Just two hours drive from the capital, Managua. Leon is Nicaragua's intellectual and cultural capital. Highlights include Leon's colourful street art and murals, the faded beauty of centuries-old architecture, an awe-inspiring cathedral, art galleries, a prison-turned-museum, and several ancient churches. The city also boasts a cosmopolitan edge with a generous mix of restaurants and an active nightlife. Outside the city, Leon's region borders the Pacific Ocean, where you can hike or kayak in the Juan Venado Island Natural Reserve, a mangrove sanctuary with a myriad birds, crocodiles, and other wildlife. The Greater Leon area is also home to more than a half-dozen active volcanoes.