The Buzzing University Town Of Leon, Nicaragua
Editor’s note: ITA Nicaragua has moved to the beach just 20 minutes outside of Leon in Las Penitas. Call your advisor about housing options in Leon during your TEFL class, or stay with your classmates at the beach. This article was updated 3/27/2018.
The city of Leon is affectionately referred to as “The Berkeley” of Nicaragua, due to it being the educational and cultural hub of the country. The central park is located adjacent to the famous Leon Cathedral, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Leon also offers coffee shops, museums, amazing Spanish colonial architecture, and a bustling nightlife scene that rivals any other city in Nicaragua. Often times, our TEFL students from the beach of Las Penitas, just 20 minutes to Leon, will go into the city for Salsa Night, and do sightseeing during the weekends.
The location of Las Penitas/Leon is within close proximity to active volcanoes with volcano boarding, and Pacific beaches with beautiful sunsets and great surfing. In Las Penitas, there are several places to rent surf boards from ($20 per day), or you can use our surf boards if you stay in our housing option at the school. If you are a beginner, no worries. There is also a surf school in Las Penitas that offers affordable lessons. Within the ‘department’ or state of Leon, there are three active volcanoes about an hour from our school by public transit. Volcano boarding is already an extremely popular activity, and is so popular in fact that CNN (“Thrill Seekers Bucket List #2.”) and Readers Digest (“10 Death Defying Travel Destinations #4.”) have reported on the activity. Leon, Nicaragua is currently the only place in the world that has volcano boarding. So there are plenty of amazing things for you to participate in if you so choose.
Leon also has a great nightlife scene to entertain the large number of local university students. There are several popular spots in town depending on what night of the week it is. La Olla Quemada is arguably one of the most popular spots for locals and TEFL students alike, and it really gets busy Thursday nights with Salsa Night. There are also several other popular bars like Oxygen, and Bohemios, and a brand new air conditioned club called El Otro Lado. The bar at Bigfoot Hostel is busy even during the slow season (March-November), with young international folks looking to share their travel experiences with others, and Via Via is popular Friday nights.
If you are interested in taking Spanish lessons, there are several schools located in Leon, and even a professional Spanish school just 5 minutes from our campus at the beach. You can also take Yoga classes in the mornings or evenings Tuesday-Thursday both in the city and at the beach. After spending some time in Leon, you will wish you had MORE free time to check everything out.