Granada Nicaragua Things To Do, Where To Stay & What To Eat

As travellers, we all want to get off the beaten path and visit places untouched by mass tourism. We want to find that just waiting to be discovered new destination right out of National Geographic. Nicaragua is often compared to Costa Rica years ago before the developers moved in and brought Western infrastructure and facilities. Affectionately called “Nica”, the country was thought of as unstable in the 1980s and not visited often. Luckily, this has well and truly changed and Nicaragua is becoming quite the Central American hotspot. Tourism in Nicaragua is evolving, but it feels sustainable and authentic. Just a short flight from the USA, Nicaragua should definitely be on your list to visit. You will likely arrive in the capital of Managua and should make your way straight to the beautiful and charming colonial city of Granada, less than an hour away. Granada is one of the oldest cities in the Americas and its cobblestone streets, colourful buildings and charming streets are a photographer’s dream. It is a great way to ease your way into the region because it offers good amenities, in addition to its charming character. Read on for a comprehensive guide to Granada Nicaragua Things To Do, Where To Stay and What To Eat!

Granada Nicaragua Things To Do

Granada Nicaragua Things To Do, Where To Stay & What To Eat

A Guest Post by Dawn Nicholson of 5LostTogether

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top Things to do in Granada Nicaragua

  1. Stroll the Colonial Streets

Granada Nicaragua Things To DoGranada just oozes charm and the best activity is simply wandering through the colonial part of the city. Visit the market, Parque Centrale, the many Churches and small laneways to truly appreciate this city that dates from 1524.

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  1. Take a Horse and Carriage Tour

Granada Nicaragua Things To DoYou won’t have to look too far to find the eager horse and carriage drivers that line Parque Centrale. Tours are generally only an hour, which is a great introduction to the city. Try to select a driver that speaks English so that you can learn the important history of the city. We paid 600 Córdoba’s and our driver, Salvador (#78) was fantastic.

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  1. Visit its Lovely Churches

Granada Nicaragua Things To DoThe Spanish left their mark on Granada by building elaborate churches and cathedrals throughout the city. Most of these are Catholic churches with colourful facades and stunning architecture. A highlight and one of the most popular tourist stops is the Bell Tower at Iglesia Merced. For $1 you can climb the steps for spectacular views of the city.

Granada Nicaragua Things To Do

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  1. Spent time on Calle La Calzada

Granada Nicaragua Things To DoCalle La Calzada extends out from Parque Centrael and is the shopping, restaurant and nightlife part of the city. In the evening street performers set up to entertain, restaurant tables flow out onto the street and vendors sell their wares.

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  1. Fly Through the Treetops on a Zip Line (nearby)

Granada Nicaragua Things To DoThe Miravalle canopy tour near Mombacho volcano is a place for you to test your extreme sports fears as you zip line through the lush canopy. With a 2km range and 17 platforms, this will keep you busy for a few hours. The guides are fantastic and they will encourage you to try various funny styles like Superman or Tarzan.

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  1. Swim in Laguna de Apoyo (nearby)

Granada Nicaragua Things To DoLaguna de Apoyo is a crater lake located 30 minutes from Granada and a world away from the bustle of the city. You can spend a few days by the lake or you can pay for a day pass at one of the resorts or backpacker hostels, where you can make use of their watersports and swim in the warm waters.

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  1. Visit Masaya Volcano (nearby)

Granada Nicaragua Things To DoIt wouldn’t be right to visit Nicaragua without visiting one of its many volcanoes. Masaya Volcano is Nicaragua’s first and largest National Park and only 30 km from Granada. You could combine a visit here with Laguna de Apoyo in a one day tour. We loved being there in late afternoon for the sunset. You definitely feel like you are at a volcano as you smell the sulphur dioxide she emits. There is an informative visitor’s centre and you can add on a visit to Tzinaconostoc Cave, home to many bats.

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Where To Stay

Granada Nicaragua Things To DoFor great value accommodation located right in the heart of the city, make sure you book into Casa del Agua ($50/night). Owned by Gerry, an extraordinarily helpful Irishman, this charming guesthouse has it all. In fact, a local women’s co-operative owns and manages the hotel, along with Gerry. The courtyard swimming pool and quaint rooms are a welcome respite from the bustle and heat of the city. Gerry has thought of everything and the shared kitchen and common area allows you to interact and meet fellow travelers. With good A/C, free coffee, tea and cereal and an eager host ready to help you plan your day, what more could you ask for? There are lots of different room arrangements, including a great room for families. This is a popular place, so make sure you email in advance to make a booking.

MAKETIMETOSEETHEWORLD ALSO RECOMMENDS Granada Nicaragua Things To Do

Granada Nicaragua

Hotel Plaza Colon - 4* Luxury Stay ($110+ per night)


Located amongst a variety of popular tourist attractions, shops and eateries, Hotel Plaza Colon is ideal for those wishing to discover Granada and its surroundings.
Like more info? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
Granada Nicaragua

La Islita Boutique Hotel - 3* Mid-Range Stay ($100 per night)


La Islita Boutique Hotel Granada provides spacious rooms equipped with a shower and cable/satellite channels, plus all the necessities to ensure an enjoyable stay. All offer wireless internet access and a private bathroom.
Like more info? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
Granada Nicaragua

Casa del Consulado - Budget Stay (<$80 per night)


Hotel Casa del Consulado is a comfortable setting when visiting Granada and is close to everything the area has to offer.
Like more info? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

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What To Eat in Granada Nicaragua Things To Do

Granada Nicaragua Things To Do

  1. Quesillos – a local specialty and often eaten as a snack, quesillos are soft tortillas filled with sour cream and cheese and served with pickled condiments. Cafetin el Volcan is known to be the best place in Granada to enjoy your quesillos.
  2. Gallo Pinto – the staple of Nicaraguan diets and rice and beans to those non-Spanish speakers out there. This is served at every meal and includes a generous serving of plantains, something you will need to learn to eat when traveling in Central America. We like our gallo pinto with grilled meats and you can find lots of hole in the wall type restaurants in Granada serving up plates of this.
  3. Vigoron – a Nicaraguan specialty that consists of charred pork, cabbage salad, and yucca, wrapped in a banana leaf. The best place to sample this is from one of the street stalls in Parque Centrale.
  4. Flor de Cana – Nicaragua’s world famous rum should be sampled, especially the 7-year-old variety. If you make it up to Leon, you can tour the factory. Flor de Cana makes great souvenirs for all your friends back home.
  5. Western food – if you have been in the region awhile and you are tired of rice and beans, Kathy’s Waffle House will be a welcome change. You can get great waffles and other Western foods here.

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EXTRA Granada ADVENTURES

IF YOU CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF GRANADA, TAKE A LOOK AT THESE GREAT TOURS TO EXPLORE THE SURROUNDING AREA:

  • Combine a visit to a rum distillery with a tour of the historic town on Leon and you’ve got a perfect day trip from Granada
  • Explore the isletas of Lake Nicaragua by boat and get access to the private Zopango Island for some leisure time.
  • If you’re feeling energetic, a morning kayaking around the Isletas de Granada could be exactly what you are looking for.

I hope I have convinced you to make Granada and Nicaragua one of your next travel destinations. Granada is an easy place to spend a few days exploring the beautiful colors and streets of this colonial city. The surrounding areas are just waiting to be discovered with volcanoes, fresh water lakes, and wildlife beckoning. If you have a few more days, the magical twin volcanic islands of Ometepe should be your next stop on your Nicaraguan adventure and Ometepe tours run from San Jorge (less than 20km away from Granada).

So there you have it – hopefully we’ve given you enough information to plan the perfect getaway to Granada – and given you a great list of things to do and places to visit to make sure you get the most from your visit. Don’t forget to let me know you’re own highlights once you’re back and remember to grab these everyday travel essential before you go:

POWERBANK
TRAVEL ADAPTER
GORILLAPOD
CAMERA/DAY BAG

CLICK THE IMAGES TO ORDER NOW

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Dawn Nicholson loves traveling and blogging about her adventures traveling and living overseas with her three kids at www.5losttogether.com She has visited over 50 countries and believes strongly in traveling now with kids by whatever and any means possible – backpacking, sailing or living as expats overseas.

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36 thoughts on “Granada Nicaragua Things To Do, Where To Stay & What To Eat

  1. Erin Pocket Rockets says:

    SOLD!
    I haven’t heard of Nicaragua, but it’s beautiful! I guess, like you said, it’s been so overshadowed from Costa Rica’s tourism instead. But, I’d love to see that view from the Bell Tower at Iglesia Merced

  2. Maggie says:

    Great post! Nicaragua is on my list (been to Belize, Panama and Costa Rica) so it’s nice to see a post about it. Looks like there is lots to do in the area!

  3. Jen says:

    I have always wanted to visit Nicaragua and it’s one of the few countries I haven’t seen in Central America. After reading this, I need to prioritise this country! I want to see Masaya Volcano!

  4. Naomi says:

    I hear great things about Nica too! I think I would be tempted for the horse and carriage ride, it looks so cute. Definately would opt for a rum-tour- drink up yo brothers yo-ho!

  5. Daisy says:

    That seems beautiful! I’ve always wanted to visit a volcano but always worried they’d explode while there. 🙁 The city looks super charming, will definitely go on bucket list soon

  6. Sonja says:

    I haven’t been here but always wanted to go! It’s crazy how Spanish some of the architecture looks. It seems like an awesome place for adventure travel too, and seeing a live volcano would be amazing. If a little scary!

    • Vicki says:

      Those Spanish explorers got around, hey?! I can totally see the influence too – and yup, seeing a live volcano would be a little scary – I think you can even board down it!

  7. Bhushavali says:

    To begin with I don’t even know of Nicaragua till I read your blog! So ignorant me!!!
    The place does have a heavy Gothic & European influence in its architecture!
    Ziplining and the Crater Lakes sound perfect!!!

  8. carla abanes says:

    You had me at sour cream and cheese. I imagine gorging on these and walking off the calories around churches and the colonial streets. Oh I hope i get to visit Nicaragua soon! Thanks for sharing this!

  9. jo says:

    I really enjoyed reading this I would love to go to Nicaragua and you sold it to me! Have pinned for future! I like the way you include food recommendations and accommodation for every budget as well as the highlights.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I’m totally fascinated by volcanoes, so getting to add another active one where I can see lava to my list would definitely be in my must-dos. I don’t even like rice, so the food might be a challenge for me though.

  11. Lara Dunning says:

    I’m not sure when I will visit Nicaragua, but there are certainly lots of attractions that I would like as I love old churches, would love to see a volcano, and try the Nicaraguan food like the the Vigoron -yum! Gerry’s place sounds like the perfect place to stay too!

  12. Barb says:

    Nicaragua is on my bucket list. I love it that you listed all the best local foods to taste. I took some notes for the future.

  13. Paul says:

    We’ve always wanted to travel to this part of the world, it seems like one of those places that would be such an adventure into the unknown and also very beautiful.

  14. Hugo Cura says:

    Looks like a lovely place to visit! I really enjoy the old colonial towns, the colorful houses, and churches. Yet, the natural places to explore nearby look amazing!

  15. melody pittman says:

    Nice post. Loved reading more about Nicaragua. Definitely on my radar and hoping to visit this summer. The food looks and sounds so good, as did the 4 star resort. Thanks for sharing!

  16. stacey veikalas says:

    Wow how diverse Granada is – volcanos to lagoons and adventures in the tree tops! I think I love Quesillos they are looking and sounding scrumptious!

  17. Cheryl says:

    This is one of the most helpful and informative posts I’ve read. Granada looks gorgeous! Thank you for all info and pictures. We will definitely have to add it to our bucket list! Happy travels!

    Cheryl

  18. Carol Perehudoff says:

    I also liked Nicaragua. I was surprised at the number of people that were retiring or moving there! Grenada is a lovely place to visit, and Masaya Volcano is amazing – even if it freaked me out.

  19. Pedro says:

    I must confess I haven’t seen much of Central America, but I’ve been reading so much about Nicaragua recently that I realise I’ve gotta go there soon!

  20. Carol Colborn says:

    Granada, Nicaragua seems to have everything: history (old churches and plazas), nature (lake and volcano), and good local cuisine. $50 a night is also a no-brainer!

  21. Jenn says:

    Wow! What a comprehensive guide! I love your food suggestions… Quesillos sound right up my alley! The volcano sounds pretty awesome as well. I’ve been wanting to go to Nica, bookmarking this for my next travel planning session!

  22. Melody PIttman says:

    I did not know that Nicaragua was the new “hot spot”. Thanks for writing about it! Although I enjoyed this whole post, I appreciate that you took the time to write about the food. I know some people are afraid to venture out food wise in other countries because they don’t know what they are eating, and it was nice that you let people know ahead of time.

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