Granada - Nicaragua's Grandest City

| History | Museums | Nightlife | Eating Out | Other Attractions | Articles | Links |

The Parque Central, Granada
One of the more famous relics from colonial times
(click to enlarge)

Set on the western shore of Lago de Nicaragua some 45 km southeast of Managua, Granada was once the jewel of Central America. Founded in 1524 Granada is the oldest colonial city on the Isthmus; that heritage adds to the charm and character of the place today

The Río San Juan which runs from the 'Great Lake' to the Caribbean is a centuries old route for traders and pirates alike. Much of old Granada's' considerable wealth was generated from the gold which passed through the city towards Europe. The Granada gold reserves were regularly sacked by English and French Buccaneers until the city wisely constructed the fortress of San Pablo, strategically placed on an Isleta (small island) opposite the city. This fortress can still be visited today and is a popular tourist attraction, as are the tours taking enchanted onlookers around the 365 Diminutive Islands off Granada's shore.

Today's Granada is a delightful town with most of the amenities of the capital but none of the hustle and bustle. It's streets are lined with Spanish-style houses with large wooden doors opening onto cool interior patios. Granada is a wonderful walking city, with most attractions within a six-block radius and the lake a 15 minute walk from Hostel Oasis.

Alternatively you can observe the Baroque and Renaissance architecture which typifies Granada from the comfort of a horse drawn carriage, which are abundant in the city center.



There are several museums and galleries to visit and, as with many Central American cities, a fine selection of churches including the cities cathedral in the Parque Central which still shows signs of the great fire of 1856.


  A relaxing drink or two in Oasis should start the night off in the right way. The bars with the best atmosphere and music are Cafe Nuit and El Club, all within easy walking distance of Oasis. Cafe Nuit has live music and El Club is the trendy bar to be seen in. These, and several other bars in Granada are popular with travelers, ensuring a truly international crowd. All bars are within easy walking distance of Oasis - just head to Calle la Libertad.

If you prefer clubbing a stroll down to the lakeside will reveal a number of likely spots, all of which play a heady mixture of up-tempo US/European music and Latino numbers.


  Eating Out
  Should you fancy a change form Oasis fayre the best breakfast spot is Kathy's Waffle House (open 6:30am - 2pm). This small café, which specializes in the "Great Breakfast", is not only popular for their tasty food but also as a meeting place for the cities ex-pat community.

In the evenings there are several good restaurants to choose from. For the best array of choice and pleasant al-fresco dining, take a stroll down the pedestrianised street known as Calle La Calzada. Naturally you can sample the local cuisine in a number of fine establishments dotted throughout other parts of the city too. For additional tips the best thing is to ask us at reception.

If you fancy something a little out of the ordinary than Charlie's serves authentic and delicious German food; something of a welcome change in Nicaragua and a rarity in Central America.


  Other Attractions
Las Isletas
Spend an afternoon exploring Las Isletas by boat (click to enlarge)

Scattered along the shore from Granada, Las Isletas, as mentioned already, are a group of 365 baby-islands formed by the erupting Volcán Mombacho. You will surely enjoy taking a boat and cruising around the Isletas, not only for the stunning scenery but for the aquatic birds which frequent the area including egrets, herons and cranes.

Volcán Mombacho and the surrounding nature reserve, declared a protected area in 1999, is a well worth a visit. Do not forget to bring a camera for the stunning scenery. The same can be said of Laguna de Apoyo, a magnificent, pristine lake formed in the crater of a collapsed volcano.

Masaya, only ten minutes away by bus, also has a verdant volcano, as well as a market famous for it's colors, smells and great bargains.



The extract was taken from an article by travel writer Kathleen Peddicord. You can read the whole article at

Word on the street is that Granada is on its way...a major international destination in the making. I've heard this before. Mostly from real estate agents in beach towns where they were trying hard to sell beachfront property. Here, the claim is more credible because it's not coming from the guys hustling property (at least not only from them). You hear this from everyone you speak with…the Granadians, the tourists from Costa Rica and Guatemala, and the expatriates who've already made Nicaragua their home. They've been watching the transformation for the past few years. They say the changes are noticeable month by month.

Granada is unique in this country. It's the only city of any size where you could live and be comfortable. Managua is bigger, of course, and offers more amenities and infrastructure. But it's not a place most people would want to live. It's dirty and crowded and otherwise nondescript. The residents of Granada look down their noses at Managua. Their city offers good restaurants, good hotels, a movie theater, four internet cafés, and decent shopping (there's a big computer supply store, for example). Managua has these things, in greater abundance (and many Granadians make monthly trips to the capital to stock up on things they can't buy locally). But what Granada has that Managua doesn't is something that's hard to pin down and impossible to manufacture. Granada has character.


  Granada Links
  Home Page Description Granada Tourist Board Lonely Planet travel guides Nicaraguan Tourist Board Nicaragua - most useful websites
  Home (escape)