Granada

Granada Department. Nicaragua.

Inspiration

The only regret we have is that we only spent 3 days here. – To Eatch Their Own

When we were planning our trip to the Corn Islands, we knew we would have to travel via the capital city of Managua, on mainland Nicaragua. We felt we would regret it if we flew directly to the islands and did not experience at least some of the mainland first, so we decided to find someplace to spend a few days before we flew out. We didn’t particularly want to stay in Managua, but we wanted to be somewhat close to airport so that we could spend some quality time in a place but not spend a lot of time in transit. We settled on Granada and the only regret we have is that we only spent 3 days there.

Why we picked It

We picked Granada because we knew we had limited time on the mainland and we wanted to find a place that encompassed all that Nicaragua was. The history and culture, not to mention immense beauty, of Granada made it an obvious choice.
Located on Lake Nicaragua (or Lago Cocibolca), Granada is considered Nicaragua’s most important city and was actually named after the Spanish Granada. Many of the colonial structures and landmarks have survived numerous invasions by pirates that sailed up the San Juan River looking to take control of Nicaragua.

We picked Hotel Granada because it was located within walking distance from the Parque Central and Lake Nicaragua. It was also everything we were looking for in a hotel in Granada, totally in line with the colonial theme of the city. It is also located in Avenia la Calzada, right across from the breathtaking Guadalupe Church. Seeing this church at night with the lights shining on it just right is a photographer’s dream. Once we checked into our room, we made our way to our room; key in hand. In the middle of what we can only describe as an atrium with rooms on all sides, was a long fountain surrounded by a beautiful garden. Such an awesome sight to see first thing in the morning, as well as the last thing of beauty to see each night. We dropped our bags in the room and went off to explore.

What We Loved

Granada is located roughly 25 miles from Managua, so we hopped in a C$40 cab and off we went. When we arrived in Granada, the first thing that struck us was the beautiful, colonial architecture, followed by the vibrant colors of the buildings. As our cab wove through the streets en route to our hotel, our excitement to explore this city grew by the second. When we arrived at Hotel Granada where we had booked our 2 night stay, we knew that we had made the right decision in making Granada our mainland stopover in Nicaragua. (Side note, Jeron dropped his passport as he was exiting the cab. After a few hours of lamenting a ruined trip and stressing about getting to the Embassy, the hotel front desk notified us that our cab driver had found the passport and would make the drive the next day to return it in exchange for the C$40 fare. We were more than willing to pay double that just to have it back, but it is just a testament to the character of the people we encountered in Nicaragua.)

Avenia la Calzada (Carriageway Road) is where Hotel Granada is located and where we spent most of our time. Littered with tons of bars and farm-to-table restaurants with just about any cuisine that you can think of. Grab a Guinness at O’Shea’s Irish pub, great atmosphere. The local beer in Nicaragua is called Tona which is a Pale Lager. You can find tons to do here; climbing volcanoes, coffee plantations, ziplining, boat tours, cloud forests, cigar making and chocolate museums, just to name a few. The main market is located about three blocks south from Parque Central. Visiting the local markets is a great way to see the local culture of any destination. We also recommend you walk down to the lake and check out Granada Pier. The cannons that were here to protect Granada from unwanted invasions are still here and the gardens in this area are beautiful. You can also get a fresh coconut in case you had too much fun at O’Shea’s the night before. All in all, this was a fantastic city that we fully plan on returning to someday.

Granada Travel Tips

Here are a few tips to make your trip to Granada less stressful:

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The Airport Code: MGA

The Airport Code for the International Airport in Managua is MGA. It is about a 25 mile drive to Granada and a taxi will cost you roughly C$40
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Bugs!!

Our advice is to take the same precautions with bugs as you do in any other Central American destination. Again, we recommend Sawyer Bug Repellant and Benadryl, just in case.
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The currency: Cordoba

The currency in Nicaragua is the Cordoba. We were able to pre-order our money through our bank, it was ready in about 10 days. US dollars are accepted in Granada, but we find that using local currency as much as we can cuts down on the exchange rate confusion.
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Transportation

The best mode of transport in Granada is taxi and by foot. If you stay near Parque Central, everything is within walking distance, so you really won’t need to worry too much about it. The city has very narrow streets, most of which are one-way, so getting around in car can be difficult, so unless you have experience driving in Central America, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend renting your own vehicle. Taxi is the best way to get from the airport in Managua and back.

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