Leon as a place to live

Hello,

I am curious as to thoughts and comments about living in or near Leon. I notice at present an absence of Gringos living in Leon and am curious as to the reasons.

Personally I see Leon as possiblly having some advantages over other areas in Nicaragua for retirement/relocation. In and around Leon you are only 20 minutes from the beach (This is important to me as beach is a desirable part of my daily life) you have hospitals,universities, markets,ect.'civilization" and only an hour to Managua.

Yes, I might agree that it is not as beautifull as Grenada but real estate is cheaper and you can go to the beach for a swim in the afternoon if you want. No it is not San Juan Del Sur yet perhaps in other ways there is more "going on" just do to the size of Leon and its university amenities.

Just curious as to why gringos to date have not really settled much there. The way I see it Leon has more amenities than Rivas and you can incorporate " Pacific beach" into your daily life much easyer than in Granada.

There are people that being close to the beach is important to them. I am one of those people. Spent a lot of time years ago in Costa Rica looking around at beach areas for relocation and always felt isolated as almost all beach areas are far from city amenities (San Jose 4 hour drive away).beach areas can get boring.It seems to me Leon may have the right "Balance"

Thoughts, Comments?

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I love Leon, I bought land near there on Salinas Grande

I write about Leon all the time. why do I love it, you can read here: http://www.nicaliving.com/node/4923#comment-26538

León/Volunteer in León

True! If you don't mind the heat, León is the perfect place to settle, as you say the Beach gets very boring, unless you are running a hotel there or something like that, very different. Some folks come to Costa Rica, buy a beachfront condo and in a year they are going stir crazy with nothing to do. A combo of Surf and Turf is always the best..if you want to volunteer and help the street kids contact in León "Quetzaltrekkers" who use volunteer guides who are travelling or residing in the area, you don't get paid but you get to discover a lot of Nicaragua at no cost to you..the proceeds from the travellers are donated to the project. Anyone who requires assistance in making reservations or volunteering contact them, this is a recent Bloq on the Quetzal Trekkers:

"The city of Leon is similar to its sister city Grenada in many ways. Lots of Cathedrals, old Spanish architecture and lots of mellow people. What really distinguishes the two old Spanish cities is the many massive volcanoes set to the north-east of Leon known as the Cordillera Los Maribios.It's hard to ignore them and their presence to me was a draw difficult to be ignored.

My first stop after reaching Leon from the Managua airport was quetzaltrekkers < http://www.quetzaltrekkers.com/nica.htm> a charity that supports itself and helps the street kids of Leon by conducting volcano hikes in the northwest part of the country from Leon up to Cosiguina in the far northwest corner of the country.

Their next available hike was to Volcan Telica to the north of Leon.Telica is not the largest of the volcanoes in the area at 1060 meters but one of the most active and like a bratty little sister she makes her self known on a frequent basis with regular eruptions.The volcano is very visible from leon. Its the one with a light tan color and a well shapped cone. We planned to meet Sunday morning at 6AM to start the hike which would take us to the top with an overnight stay and then return Monday afternoon.

We left Leon by bus and approached the Volcano from the town of San Jacinto which took us through some bubbling sulfuric mud pits.Our welcoming party there were three little girls who guided us around the boiling pits in their bear feet all the while warning us about where to step with our hiking boots.The trek took us up through a high valley with gorgeous views of the corn fields and low valleys stretched out below us. Several times on the dirt road we had to stand aside for oxen drawn wagons making their way down to the main road with their loads of corn.

Six hours later after a much welcomed lunch break we came up over a ridge to a sudden unexpected confrontation with the looming,smoking mouth of Telica.We dropped down into a small valley below Telica, left our packs at the campsite, made our way up to the open lips of the beast and stared in, in amazement at the fire in the hole way- way down.The moths had finally come to the flame.At that vantage point there are also outstanding views of the valleys below and Volcan San Cristobal to the north. That night after a very fine sundown (aren’t they all),and a roaring fire to ward off the chill, I was treated to my first view of the Southern Cross constellation. Sunrise was amazing with the sun coming over the ridge, first hitting the Volcano in constantly changing shades of pink (see the pictures). In the morning we packed up for the slightly less arduous downhill hike back to San Jacinto and lunch at the local restaurant.

You can contact quetzaltrekkers at a very fine group who use volunteers as guides and help support the homeless street kids of Leon

Kevin http://www.nicastylez.com/soop/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=787&PN=1 (view the photos of Kevin's trek)

Today in El Salvador I ran into Brian Cleveland from the UK who has been volunteering with Quetzaltrekkers over in Quetzaltenanago, Guatemala for 6 months and is heading to León via Honduras Brian's e mail is l_escargot@yahoo.co.uk

This is a good deal for peersons who have basic skills in the area of eco tourism or just plain stamina, Spanish fluency not required plus you can home stay in León if you volunteer.

For more detailed information on Nicaragua and the rest of Central America and for information & assistance if volunteering e mail me donaldlee@thepolyglots.com

Travel Bloqs: http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/caguide/

http://www.trekshare.com/members/calanguagetours/

Madera's Inn Hotel and Tours, Masaya, Nicaragua & "The Polyglots" Your Vertical Portal to Travel, Trade and Language Study throughout all of Latin America... www.thepolyglots.com donaldlee@thepolyglots.com

RELOCATING TO NICARAGUA

HELLO, MY FAMILIY AND ARE RELOCATING BACK TO LATIN AMERICA AFTER BEING BACK TO THE U.S. 5 YEARS, PRIOR WE RESIDED IN C.R. FOR 10 YR.S SO WE'RE ACUSTOMED TO THE PEOPLE AND CULTURE, YET C.R. IS GETTING TO EXPENSIVE FOR WHAT IT HAS TO OFFER.WE WOULD LIKE TO LIVE AND DO BUSINESS ON THE PACIFIC SIDE OF NICARAGUA, BUT NOT FAMILIAR WITH THESE AREA'S. I'M LOOKING FOR AN AREA THAT MAKES SENSE FOR US, WE ARE IN OUR 40'S,WE LIKE BEACH ATMOSPHER, GOOD AREA FOR TEENAGERS, GOOD SCHOOLES/ HOSP., SAFE. WE WILL BE LOOKING FOR AFFORDABLE RENTAL, THEN WE'LL BE LOOKING FOR 'QUNITA' W/ BEACHFRONT OR CLOSE OCEAN VIEW, MEDITERRENIAN HOME TYPE TO PURCHASE EVEN ONE THAT NEEDS TO BE REHABED, A GANGA! OR BEACHFRONT/OCEAN VIEW LAND 2 MANZANAS PLUS TO BUILD MY MEDITERENIAN HOME WITH POOL, AND BUILD A BOCAS AND BEER REST NEAR BY. I'M LOOKING FOR INFORMATION AND ADVISE FROM THOSE FAMILIAR, ON IDEAS THAT MAY BEST FIT MY NEEDS. RENT FIRST- BUY OR BUILD AFTERWARDS.

THANKS

Gran Pacifica

try Gran Pacifica

www.granpacifica.com

real state development by an American from Prittsburg I heard.

Prittsburg?

Prittsburg is in Nicaragua?

American? Does that mean a person from and/or living in the USA (America)?

Miskito Alan &#174

Pittsburg

excuse my spelling. it happens to the best of us.

hey I was taught in elmentary school back in Nica that America covered from Alaska all the way to Cabo del Fuego in Chile, but here in the states people think America is just the USA. I disagree but we have a saying in spanish that goes something like this; "al pais que fueres, has lo que vieres", loosely translated, "to the country where you travel, do the same the locals do". Even though I was born in Nicaragua, I consider myself an American because I'm from the American continent. You see for us Latin Americans we don't make distinctions between North, Central, or South America. There's only one America. USA people just like to put alot of lables to peoples, regions, etc. it's their prerogative and I don't have a problem with it.

No Spelling Comment

I was really just comenting on the bad usage of America by the people that live in the USA (America).

I have commented on "NL" many times conerning this bad usage and arrogance of the usage of this term.

Miskito Alan &#174

LEON

I will Be going back to Nicaragua for the 3rd time, and will be looking for property in the area of Leon/ Poneloya/ Las Penitas.

I am a Gringo and have a fiance and 3 year old in Nicaragua. I personally enjoyed the Leon area for these reasons.

Many Primero y Segundo escuelas Several Universities Several Medical Facilities, including great dental offices The Culture is alive in Leon

The beaches In the Leon area are nicer in my oppinion. I have noticed in all the beaches of the south you will be constantly approached by tourist vendors, its fine. However If you just want a quiet walk down a desolate beach (you really dont want someone following you trying to get you to come to their restaurant or ride their horses, or buy their necklaces). In Poneloya and LAs PEnitas I have never been approached like this and have always just gotten smiles in the streets, the people here are Tranquilo.

A grand adventure...

Aside from being HOT, Leon would be a great place. Granada has a pointed marketing focus (in terms of real estate, tourism, and retirement) targeted at gringos. If it is one thing that gringos love, it is "point-and-click" destinations. Leon is a great place for you to be independant and get "on-the-life-experience." Leon is not unfriendly, they just don't get the opportunity to see many Americans. They are just like all Nicas - very warm-hearted, lovoing folks. I think your estimatation on how long it takes to get to the beach from the city is a bit optimistic ;-> Also, If you like beaches, also consider Masachapa and La Boquita.

Richard

Leon is great...

Ignore the anti-Leoners. It is a great city. There are only so many drunk surfers, or ex-pats on the prowl, or soul-savers, or what-have-you, which you can tolerate. Get too rural, and there simply isnt anything to do (less you like cable tv, bad newspapers, guzzling watered-down tasteless Nica beer, and expensive internet). If you want some sort of intellectual activity without the congestion of Managua, this is the place. It has a rich history, and solid economy. A good place for someone looking to live with a small business as the whole or on the side.

It might be that places with

It might be that places with gringos, attract other gringos. And, as you pointed out, Leon is not now a magnet of any kind for the newcomers. I thought the same thing as you, on my last trip. I still think -all things being euqual- Leon might have the best potential for someone looking at a place to live with a small, small business (Leon or Esteli, not Granada or Managua, to be sure). I found the people friendly, but though I am a foreigner, but not really a "gringo" and Spanish is my native language, so perhaps it is very different for me. When I was last there (July 2004) both gringo bars/hotels I visited were for sale, but I am not sure of the reasons for that. I think there are quite a few foreigners there, they simply do not always hang out together and so it is less noticable in the cafes and bars and places. If someone had a small steady income they could simply move around as they see fit; if somone needed to generate some income, Esteli or Rivas or Leon would have better prospects than the over-gringoed San Juan or Granada (great places, but too much competition in every thing).

León

Leoneses are not as friendly as the Northen Nicaraguans-I think. They don't seem to embrace foreigners with the same hospitality Estelianos do!

Impressions of Leon . . . UPDATED

UPDATE 26/01/05 (Now that I've visited Leon)

Hey y'all . . . I just got back from my fourth visit to Nicaragua. I spent two nights in Leon and have mixed thoughts on the place. PLUSES: Colonial, churches, culture. MINUSES: Hot, and at least when I was there, water problems.

I had met a young lady online from Leon and she was nice enough to guide me around a bit, but for the most part I just walked around with my Moon guide to Nicaragua and looked around.

It is a lovely colonial town. I recommend paying 10 cords to go up to the roof of the cathedral to take pictures. Seemingly there is a church every other block, and plenty of great old buildings with the lovely interior courtyards and all the colonial architecture. The casa of Ruben Dario is worth seeing too.

In my limited experience, I felt like the people did not look very happy in Leon, sad to say, at least compared to other places like Managua, Granada, and Rivas that I've been to. In talking to people though, I found them very 'amable' like pretty much everyone I've ever met in Nicaragua seems to be. Not very touristy. The few gringos I saw stood out, unlike Granada, which is crawling with them.

It is a place of ideas and poetry. The people I met are more into cultural, political action, and NGO groups and activities with a political bent than those I've met in Rivas and Granada. So, it seems true when they say that Leon is a more liberal town than Granada.

For example, the lady I saw there works for a group that works with woman in the rural areas to counter family violence and abuse. She also has an informal group that works on a volunteer basis, in this case against the Pellas group and their effects on the local cane growers (long story, but it seems the Flor de Cana buys up the cane growing land, then pumps them full of chemicals to grow quicker, then the environment, water, and children are poisoned).

The beaches are close by, and that is a plus. The Leoneses and the Managuans have a competition about whose beaches are more beautiful . . . but Poneloya was a dark sand beach, and I prefer white sand.

The biggest issue for me was water. Both days, water was off until after 7 pm. I came back all salty from the beach one of those days and that feeling of being dessicated and not being able to wash off. So, I recommend NOT staying at a hotel or hospedaje up the hill from the town center, or stay at one with it's own water tank.

But one thing is that I went from Leon directly to Rivas, and it was so refreshing to be in Rivas compared to hot Leon. That is kind of a killer for me. But, now that I've met (actually two) nice young ladies there, I will be back :)

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ORIGINAL COMMENTS: I agree with Phil that what you say makes sense as far as having the amenities 20 minutes from the beach as in Leon. I've also heard how it is quite a bit hotter up there. Rivas at least always has the breeze off the lake. It takes about 45 minutes to get from the beach to Rivas, so running down to the beach for an afternoon swim is at least a three hour journey depending on how much time you spend in the water.

I'd like to hear from someone on how they like Leon, someone who has actually been there :) (I haven't.) As a university town, there's got to be at least a semi-lively cultural and maybe nightlife scene there (think students drinking beer, plenty of cybercafes and such.)

Rivas doesn't have a major university (there's a Universidad Politecnica UPOLI-Rivas--but it looks pretty small) and from my limited experience, nothing much happens during the week, but there are fiestas and such on weekends.

Sounds logical

What you are suggesting makes perfect sense. That is, Leon seems like a decent town and all the other assertions make sense as well. In addition, I get the feeling that a lot of the Gringos in Granada hang around with just Gringos. Not what I want and not what I am experiencing here in Estelí.

So, what's wrong with Leon? If Granada (or Rivas) is Hot then Leon is HOT! For me, that's it. It is a weather issue. I like Rivas a lot but it is too hot for me and Leon is much hotter.