View from the top of the tower at Iglesia de La Merced. The colours of the Cathedral are amazing.
View from the top of the tower at Iglesia de La Merced. The colours of the Cathedral are amazing.

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.

It was a perfect day for a ride through the Islets.
It was a perfect day for a ride through the Islets.

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.

There were several locals standing in the lake casting lines.
There were several locals standing in the lake 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.

We saw several of these Spider Monkeys, as well as Howler and Capuchin Monkeys
We saw several of these Spider Monkeys, as well as Howler and Capuchin (White Faced) Monkeys

 

We saw several types of Herons, including this Great Egret.
We saw several types of Herons, including this Great Egret.
There are something like 94 species of bats in Nicaragua. How many can you find in this photo.
There are something like 94 species of bats in Nicaragua. How many can you find in this photo.
Beautiful views appear wherever you look here. It is wonderful.
Beautiful views appear wherever you look. It is wonderful.

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.

Enjoyed an hour trip around town with a non stop history lesson delivered enroute.
Enjoyed an hour trip around town with a non stop history lesson delivered enroute.

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.

One of many colourful shops around town.
One of many colourful shops around town.
John of Gods Hospital was totally destroyed in an earthquake. There are plans to turn it into a museum.
John of Gods Hospital is slowly decaying from neglect, though there are plans to turn it into a museum.

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)

National flag flaying by the Granada Cathedral.
National flag flying by the Granada Cathedral.

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.

The bells at the Museum at the San Francisco Convent. Which was across the street from pour hotel.
The bells at the Museum of the San Francisco Convent. Which was across the street from our hotel.
La Merced Church has a tower you can access for $1US. Spectacular views from the top.
La Merced Church has a tower you can access for $1US. Spectacular views from the top.

 

A local relaxing at the church entrance.
A local relaxing at the church entrance.

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.

We stopped for a photo op half way up the dormant volcano. Great views from the top.
We stopped for a photo op while we were walking to the top of Masaya Volcano. That is the Santiago Crater behind us.
Looking over the rim into the active Santiago Crater of the Masaya Volcano.
Looking over the rim into the active Santiago Crater of the Masaya Volcano.

As we reached the highest point on Masaya Volcano the area is spread out around you in a beautiful panorama.

You can see Lake Managua, Lake Nicaragua and Ayopa Lagoon from the top.
You can see Lake Managua, Lake Nicaragua and Apoyo Lagoon from the top.
Santiago Crater from the top of Masaya.
Santiago Crater from the top of Masaya.
As you turn around from the active crater you have the dormant San Fernando Crater behind you.
As you turn around from the active crater you have the dormant San Fernando Crater behind you.

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.

Very touristy spot with wonderful views. A great place for lunch.
Very touristy spot with wonderful views. A great place for lunch.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

4 comments on “Granada, Nicaragua

  1. Thank you for this trip to Granada. I am simply amazed at the breath taking beauty of this country. So hard to believe that we view Nicaraugua as a violent country. Sad that is the reputation created by some. Once again gorgeous photography. Xx

  2. Time sure flies. You have been gone almost a year!

  3. Wow! That was beautiful! The photography was fantastic!! Thanks :).

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