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“Quietly Impressive”

Ruins of Leon Viejo
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USD 70.00*
and up
Leon Day Trip from Managua
Ranked #9 of 17 things to do in Leon
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Owner description: Ruins of one of the oldest Spanish settlement in the New World.
Reviewed 11 April 2017

The site seems eerily quiet. My imagination always get a little carried away walking around architectural digs such as Leon Viejo. The level of energy that must have gone into building this abandoned city must have been impressive. The quietude today is broken by the song of variety of birds and the crunching of sand and pebbles beneath one's feet. Its history definitely sets the tone for what life was like in early colonial Nicaragua. The stories surrounding the city's proximity to Momtombo are colorful and fanciful (or are they that fanciful?). Taking some time to take in the sight of gently steaming. smoking Momtombo proved very relaxing. I'm not sure what local guide resources might be available; our program guide was quite knowledgeable about both the history of the city and the nearby wildlife.

Thank George H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"unesco site"
in 6 reviews
"lake managua"
in 6 reviews
"great history"
in 2 reviews
"tour guide"
in 6 reviews
"momotombo"
in 31 reviews
"earthquake"
in 9 reviews
"digs"
in 2 reviews
"nicaragua"
in 17 reviews
"volcano"
in 29 reviews
"lookout"
in 2 reviews
"americas"
in 2 reviews
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7 - 11 of 155 reviews

Reviewed 31 March 2017

Did not expect it to be so interesting. Beautiful setting near lake.
Amazing history that is not so well known.

Good guide is neede

Thank JFswe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2017

this was very interesting and has a great history. Plus you see the steaming volcano Momotombo in the background

Thank L_and_RBrisbane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2017

Oscar Reyes "Tours Nicaragua"($60) brought us 68km from our Managua hotel, La Posada del Arcangel. I am uncertain why we missed this site on our visit to Leon 4 years ago, with it's easier access.
Our 90 minute trip followed the southwest coastline of Lake Managua offering fine long views of Vulcan Momotombo, smoking from its 4,255' peak. It becomes a closeup along with its smaller neighbor, Vulcan Momotombito(2,789) from the archeological park. This site displays the 1524-1610 ruins of an unaltered colonial city(León Viejo-Wikipedia), preserved by volcanic ash. Multi-lingual guides linger at the small museum near the entrance($5 each), but we self toured the numerous foundations marked with Spanish/English explanations.
After walking the wooded enclosure with its main plaza memorial( 1528 Indigenous Resistance), we drove to the village "Mirador" with perfect lakefront views that today included a score of small handmade fishing craft and lots of whitecaps. We were back in Managua for a late lunch.

Thank Gene J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 March 2017 via mobile

It's worth the trip! If you're up for doing something different and doing it independently you're in for a treat!

Take a bus to La Paz Centro from the main bus terminal in Leon (around 18 cordobas per person, approximately 1 hour). Take it all the way to the end in La Paz Centro. There will be another bus waiting opposite the last stop which takes you to the village of Leon Viejo / Momotombo. People will know where you'll want to go so it's pretty easy. We always speak to the bus driver and/or ticket guy to let them know where we're heading. Everyone was eager to help. They even have TV on their buses! There is also a lady there selling refreshments and snacks.The bus from La Paz Centro to Leon Viejo is 13 cordobas pp and takes approximately 30 minutes. Get off at the end and they will point you in the right direction for the ruins. The bus trip in itself is quite cool as you drive through wild, dusty and harsh landscapes in which the sun is pulverizing everything! Almost like a desert, at least during dry season.

The old village "pueblo viejo de Leon" inhabits the ruins of where Leon used to be. You pay US $5 to enter, the ruins themselves aren't that spectacular, but if your Spanish is good we'd recommend the little museums. Plus the view from the hill inside the ruins is breathtaking. Wild, uncompromising scenery with volcanoes poking up in the background. Contrasting and very pleasing to look at. We believe it's good to support these projects with your entrance fee.

We spent about 1 hour at the site and went to the lake afterwards. Just take the main paved road in the village all the way to the end and you'll find yourself at the lake. It's a surreal atmosphere with local fishermen and people around. It's so peaceful and you'll definitely find yourself off the beaten central American tourist track.

We took the last bus back at 4pm from Leon Viejo (Momotombo) to La Paz Centro. We missed the last bus to Leon which leaves La Paz Centro at 4:30pm. However, this wasn't a problem at all. The last stop of the bus in La Paz Centro was at the intersection of the highway. So we just flagged down a Managua - Leon shuttle bus and payed 25 cordobas each. There were plenty of chicken buses on that highway as well. There is never a problem to get anywhere - you just need to let people know where you want to go and they'll point you in the right direction. Doing it independently is a good way to support the local economy and it's not so hard on the wallet!

2  Thank MaryLou336
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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