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Review: Leon

City/Town/Region/Island

Nicaragua

Colonial Leon & the Bubbling Mud Pots

  • By SilverTraveller coolonespa

    208 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • Nov 2012
  • Wife

171 people found this review helpful

This was an excursion organised by Holland America Line. The ship docks at Corinto Nicaragua & our guide & driver greet us at the air conditioned coach. His informative & amusing dialogue throughout the journey means the hour to the mud pots passes quickly. The guide's enthusiasm & passion for his country is infectious & his humble gratitude plus light manner sooth the apprehensions of anyone who is anxious at visiting his country with a somewhat violent history. He briefs us on what to expect at the Mud Pots, namely that it's Saturday & there will be plenty of children there who will take the opportunity to greet us, practice their English & possibly even give us a gift of a clay pot. I'd read reports of hoards of begging children that you needed to push your way through to get to the Mud Pots but this isn't the case. The children were polite, humble & not at all pushy. Yes we did get a pot & yes we did give them a dollar but politely refused all other pots, so that part was no issue at all. Set to the backdrop of the various volcanoes that are dotted around the region, the largest being San Cristobal, the San Jacinto Mud Pots bubble & steam as evidence of the immense geothermal activity going on underground. The steam given off has a sulphurous smell to it & the visit is not recommended for people with respiratory or heart problems. In itself the few pits that house the water & mud that the gasses bubble through is not a spectacular site in itself but a small reminder of the power that lies underground & the violent potential of the volcanoes, one of which sits quietly steaming in the background. There are bathroom facilities, refreshments & souvenirs here if required. It's back on the coach then for the short trip to Leon, the bustling ex capital. The focal point at Leon is the central square & La Asuncion Cathederal. Unfortunately the square was closed for renovation when we were there, as was the 3rd floor of the Cathederal. There are a couple of interesting churches to see & you can go up to the 2nd floor of the Cathederal for excellent views of Leon, the volcanoes in the distance, the domed roof & the bells of the Cathederal itself. The town retains its colonial style & there is a market & street vendors. Plenty to see in the short time we were in Leon. I believe that Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the world behind Haiti & the poverty is evident as you move about. Having said that the tours are tightly controlled & at no point did I feel threatened or uncomfortable, so I was glad I took the opportunity to see some of this part of central America.

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Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Holland America Line

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