Nicaragua’s bountiful creativity takes center stage as you tour an extraordinary art gallery, a museum devoted to the country’s most revered poet, and historical Leon Cathedral.
Depart from the pier and enjoy a scenic drive to Leon, a city in the volcanic lowlands of northwestern Nicaragua. Founded by Spanish conquistadors on the edge of Lake Managua in 1524, Leon was heavily damaged in an earthquake and later moved to its present site.
Your first stop here will be the Ortiz-Gurdian Foundation, an esteemed art gallery with an extensive collection housed in two restored colonial buildings on opposite sides of the street. One building displays mostly pre-Columbian pieces; the other exhibits more contemporary works of art. While Latin American masters such as Diego Rivera are certainly represented, you may be surprised to find treasures from the likes of Chagall and Picasso, as well.
Next, you will visit the home of Nicaragua’s most famous poet and national hero Ruben Dario. Now a museum, the modest residence contains many of his personal belongings, original manuscripts, and first editions of his books. Dario is buried in nearby Leon Cathedral, whose construction began in 1747.
While touring the extraordinary cathedral, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, be sure to notice the treasured Flemish altarpiece. The building is a splendid example of colonial architecture and features thick low towers shaped to withstand earthquakes. Later, during free time, you can explore the adjoining plaza before returning to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 3/4 hours of moderate walking, plus any additional walking at the guests’ discretion during free time. There are an optional 60 steps to negotiate if guests wish to visit the roof of the cathedral. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. There are photo restrictions at the Ortiz-Gurdian Foundation and Ruben Dario house. *Daytime temperatures in this destination can be quite high.*