March 30, 2017 (Day 9 of our Panama Canal cruise)
We took a walk through this historic city. León is the third largest city in Nicaragua and, according to our guide, it has the largest art gallery in Latin America, with a collection of over 2,000 works. In addition, it has many other small galleries and shops which cater to tourists scattered throughout the downtown area. Like many Latin American cities, its buildings are bright and colorful.
Here are some of the doors of León’s city center.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America (Haiti is the poorest). However, everyone receives free social services such as education through college and health care. The revenue for these services comes from taxes, but not income taxes, because Nicaragua does not have income taxes. Tax revenue comes from sales and property taxes.
Our guide, for example , lives in a modest house some distance from the city center. He and his wife own a Peruvian restaurant, but income from this is barely enough to live on. He told us that, for instance, he pays $0.88 from a vendor for a bottle of beer but sells it for $1.00. The profit margin is low. He welcomes jobs like this, leading tours of foreigners from cruise ships, because it is extra income for him. Whenever he gets a job as a tour guide, he and his wife go to the movies that night! Tonight they have it all planned – they’re going to see the new Beauty and the Beast.