After 11 weeks enjoying the beauty and relaxation of San Juan del Sur we thought it was time for a mini sight seeing holiday to the nearby city of Granada. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, 1524, city in Latin America (depends who you ask). ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granada,_Nicaragua ) It is one of the go to tourist destinations in Nicaragua and after visiting it I see why. It is beautiful, friendly, and photogenic.
We made the decision to splurge and booked a private guide and driver with Indian Face Tours ( http://indianfacetours.wix.com/indian-face-tours ). Excellent choice. We were picked up at our place and treated to an informative and personalized tour of the City of Granda on the first day, then a visit to an active volcano and the City of Masaya on the second day.
We started the trip with a boat ride through the Islets of Granada. The advantage of being here during the rainy season is few other people are. We had a boat to ourselves with our guide and boat operator. The only other people out were local fisherman casting lines.
The Islets of Granada consist of 365 small islands occupied by locals and the rich and famous of Nicaragua, as well as a huge variety of wildlife. Apparently there are three types of monkeys in Nicaragua and we saw all three while out on the boat.
Once the boat trip was over we took part in what I consider one of the most blatant examples of “The Tourist”, the horse drawn buggy ride around town. I hate to admit it, it was great.
One of the interesting things about parts of Central America is their use of colours. When you look down a street you will see the store fronts, businesses, and residences defined by the use of different colours on the front exterior. It makes for a very scenic view in most streets.
We then headed for lunch. I would strongly recommend skipping the “included” lunch (a bit pricey at $30US per person at the “nice” restaurant) and opt for asking your guide to take you to a Nicaraguan diner. We headed for the market streets and had a fantastic lunch with local food. The servers were very patient while we butchered their language while ordering and the food was awesome. (Also only $21US for all four of our lunches)
We then started a walking tour of the sights in Granada. Due to earthquakes, pirates, and revolutions there is a lot of damaged buildings. But the stories they tell and the photographic opportunities they provide are incredible.
Our second day consisted of driving just outside of Granada to Masaya Volcano National Park ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masaya_Volcano ) to check out an active volcano.
As we reached the highest point on Masaya Volcano the area is spread out around you in a beautiful panorama.
We wrapped up the day having lunch in Catarina, overlooking Apoyo Lagoon. With Granada and Lake Nicaragua in the background. The weather started to turn on us at this point, but no complaints. We had enjoyed two beautiful days in the “rainy” season exploring a wonderful area.
By the way, there are 12 bats in the earlier photo of the tree.