Granada, Nicaragua

Granada in a beautiful colonial city located about a 90 minute drive from San Juan del Sur. There are many shuttles transporting people back and forth between Granada and San Juan del Sur or you could choose to take a local bus with an easy transfer in Rivas. Founded by the Spanish in 1523, Granada has a number of antiquated ornate churches and stunning Spanish-style buildings that date back to the colonial period. It's beautiful colonial architectural heritage has international recognition. Even though it was badly damaged during the 1850s while being taken siege by the infamous American William Walker, it is still a beautiful and popular city and is one of the country's main destinations for international travelers. Granada also has a large and active ex-pat community.

Granada is an excellent home base for visiting some of the Nicaragua's more interesting attractions, including viewing and/or climbing some of the active volcanoes in the area, enjoying a visit to a cloud forest ecosystem or taking a relaxing cruise amongst the isletas. You can enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Cocibolca (also called Lake Nicaragua) by strolling along the lengthy and shaded lakeside park.

It's also fun to explore the city, either by foot or horse drawn carriage. Like most colonial cities, the whole city is built around a main square known as Parque Central. This main square is Granada's social, cultural and economic heart. It is in and around Parque Central that you will find Granada's cathedral, many restaurants, street vendors, city hall, cultural centers, and hundreds of small shops and stalls which are dedicated to the sale of traditional food and hand crafted goods. To the west of the main square, you will find the congested but interesting central market. It is here that you will find clothing, house supplies, fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, cheese and meat.

Make time for a stroll down 'La Calzada' Avenue, which which runs from Parque Central to the lake. This avenue is lined with large colonial houses known as "casonas" and old churches. It also has many open air patios where you can enjoy a meal or just a drink. Granada has many excellent and well priced restaurants. Restaurant prices tend to be slightly less expensive in Granada than in San Juan del Sur.