Granada in a nutshell? Granada is definitely a Nicaraguan gem. Welcoming inhabitants, stunning colonial architecture and safe streets grant a very pleasant stay.
What are the visits I would recommend in Granada?
The walking tour proposed by Pacha Mama is an excellent option to discover the city (English and Spanish-speaking guides; reservation needed). Climbing the tower of the cathedral is very nice, climbing the tower of La Merced Church offers an even greater view: the city of Granada, its neighboring volcanoes and its cathedral with the Nicaragua Lake as background (mainly open during working hours). If you fancy cigars or are simply curious about its production process, the Mombacho Cigar factory should be on your list. It is housed in an outstanding colonial house and the tour is thoroughly detailed, a very interesting cultural visit even for non-cigar smokers! (English, French and Spanish-speaking guides; reservation not needed, open on week days during working hours). While you can find a great selection of handcraft souvenirs in the central park, the shop administered by the Casa de los Tres Mundos proposes local upmarket items. For a nice lunch or dinner, I would go to Nicafé: careful service, various food options… and the view on the La Merced Church is simply amazing (daily, 7am – 9pm)! Another option is to head towards the Calzada street where you can find many restaurants and bars, definitely the location where you would find something that fits your mood.
… And outside Granada for day-trips?
The Masaya volcano is definitely my favorite sight in Nicaragua. Going at night allows spectacular views as the crater is enlightened by the bubbling lava. It is simply fascinating (daily, at sunset-early night). The Masaya handicraft market offers a wide selection of gifts from all corners of Nicaragua, hence an excellent option before leaving the country. Laguna de Apoyo is fantastic for a day-trip: you swim in the crater of a sleeping volcano, and nature is all around! San Juan del Sur (the Christ of Mercy statue, the surfing beaches…), Leon (ancient history and churches), Ometepe (largest island on the Nicaragua Lake consisting of two volcanoes)… are additional one-day options except if your schedule allows longer stays.
There are numerous possibilities within Granada and in its outskirts. This blog will share on travelling and tourism tips, and if you have the opportunity to come to Hotel Real La Merced, please do not hesitate to ask the Reception for advice and tour organization.
By Lena Martin