The colonial city of León, founded in 1524 by Spanish conquistadors, sits next to Lake Xolotlan and the active Momotombo Volcano. A series of earthquakes in 1610 destroyed the town and then the volcano buried it in ash, earning the city the moniker "the Pompeii of Central America." The ruins were discovered in 1967 and were recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you tour the ancient city, you will learn about the early history of this first capital city of Nicaragua. From the hill where the fort is buried, you can enjoy an excellent view of the Momotombo Volcano and Lake Xolotlan. From there you’ll continue to León’s present-day site, and take in its amazing colonial architecture. The city’s grand churches soar skyward, including the monumental cathedral, which is the largest in Central America. Be sure climb up to the roof for unmatched views over the city. Lunch will be served at a charming colonial hotel; then, on your walking tour this afternoon, you’ll view the historic murals that grace the city and you’ll gain an appreciation of the important role León has played in Nicaragua’s social, economic and political development. Finally, you’ll head back to Corinto after an unforgettable day.
Travel time to Old León is approximately 2 hours; travel time from Colonial León back to the pier is approximately 1¼ hours.