Granada

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Granada is the oldest colonial city in Nicaragua & the all-time-rival of Leon. It is located on the north west side of the Lago Cocibolca. Its colored colonial buildings, interesting history and relative safety make it an important tourism destination.

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Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Granada

  • There are 6 main churches : the Cathedral, La Merced, Guadalupe, Xalteva, San Francisco and María Auxiliadora, which all have interesting historical backgrounds and are in very different states.
  • Fuerte La Polvora is an 18th century fort (built in 1748) that's open for tours. A few historical exhibits are available on the main level, you can climb the towers for views of the quiet city streets, or wander through the lovely courtyard.
  • Lake Cocibolca (also known as Lake Nicaragua), is the 10th largest fresh-water lake on earth and is inhabited by Bull Sharks, informally named the Nicaragua Shark. The beach area is not the safest area in town at night and comes with a rather unpleasant smell during the day. However, during the day this is a nice place to catch a breeze, and there are many Nicaraguan families that come here to pass the time. Vendors pass selling all kinds of food. Tours of the islands are available from Puerto Asese, near the pleasant Asese restaurant (known for its boneless fish).

A bit further along the shore is the Centro Turistico, a park like area complete with bars and restaurants. It's a bit cleaner then the beach right down from the city.

  • The local market is definitely worth a glimpse, it's chaotic little market stands where you can get almost everything. The market is open everyday except holidays around and in the old Market hall, you can't miss it.
  • The Central Park with the Cathedral and the Colonial houses surrounding it. The lively center of town with a lot of handicrafts or snacks to buy, or just sit down at a bench and watch the city and its people.
  • The streets themselves with their charming Colonial colored houses are always worth a wander themselves.
  • Take a boat tour of the Isletas. Boats leave from the marina at Puerto Asese. Your guide will tell you how all the islands are owned by millionaires. You will even visit an old fort that is on the island. Not to mention you will see adorable monkeys that live in the tree.
  • Mi Museo, Calle Atravesada 505 (In front of Bancentro),  (505) 2552-7614. Daily 8AM-5PM. Private collection of over 5,000 Nicaraguan Pre-Columbian ceramics. Free.

Parque Central

Granada Cathedral

Mombacho Volcano National Reserve

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Popular events in Granada in the near future

Date: Category: The event list provided by Eventful
The event list provided by Eventful

About Granada

Activities

  • Mombacho Beach Club. The heat in Nicaragua is hard to stand, so you'll love refreshing yourself in the 60-foot pool. On top of that, it's located in a gorgeous courtyard, with a bar and free WiFi. Enjoy a range of massages from aromatherapy to Shiatsu to ChocoTherapy, or just have a manicure, pedicure or facial. Entry to pool $5. Spa treatments $9-$28. [2]
  • Rent a bike from Bicimaximo located in the central park, next to The Cathedral. You can bike to the Laguna de Apoyo or to Puerto Asese and see the entire city in one day. They even offer packages that include a bagged lunch from The Garden Cafe - $12 for a bike rental and lunch.
  • ¡Wow Tours!. Take a boat tour around the hundreds of isletas in the Lake Nicaragua. ¡Wow Tours! is a Nicaraguan owned company that offers community tours of the islands, where you will meet the local people who inhabit them.
  • Bluemountain Horsebackriding.Discover local farming and the area around the Mombacho-Volcano on horseback.
  • Go up the church tower at the church La Merced (about 1US$) and watch the sun go down over the bustling city.
  • Take a Canopy Tour, where you will go flying on cables through the rainforest trees on the side of Mombacho Volacano. ($25USD) [3]
  • Try interesting drinks at local market stands (such as cacao de leche, linseed drink or red beet drink, beware: often painfully sugary!).
  • Get happy with Mangos! You can buy heaps of Mangos at the market for about 1 Cordoba each (which equals about a 17th of a Dollar).
  • Take a bus to Masaya and visit the local and giant hand craftmarket (good advice: better see the new than the old market, same stuff, half the price).
  • Get a very inexpensive table or seated massage at Seeing Hands Blind Massage, located in Euro Cafe on the central park.
  • You can also go to the Volcano reserve and watch over the wide land, see the Managua lake and maybe get some stinky smoke in your lungs and be happy about the beautiful nature surrounding the Volcano.
  • The Laguna de Apoyo is a deep Volcano crater lake and presumed to have the clearest water in Nicaragua, you can swim and even snorkel in there. Overnight stays with either the Bearded Monkey or the Oasis are arrangeable too. A Taxi from Granada should cost around 8 - 10 US. You can alternativly take the bus to MAnagua and get dropped of at the entrance to the Laguna de Apoyo. From there you can take a taxi (4 US).
  • Local cinema at the Hostel named "Bearded Monkey", which shows two movies each day for only about a Dollar entry-fee, has a really good selection of movies too, for friends of independent cinema, they rent DVDs all day long.
  • Velago Nicaragua. Offers sailing trips, courses, rentals and kayaks on Lake Nicaragua.
  • The Choo-Choo train There's that weird train that goes all around town, originally for kids, but hey, great fun, it plays the latest reggaeton-tunes over and over again and it only costs five cordobas. Hop on whenever you find it.
  • Casa Tres Mundos (Casa de Leones),The Foundation "Casa de los Tres Mundos" is an institution created to initiate, support and promote cultural projects in Nicaragua and Central America. Besides these artistic, musical and educational activities, which emphasize support for the poorer segments of Nicaraguan society, the foundation finances and coordinates an integrative rural development project in Malacatoya.
  • Horse and carriages circle the city center.
  • Cafe Nuit My favorite disco in Grenada. Live music starts at 10 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It is a great place to practice your salsa and reggaeton.
  • Live music at Restaurant Imagine One street north of Calle Calzada, going towards the lake on Calle Calzada from the Cathedral turn left first block (right after Pasta Pasta). One of the only places playing live classic rock (unplugged version)in the city. Live music starts at around 9 PM almost every day of the week. Check the sign posted on the door daily to see who is playing. Very relaxed atmophere and great food although a little bit pricey. No cover charge.
  • ChocoMuseo. Take a free tour of the Museum learning where chocolate comes from and the history of the evolution of chocolate. Get a hands-on lesson of how to make your own chocolate in a Chocolate Workshop for $17. For the extreme chocolate enthusiast, the Museum and Factory also offers tours to a cacao plantation on the Mombacho Reserve. You also get a chance to swim in the thermal waters, see the Isletas and ride on horseback. Tour cost $65 on horseback, $55 to hike.

Food

There's tons of street-vendors, selling hot dogs, revueltas, carne asada, or local specialties such as gallo pinto (rice & beans), fried plaintains, nacatamales, bajo (yuka, plantain, beef mix). You can have it all between 5 and 15 Cordobas. But keep in mind that the standard of cleanliness can vary. The local specialty is Vigoron: cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and fried pork rind (or roast pork) on mashed yuka for C 25 from the kiosks in the parque central. Great value (provided you are not a vegetarian).

  • Las Jarras, Calle Libertad, piedra bocona 25 metros al oeste (From Central Park, 2 1/2 blocks up Calle Libertad),  8582-4943. Widely considered the best place in Granada to enjoy "frito." Chicken, beef or pork, marinated and char-grilled to perfection, served on a bed of fried plantains, and topped with salad, with optional side orders of gallo pinto and fried cheese. The portions are hearty, to say the least. In adition to the tables on the street, there's a nice interior patio with a bar. $2.50 - $4.

Budget

  • The Garden Cafe (Vegetarian cuisine), Calle La Calzada, house #450. (Across from hospedaje La Calzada and before Guadalupe Church). 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.. Twenty one delicious vegetarian meals to choose from. Friendly and relaxing. $3.50 USD $3.50 USD.
  • Pupusawa, Calle el Comercio, frente al gallo mas gallo (head south a few blocks on the road starting at the SW corner of Parque Central, Calle el Comercio, the tiny restaurant will be on your left side after you pass a shoe store with a pink awning, if you see Pali, you have gone too far). 8AM-9PM. Ridiculously cheap El Salvadorian (and some Nicaraguan) dishes. Try the burrito, as well as order a refreshing te helado cacero con durazno (homemade peach ice tea) on a hot day. Most items $1 or less.
  • Tropicana, located on the left street going down the Cathedral (La Calzada). Offers really cheap and quite reasonable food, also breakfast, typical and Western style.

Mid-range

  • Cafe Tropical previously Cafe Lucas, Parque Central. Cafe Lucas was sold in 2008 and re-opened in July 2008 as Cafe Tropical. Cafe Tropical focused on a combination of Nicaraguan, Mexican, and American dishes, with a special focus on "Comida Nica Fresca", using locally sourced ingredients prepared in a reliably clean environment, with healthy methods.

(updated 09/01/2013 by the original owner of Cafe Tropical) Cafe Lucas previously Don Daffa, Parque Central, e-mail: cafelucas@chef.net. Located in the shadow of the Cathedral. Nicaraguan/Caribbean cuisine, in addition, they have a very nice selection of Chinese Food choices. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and exotic drinks. Vernon Hodgson from Corn Island is Proprietor and Chef.

  • Charly`s Bar & Restaurant, 4 Blocks west from Old Hospital,  5522942. German cuisine and best BBC. Draft Beer and handmade Cheesecake by the owners Charly and Maria Elena.
  • NEcTaR, Calle La Calzada (1.5 block east from the cathedral),  2552 6095, e-mail: NectarNicaragua@gmail.com. They arrange the local traditional meals into tasteful and beautiful dishes. They offer a selection of freshly made juices and cocktails. Live music every Thursday.

Splurge

  • Asese. Has a beautiful location, on the edge of Lake Nicaragua, with lush foliage surrounding it and a rustic, spacious dining area. Boneless fish platters are the house specialty.
  • Café DecArte, Calle Calzada (Go one block East from the Central Park on Calle La Calzada. DecArte will be on the Northwest corner.). Offers delicious international (some organic) food and excellent drinks, snacks and meals are between 40 and 150 Cordobas, it's nicely surrounded by local art. Daily Specials.
  • El Tercer Ojo (Third Eye) (Across the street from San Fransisco Church). Offers good food, a lot of Spanish Tapas and Daily Specials in a beautiful atmosphere, Tapas and whole meals ranging between 40 and 200 Cordobas, on the side of the San Francisco-Church. Also offers art-books and a big selection of Wines. Plate US$6-12, 15% tax and 10% tip added to bill.
  • El Zaguan (on the street along the back/east wall of the cathedral). One of the best examples of churrasco, the delicious Nica grilled steak, cooked over an open grill. Set in beautiful colonial open-air garage. entrees ~8$us.
  • La Claraboya +505 2552 2775. Tue-Sun 7am-10pm. Fusion cuisine restaurant. Menu includes prime cuts of tenderloin beef, chicken, lobster, shrimp and fresh seafood pastas. USD 10-20.
  • Imagine, one street north of Calle Calzada (Going towards the lake on Calle Calzada from the Cathedral turn left first block (right after Pasta Pasta)). Offers delicious food, excellent drinks, homemade salsas, snacks and meals are between 150 and 400 Cordobas (without value added tax). There is always live music playing, usually from 8PM, classic rock (unplugged version), great fun and atmosphere. Daily Specials.

Drinks

Great drinks can be purchased from local vendors at the corner in Parque Central, such as linenseed-drink, hibiscus ("jamaica") iced-tea, or red beet drink or anything else, completely overloaded with sugar. Nice alternative: The local "Cacao" drink, milk and powdered chocolate beans, almost like chocolate milk, available in most cafes. Also "Raspados" made with crushed ice and raspberry syrup are very delicious and are usually sold by vendors around the Central Park.

And then of course, the local coffee! You have the biggest range: organic, shadegrown, fair trade...

  • Coffee La Amistad. Nice place to chill out, Steven is a big help and is full of information about trips and sights in an around town. Good coffee and Iced Tea!!
  • Cafe Lucas previously Don Daffa, e-mail: cafelucas@chef.net. "Parque Central" "" Located in the shadow of the Cathedral. Nicaraguan/Caribbean cuisine, in addition, they have a very nice selection of Chinese Food choices. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and exotic drinks. Vernon Hodgson from Corn Island is Proprietor and Chef.

Here are a few bars worth mentioning:

  • O'Shea's Irish Pub, Calle la Calzada (Green building with tarp in front of Dario Hotel). 10am - 2am. Dubliner Tommy Griffin pours a mean pint of Guinness in this friendly pub. Quiz nights on Wednesdays pull a crowd all vying to win the first prize: a liter of seven-year-old Flor de Caña rum. Large quantities of good food available all day, including what is reported to be the best Fish & Chips in Central America. (WARNING: Staff here are notorious for short-changing customers and padding the bill. Complaints to the owner fall on deaf ears.)
  • El Bar, Hotel Plaza Colon (In front of the main square). 12PM - 10PM. El Bar offers a select wine list, classic cocktails and appetizers. Outdoor sitting and indoor AC sitting. splurge.
  • Margarita Bar & Grill, Calle la Calzada (two and a half blocks down the Calzada from the park),  (505) 2552-6139. American sports bar on La Calzada right between Parque Central and Lake Nicaragua, and home of the famous "Golden Cadillac Margarita" (Cuervo Gold, Cointreau, and Grand Marnier). The restaurant serves fantastic food including daily seafood specials, baby back ribs, filet mignon, and Coney Island hot dogs all at very reasonable prices. The bar serves more variety of cocktails --and the coldest beer-- than anywhere else in Granada. Bob the owner used to run a bar in the Florida keys, so service and quality are top-notch here.
  • Mombacho Beaclub Club Bar. Mojitos, Cuba libres, and domestic and import beers offered at Mombacho Beach Club. Delicious salads, sandwiches, nachos and other specials are served
  • Granada Beach Bar, Centro Turistico, al fondo. Toward the end of the Centro Turistico, Granada Beach has live Tropical music Thursdays through Saturdays. Tons of locals come out to drink and dance the night away. budget.

Shopping

Granada is known around the world for its high-quality rocking chairs which can be seen all around town. The main vendors a bit out of town on the road to Masaya.

If you want to go cheaper, there's the option to buy local and famous Nicaraguan pottery, which you can buy in town (very nice choice: Dona Conchy's, a restaurant which also has a little sweet store in the back, where they sell very nice pottery, handmade by the owner), but the better option is to go to Masaya where there's a bigger choice and the prices are lower.

Also very typical are the hammocks, there are tons of hammock stores and factories in Masaya, but you can also get them in town for a bit more money.

  • Lucha Libro Books, Calle Calzada (3 doors east of Eskimo). If you've been traveling for a while, here you'll find two things you're desperate for: great books and real coffee. By far the best selection of new and used books in Granada with thousands of English-language books as well as Spanish titles. Classics, dictionaries and study guides, Latin American non-fiction, a full collection of Lonely Planet guides for all of the Americas and much more. While there are bargains, expect standard prices for Latin American bookstores – books are import items in Nicaragua. (For those sticking to a strict budget, nearly every hostel in Granada has a book exchange.) They also sell Nicaragua calendars, postcards and postage, t-shirts, Mayordomo chocolate and other things. Lucha Libro also serves smoothies, fresh coffees ranging from drip to cold brew (including bottles of concentrate to go) to frappes, fresh fruit salads, amazing pastries, bags of dried fruits and other reasonably-priced fare to eat in (the store has tables inside and outside) or to go.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Granada (Nicaragua) on Wikivoyage.

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