Leon and Granada…
Both have a lot of beauty and colonial charm to them. The streets are packed and loud with music blaring from the speakers of trucks and cars. If you are looking for a chill place to stay there are some but when you walk down the streets you are bombarded by music and noise, car horns and people.
Despite all that there are moments of zen here and there. In Leon I found a little french bakery Pan Paz which had a little garden in the back where one can hide and enjoy the students and locals that have coffee and some sweet treats. I enjoyed a strawberry cake and some coffee while hiding in the shade on a hot day.
Another way to beat the heat is to enjoy some ice cream at Kiss Me…The homemade blends include a blueberry lavender and banana, peanut butter, cookie dough and carmel. This was the one place I went to twice and have to say is pretty much the only reason I would go back to Leon.
Granada is a hop, skip and two buses away. This epic hub of culture and history is also like being slapped in the face with bad trance music and a hot towel that may or may have not been sitting under the largest man on the bus…you’re welcome for the visual.
I like Granada though, despite some of the rude vendors I encountered. Thick skin is essential when travelling here as most people trying to sell you something will be pissed the minute you walk away from a deal. On a backpackers budget it is almost a requirement to make a cheap score. The cat calls are also like white noise now…as a woman I don’t care much for this street harassment but they are very much entertained by travellers who wear short shorts. Daisy dukes aside and matters of cultural differences, Granada offers a lot of sights and tours.
For a small fee and some haggling you can get a horse drawn carriage ride or a boat tour of the privately owned islands just on Lago Nicaragua. Myself and Ieva and Bek went to monkey island for a small fee of $7 a piece including a car ride to the boat. It was pretty awesome to feed monkey and go for cruise.
The other thing to do is go to the top of old church and get a great view of Granada below. We all went up to get a great view and from there also get some of the breeze on a hot day.
These colorful colonial cities both hold some hidden gems and also huge historical past (that’s a whole other story). For now I will leave it at…I am glad I made it a point to visit before strolling off to the beach. Both cities are must sees for Central America.