Nicaragua, land of lakes and volcanoes, is just as much a land of food. On a recent four-day trip to visit a close friend living in León, I learned to travel, drink, and eat like a Nica. My only regret? That I didn't get to try iguana, á la Anthony Bourdain (apparently it's illegal).
León is a hot, steaming city in the west of Nicaragua, about two hours from Managua. The original site was founded on the banks of Lake Managua in 1524, but after a powerful earthquake in 1610, it was moved to the Indian capital Subtiava. Between 1978-79, León was also a place of heavy fighting between Sandinista guerrillas and army troops, which left much of the city center destroyed.
Despite its shaky history, these days León is bursting with students, tourists, artists, and out-of-this-world cuisine.