We first traveled to Leon, a university city, north of Managua. Our hotel was originally a convent from the 1850’s but now rebuilt as a beautiful hotel. It is built in the Spanish colonial style consisting of a rectangle with a central courtyard filled with gardens. The city is also very typically laid out with a central plaza, dominated by the town’s major cathedral. Leon has the feel of an old Spanish colonial town filled with working people and students from the University. We toured several active volcanoes in the region, the town market and went to the Pacific coast for a day of kayaking around the mangroves. The beach has areas with crashing waves and a budding surfing industry. We also quickly learned that gallo pinto, rice and red beans, is served with ALL meals.