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Central America Granada (Nicaragua)

Granada is the second colonial jewel of Nicaragua. Quite different from León though. Meanwhile Granada´s centre is full of huge restored brightly painted buildings, Leon´s beauty is in his falling walls washed by history and time. Granada is better kept, more glorious and also a bit more expensive. Bright yellow cathedral dominates to a nice shady park with restaurants and souvenir stands. Horse carriages await tourists on one side of the park (you can take a ride in the city or to the docks). Behind the cathedral is a Calle La Calzada, pedestrian zone that leads all the way to the lake and where there are fancy restaurants, hotels and some travel agencies. La Calzada would be fine if not margined by a smelly drain from both sides! The famous “Centro Turístico” at the shores of lake Nicaragua has lost some of its beauty (in the evening you´ll get attacked by hoards of mosquitoes and sometimes not only by them…). But the historic center of Granada is safe and ideal even for romantic night walks.

Established in the year 1524, Granada is the oldest Nicaraguan city still standing on its original place. Thanks to its location, on the shores of lake Nicaragua with the river San Juan going all the way to the Carribean, it was a target of many buccaneer's attacks. Not really surprising once you see the „enormous“ fortress with one cannon (still standing on one small island on the lake), that was supposed to protect Granada.
What here: Try the carriage horse ride. Climb up the tower of „Inglesia de la Merced“ (1 USD) to get a nice view of Granada. Check out the fabulous stone portal of „Casa de los Leones“ now called and restored by „Casa de los Tres Mundos Fundation“, visit some of the many small museums or galleries. Once fed up of culture, you can take a boat (from the docks or arranged through one of the travel agencies) that goes to the small islands on the lake „Las Isletas“ or climb up volcano Mombacho.
How to get here: Buses and minibuses come from the capital Managua (45 minutes). If you are coming from León, you need to change in Managua. If you come or go to Ometepe island, you can either take the ferry from Granada (but it only leaves the dock some days and the journey is about 3 hours long) or take a local bus to Rivas (90 minutes, 24 colones, buses leave from the market). From Rivas take a cab to San Jorge docks. If you continue to Costa Rica, change bus in Rivas to one that goes to Peñas Blancas (another 45 minutes).