Although I planned differently, my first real stop in Nicaragua was finally Granada. Granada is one of the oldest cities in America. Founded by the Spaniards in 1524, the city is world famous for its colorful colonial architecture and atmospheric cobblestone streets. The most beautiful area is the Cathedral Square and the streets around it. I dedicated 1 full day to walk and explore the city and I think that 1-2 days is the right amount of time to enjoy what the city has to offer. If you have only few hours, the local market’s vibrant atmosphere and the view from the top of Iglesia de la Merced‘s bell tower should be on your must list.
I also enjoyed Granada’s cemetery with its white sculptures. It is here where the latest Nicaraguan presidents are buried in a common pantheon, escorted by two national flags. This place is not on a guide book and it is a little bit far from the centre but it was worth the 30 min walk.
Being Granada one of the top 5 places to visit in Nicaragua there are eating options for every taste. I had a great pizza at Mona Lisa, ate good fish & chips at the Irish Pub but I also enjoyed a good local meal (and atmosphere) at one of its “comedores” for half price. If it is too hot to walk, a coffee break under the trees’ shade at Parque Central is also a good chance for some people watching.
ENDLESS OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AROUND THE CITY
In addition, there are endless outdoor activities around Granada. I chose a couple of unique activities, difficult to find in other places: kayak on a laguna located inside a volcano crater and a night tour to see Masaya Volcano spitting lava directly from the Earth’s entrails. I had hiked a couple of active volcanoes in the past but I had never seen lava flowing like this, it was very impressive!
After some beautiful days spent in Granada it was time to head to Managua to take my flight to Corn Island. Next chapter: the Caribbean Sea!