can be climbed.
Bounded by more than 150km of shoreline - sandy beaches with solid surfing, to lush mangrove wetlands - and peppered with colonial towns, indigenous villages and archaeological sites, Nicaragua's northwest is one of the most accessible undiscovered treasures you'll ever find.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009