Granada Nicaragua Travel Guide
Introduction to Granada, Nicaragua
Home to many members of the merchant class in Nicaragua, Granada has long been the wealthier rival of Leon to the west. The presence of old money is evident here, as the state of buildings today reflects this city’s importance in centuries past.
Another attraction of this city are the many cathedrals and churches that are also found within the city limits, making this city a must for those that are fascinated by the history of Christianity in Latin America.
No matter your motivation for visiting though, it cannot be denied that Granada is one of the foremost tourist attractions in this country, and after a few days here, this will be self-evident.
Cultural Attractions in Granada, Nicaragua
There are many churches within the borders of Granada, but if you only have time for one, make sure that you explore Iglesia de La Merced. A mustard-colored church built in the Baroque Style, its biggest attraction to visitors is not its appearance (though it is a very beautiful church, in both design and in its weathered state), but for the view that one can have from its clock tower. Looking to the east, one can get a view of both the town that lies before it, and the vast blue expanse of Lake Nicaragua.
If you are a fan of ceramics, make some time to visit Mi Museo, which is a private collection of pottery, vases, and other things made from clay. The pieces that date back as far as 2,000 BC, it is a stunning find in the most inconsequential of places, making it a must-see for those that appreciate this art form.
Gathered from archaeological sites throughout Mesoamerica, it is a unique take on the history of a region that was unknown to Europeans until they stumbled across the Americas in the late fifteenth century.
While poverty is a real and genuine problem in Granada and throughout Nicaragua, there are efforts underway to ensure that the poorest segments of the society have equal and ready access to artistic expression and education.
This is the mission of Casa de los Tres Mundos, which is a non-profit society that allows creatives from within the country and internationally to volunteer their time to promote education in the performing and visual arts for those that would not have access to these programs otherwise.
While there are plenty of opportunities for travelers to volunteer their efforts to help advance this society’s mission, those that simply wish to take in concerts, dances, and art exhibitions will have the opportunity to do this as well.
Other Attractions in Granada, Nicaragua
Like many places in Nicaragua, the peaks that loom over the settlements throughout the country are volcanic in origin. Granada is no exception to this rule, as the Mombacho Volcano lords over the city in an ominous fashion.
While all seems peaceful today, this mountain is not extinct; it just hasn’t erupted since the late sixteenth century. While low-level volcanic activity percolates every so often, it is safe most of the time to go on expeditions that take adventurous travelers up the side of the mountain and into the cloud and dwarf forests that await at the higher elevations of this mountain.
When Mombacho Volcano blew its top in the sixteenth century, it ejected massive rocks and boulders into the atmosphere, many of which landed in Lake Nicaragua. The heaviest ones tumbled down into the lake near the summit but just shy of Granada, leaving Islands in its wake due to heavy deposition.
Today, with well over 300 years that have passed since this massive geological event, the debris has transformed into what is now known as the Islets of Granada. After enjoying a delightful Sunday brunch at the Marina along the shore of Lake Nicaragua near Granada, you can organize a boat tour that will take you to many of these islets.
Some are uninhabited, others are home to vacation homes for wealthy and foreign owners, but many others are home to natives that have long made their home on the tiny islands that have afforded them the privacy and seclusion that they seek from the more harried wife in town.
One of the islands even has an elementary school, which testifies to the local community that still thrives here in the present day.
When the time comes to let your hair down in Granada Nicaragua, heading straight for La Calzada will give you more options then you can possibly choose from in a single night. From an Irish pub, to many local options that will allow you to get a flavor for what Nicaraguans prefer, the one thing that we can guarantee you is that your evening in this part of town will be one that will be filled with plenty of tasty food, cold drinks, and good friends.