Spires, cupolas and volcanoes
If you're in León, Nicaragua, make sure to climb up the bell tower of its XVIII c. Cathedral (Central America's largest). When you emerge on the rooftop, domes lead your eye to a perfectly conical volcano on the horizon; stretching out below you will be a cityscape of tile and tin roofs, punctuated with palms and colonial churches, and beyond, a landscape of active geology.
The cathedral has survived several centuries of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and civil war. Wander the streets of this university town and get to know its friendly people, going about life on this hot coastal plain between the Pacific Ocean and the volcano-dominated Maribio mountain chain.
Sit in the shade and sip on some juice from coconuts brought into town on a donkey-pulled cart. Marvel at the size of the papayas. And in the hottest part of the mid-afternoon, take a siesta...