Leon is one of the most beautiful cities in Nicaragua, if not in all of South America.

With stunning natural landscapes, as well as some of the oldest colonial architecture found in the Americas, this former capital city is beloved by artists, students, and other free spirits, and a favorite of travelers.

Colorful public transportation in the form of so-called “chicken buses” makes it easy or visitors to get around, and there is plenty of cheap and delicious food to be found all throughout the city, especially at the stalls near the Cathedral in the center of the city.

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Regardless of whether travelers are heading to Leon to explore the nearby volcanoes, admire the local art, or immerse themselves into the culture and cuisine, there is something for everyone in this vibrant and lively South American city, including a wide variety of fun and safe hostel choices. 

Poco a Poco Hostel

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from $9 / 10-dorm 4.9/5 Map

Highlights of the hostel:

  • Just a few blocks from the city center
  • Daily activities for guests to participate in
  • Private rooms and air conditioning available

With a colorful courtyard for its guests to hang out in, Poco a Poco is as much a social experience as a place to sleep. Visitors frequently rave about the friendly atmosphere and comfortable accommodations, which includes free filtered water.

Daily activities such as food tours or walking tours give visitors a chance to bond and explore the city together, while hammocks, picnic tables, and even a communal outdoor kitchen area make returning to the hostel feel like coming home. The super-affordable breakfasts are an additional perk for cash-strapped backpackers, as are the cheap beers and snacks.

Additionally, the presence of local staff means getting the best advice on where to eat or explore, with the bonus opportunity for visitors to practice their Spanish.

Bigfoot Hostel

BEST PARTY HOSTEL IN LEON Book on Hostelworld Book on Booking.com

from $5 / 11-dorm 4.0/5 Map

Highlights of the hostel: 

  • Pool
  • Bar and restaurant
  • Volcano boarding tours
  • Frequent parties and social events

One of the most dynamic hostels in the city is Bigfoot Hostel, where every night is a party and there’s always something to do. This boisterous hostel has a pool for its visitors, as well as a billiard table and plenty of communal space. There’s even a fully functioning bar, ready to help guests relax and have a good time.

A well-priced restaurant is also available, as is a functioning kitchen for budget travelers. The hostel will also take guests volcano boarding, a high adrenalin sport perfect for thrill-seekers looking for something unique to do while in town.

The location is also hard to beat, with a grocery store just a short walk away and bars, cafes, and restaurants all in the surrounding area.

Serendipity Hostel

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from $6 / 10-dorm 4.4/5 Map

Highlights of the hostel: 

  • Central location
  • Small and intimate, with only a few rooms
  • Book exchange

For visitors to Leon looking for a friendly and homy hostel, Serendipity Hostel fits the bill perfectly. In a central but slightly quieter area of town, guests will enjoy socializing in the common areas during the daytime and then relaxing in a quiet, clean bed at night.

It’s not unusual to see a friendly cat or two roaming the hostel or even a litter of kittens. The common area includes hammocks, ample seating, and a pool table, and the decor is simple but colorful. Helpful staff members are on hand to suggest restaurants and local sights, or to assist in booking a tour, and guests who enjoy stretching their legs can get to the city center in just minutes.

With only a few rooms available to rent at this cozy hostel, it is easy for visitors to get to know each other and make new friends.

Mango’s Hostel

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from $6 / 9-dorm 4.6/5 Map

Highlights of the hostel: 

  • Aboveground pool
  • Welcoming and colorful communal area
  • Central location

A small aboveground lounging pool and gleaming wooden furniture are just part of the charm of Mango’s Hostel. A large kitchen and a sturdy communal dining table form a clear gathering area for the guests of this cozy hostel, which focuses more on social connection rather than loud parties.

From rooms with triple-decker wooden bunk beds to comfortable single rooms for travelers who prefer more privacy, there are plenty of options for everyone at this safe and affordable hostel.

A pool table and board games are available for additional entertainment, and the staff is happy to help book tours or transportation. Best of all, there are plenty of museums and other local sights near enough to walk to.

La Tortuga Booluda


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from $8 / 8-dorm Map

Highlights of the hostel: 

  • Free computer access
  • Swimming pool
  • Football & pool table
  • 3 TYPES OF AMAZING FREE BREAKFAST: Tipico, homemade granola with bananas and yogurt pancakes with bananas)
  • Guitars and books available to guests looking to pass some time indoors
  • AC rooms

La Tortuga Booluda, which translates to The Lazy Turtle, is a great place to stop for a lazy few days in Leon. A free pancake breakfast, complete with coffee, will send guests on their way to explore the city with a full belly and a smile on their face. Just four blocks from the center of the city, it is both centrally located and peaceful.

Happy to offer Spanish lessons to visitors, or loan them a guitar to strum away an evening with, the staff at this hostel make sure that guests feel right at home. There’s even a communal computer for a quick email check or an online airport check-in.

A pool table, a book exchange, or a dartboard provide some in-house entertainment, and cheap drinks are available for purchase 24/7. Overall, all the comforts of home are available for a much lower price.

Lazybones Hostel

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from $23 / twin-private 4.0/5 Map

Highlights of the hostel: 

  • Swimming pool available to guests
  • Central Location
  • Free coffee and tea, and well-priced breakfast

An impeccably landscaped courtyard, complete with hammocks and a full-sized pool, is the hallmark of this aptly named hostel, where it is easy to spend some time comfortably lazing about. A free coffee and tea bar helps to get guests moving in the morning, along with the available well priced full breakfast.

While there’s no kitchen, staff are happy to recommend nearby restaurants for some authentic Leon cuisine. There’s even a computer room, stocked with several computers, so visitors never need to wait in line to take their turn browsing the web.

A central location rounds out the long list of perks offered by Lazybones Hostel and ensures that guests will want to come back for another stay.

You’ll love Leon..

There’s plenty for visitors to do outside of their hostels, as well. Backpackers can tour the nearby active volcano, Cerro Negro, or even surf down its sandy sides on a sled.

Visitors will also appreciate The Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, a World Heritage Site and the largest cathedral in South America.

Plenty of museums are open to visitors, including the Ortíz Gurdián Foundation Art Center and the Museo De La Revolucion.

Rounding out their stay, visitors can gorge on cheap but tasty local food, which is available all over the city, with street carts and high-end restaurants existing comfortably side by side. With such a wealth of options, there’s no excuse not to visit this South American gem.