Climbing the Largest Cathedral in Central America – León, Nicaragua

Climbing the roof of León Cathedral in Nicaragua

Sometimes even the smallest of activities require a shout out. Climbing on to the roof of León Cathedral is one of those. It’s not difficult, it’s not nerve wracking, but it is a beautiful way to spend half an hour.

Domed roof of cathedral with strong clouds
You’ll experience such incredible views from the Cathedral’s roof

Like many other Central American towns, León has a cathedral in the Central Plaza. Officially titled ‘Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary’. Construction began in 1747, taking 67 years to complete. It holds the prestigious record of being the largest cathedral in all Central America. Pretty impressive! Notable Nicaraguans are also buried in the crypt, including the poet Rubén Darío.

Roof of cathedral
Stroll amongst the domes (just don’t sit on them!)

There’s a peaceful atmosphere inside the cavernous nave. The walls decorated with gigantic paintings of Christ’s trial and subsequent crucifixion. Maintaining respect for those sat in worship, I took a seat at the back and rested from the 35°C heat outside.

Concerned about the intense heat on the roof, but not wanting to miss an opportunity, I ventured up the narrow staircase. Past defunct isolated rooms and Cathedral bells. Stepping on to the roof was a surprise. A cool breeze was a fortunate contrast to the hot streets below. The white paint deflecting what could have otherwise been an unbearable experience.

Domed roof of Leon Cathedral in Nicaragua with strong clouds in the background
León Cathedral as seen from the roof of the Revolution Museum

Walking amongst the cathedral’s domes (don’t step on them – you’ll be shouted at by the guards) I soaked up the views of volcanoes on the horizon. As Nicaragua rests on two tectonic plates, volcanoes can be seen in every direction. It’s a spectacular, tranquil and unforgettable sight you won’t want to miss.

Sculpture on cathedral
A fine sculpture

How much does climbing the roof of León Cathdral cost?

Buy a ticket at the rear of the cathedral for 95 Cordobas ($3 USD). Walk to the side entrance opposite the Revolution Monument, ascend the staircase, then simpley walk around and enjoy the views.

Cathedral roof in Nicaragua
León Cathedral’s domes and I

Essential Items for Your Trip to León Nicaragua

It’s always useful to have a guide that helps you plan your travels. The Lonely Planet Guide to Nicaragua is ideal. Also available as Kindle.

If you’re travelling through Central America, then you might want a guide book that covers everything. The Lonely Planet Guide to Central America is also an exceptional travel planner. Also available as Kindle.

I have taken one of these across the world. This power strip is essential for international travel. It charges multiple items at once and takes any kind of international plug. Perfect if you’re in a hostel dorm with limited plug sockets or have a lot of tech to charge.

You’ll need sun cream to fight against Nicaragua’s scorching sun. I recommend an eco friendly reef sun cream. This means if you also use it to go swimming, you won’t be harming the underwater environment and animals. You won’t get burned either!

Save the environment and stay hydrated with a bottle that filters your water. This is ideal for travelling overseas where people don’t have the luxury of potable tap water. It will mean you don’t get sick or use a lot of non-recyclable plastic.

Get the best value accommodation in León here:


Climbing León Cathedral Nicaragua

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