Planet Vagabond

A Bundle of Tips from Around-the-World Backpackers

Via Via Hostel in Leon Nicaragua

ViaVia Hostel in Leon, Nicaragua

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Find Your Comfort Zone at ViaVia Hostel in Leon

After spending a few weeks on the road in Nicaragua and not yet finding a hostel where we felt super comfortable to just chill, we were thrilled to wander into ViaVia in Leí³n.  With a prime location, funky and comfortable atmosphere, and bedrooms that are actually borderline posh for a backpacker, ViaVia ´s icing on the cake is the magnificent blend of cultures that you ´ll undoubtedly find mingling at the restaurant/bar in front.  Locals and travelers alike find ViaVia to be the perfect spot to have a sip of Toí±a and share  stories of life in Leí³n or life on the road.

When we landed at the bus terminal on the northeast corner of town, we were of course met by many eager and friendly taxi and rickshaw drivers who somehow knew that we were headed towards ViaVia.  We had recently splurged on a taxi from Rivas to Granada instead of taking the bus, so we decided to be frugal on our way to the hostel and started hoofin ´it.  It was only a 20 minute walk, and while I wouldn ´t recommend the route at night, it was just fine during the day.  We stopped to ask directions a few times along the way to make sure that we were still on the right track and everyone with whom we spoke was so kind and willing to help.

Best Food in Leon?

We checked in at the restaurant and were led through a gorgeous garden surrounded by super relaxed and friendly common areas complete with free wi-fi, hammocks, and cozy seating areas.  When we reached our room, our jaws dropped when we saw the king-sized bed and huge bathroom (which was cleaned each day during our stay) and even a television.

The restaurant is located in the front of the hostel, and it ´s always packed.  They ´ve got a well-priced and eclectic menu with plenty of Nica dishes and international fare, including Indian and Lebanese.  There ´s also live music on Fridays, which makes it the most bumping place in town, and the pool table brings in the locals, who will be happy to let you challenge them to a game.  The rooms of the hostel sit pretty far back from the restaurant and only hostel guests are allowed back there.  The restaurant and the rooms are also separated by a common area and gardens designated only for hostel guests, so the hostel can maintain a quiet atmosphere while the restaurant patrons imbibe freely.

A Hostel in the Center of Leon

ViaVia ´s location is perfect.  It ´s just a few blocks from Parque Central and in a very walkable neighborhood, close to all of the sights and nightlife.  Directly across the street you ´ll find Pure Earth Cafe, a 100% non-profit restaurant that serves delicious vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Definitely make sure that you ´re there on a Tuesday night so that you can take advantage of their large pizza and mojito dinner special…all for a mere 140 cí³rdobas.  The restaurant is connected to Bigfoot Hostel, which is where you ´ll be easily convinced to take the breathtaking hike up Nicaragua ´s youngest volcano, Cerro Negro, so that you can hurl yourself down it on a wooden board with a piece of fiberglass glued to the bottom.  Welcome to the only place in the world where the truly insane at heart can go volcano boarding!  And two doors down from ViaVia is Green Pathways, an eco-friendly tour company where you can book a tour in Leon or the surrounding areas or buy your tickets for the next leg of your trip on the Tica Bus.

ViaVia ´s location and atmosphere make it the perfect place to meet travelers or locals and the perfect place to party or chill. With this excellent experience, we quickly found our way to ViaVia in Copan Ruinas, Honduras. Fully recommended!

Vagabond: Jess

I was always content with my family's definition of vacation: the 6 hour drive north to the old A-frame house on Butternut Lake in northern Wisconsin, where we swam in freezing waters and swatted mosquitoes for a week. I didn't fly in a plane until I was 18. But an image of turquoise waters has always been skimming the surface of reality, wooing me to come play... At Victor's first delightfully perilous introduction that he was "dangerous" and had itchy feet, I knew I had found my man and that adventures were on the horizon... I still love Butternut, too.

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