After about a one hour drive from Managua we arrived into Granada, a beautiful city boasting a rich Spanish colonial history.
The architecture and landmarks have survived repeated attacks occurring between 1665 and 1857 from Caribbean pirates that operated in Lake Nicaragua. They came via San Juan River which connects Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean near the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border. The city was an important trading centre so it was a prime target for the likes of henry Morgan and William Walker.
Interestingly, because this river flows to the sea there are what are now fresh water bull sharks inhabiting the lake.
The city’s beautiful main plaza is tree filled and is dominated by the Cathedral of Granada, originally dating back to 1583. Just off of the main plaza is Calle la Calzada, a long pedestrian mall lined with great restaurants, bars shops and hotels.
The afternoon of our arrival we did something we’ve never done before. Lined along one side of the plaza were probably 15 horse drawn buggies. We were approached by a young man who spoke very good English and he offered us two options. A short 40 minute tour to some of the closer town highlights or a 1 1/2 hour full tour. We took the. 1 1/2 hour tour, hopped into the ornate carriage and off we went. It really was a nice way to see the city and landmarks and a little of the lake shore.
His name escapes me but he was a good salesman and he sold us on a boat tour to the Islets of Granada the next day and directed us to great restaurant to have lunch after the tour.
The islets of Granada are located in Lake Nicaragua southeast of town and comprise a group of 365 small islands scattered around the Asese peninsula. The islets were formed when the nearby Mombacho volcano blew much of it’s cone into the lake thousands of years ago creating an archipelago covered with vegetation and rich with bird life.
Many of the islands are privately owned by beer barons, ex presidents ( Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica) and other business magnates and a few host small hotels that are for rent for very reasonable prices. Our boat guide showed us one island with nice accommodation for up to 10 people and it was listed for $200 USD for three nights!
Granada is a beautiful town and it was a very enjoyable three nights that we spent there. The food choices were excellent , the streets were clean and well maintained and the people were exceptionally welcoming and friendly.
When walking back to our hotel in the darkness the streets were deserted and we felt completely safe. A really nice town to visit.
Next stop, Isla Ometepe.