Fall in Love with Granada, Nicaragua…

Granada is the colonial jewel of Nicaragua ~ a bright & colorful city that offers up every color of the rainbow within one short city block.  Ask most Nicaraguans what their favorite city is in Nicaragua, & they’ll likely tell you, “Granada.”  Personally, I fell in love with Granada the moment I set foot in her main square, next to a line-up of elegant horse-drawn carriages, under the shade of her yellow cathedral, which is one of the most iconic images in all of Central America.

Granada, Nicaragua, Yellow Cathedral

The yellow cathedral that presides over Granada, Nicaragua

Map of Granada

How to Get There

From Managua to Granada, Nicaragua: At the airport, rent a car, take a taxi, or grab a bus to Granada. Distance is 50 kilometers, or 30 miles, & takes around an hour to drive.  A good stop en route is Volcan Masaya ~ a smoking, active volcano that’s right on the way. A taxi from the airport costs around $30-40, rental cars will vary, & the bus will cost you less than $10 ~ but you’ll need to take a taxi downtown to catch the bus.

From San Juan del Sur to Granada, Nicaragua: San Juan del Sur, a popular beach town, is on most tourist’s Nicaragua checklists. Distance between San Juan del Sur & Granada is 98 kilometers, or 60 miles, & will take anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours. Options again are car rental, taxi, or bus.

The Main Square

Granada, Nicaragua Photos

View of the cathedral from Parque Centrale, the main square in Granada, Nicaragua

Granada…a Resilient City

Though Granada has been burned down no less than three times ~ yes, three! ~ you would never know it.  Each time, the proud citizens of Granada have built back their city back all over again.  Whether pirates came in & pillaged her, or a wild American named William Walker came in & overthrew the entire city, stealing her many riches ~ Granada came back from what looked like defeat.  Granada rebuilt.  You would never know today, walking around town, that the city has been through that much turmoil.  Granada is dignified & elegant, it’s still evident today how proud all Nicaraguans are of this beautiful city.

Granada, Nicaragua Photos

View of Granada from the top of La Merced belltower

Expats Buying Up Property…

When you’re in Granada, you’ll likely meet many other tourists from all over the world ~ I happened to meet a lot of Canadians, some of whom live in Nicaragua part-time.  Locals told me that many expats are buying several of the beautiful old colonial homes in Granada & restoring them.  This is good for Granada in that it brings a significant amount of money into the community, but on the other hand, it’s also driving up home prices for the locals, & pushing them more towards the outskirts of town.  It seems this is not much different from what is happening right now in my adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon ~ or in cities all around the world.

Granada, Nicaragua Photos

Beautifully restored homes & hotels in Granada, Nicaragua

My Favorite Things to Do in Granada!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...
  • My Favorite Place to Eat: The Garden Cafe ~ Phenomenal breakfast, lunch, coffee ~ & a great place to work!
  • Favorite Walk in Granada: Along the main drag, Calle La Calzada, down towards Lago de Nicaragua
  • Best Tacos in Granada: Taco Stop, at Calle El Arsenal & Calle Atravesada ~ Local’s favorite.
  • Best Pool in Granada: Huge pool at Hotel Granada, on Calle La Calzada ~ It’s huge & has a bar.
  • Best View in Town: Top of La Merced, the belltower, Calle Real Xalteva & Calle 14 de Septiembre
  • Best Bookstore: Caddy-corner from the Garden Cafe
  • Favorite Nearby Activities: Hiking Mombacho Volcano, relaxing at Laguna de Apoyo, & night-hiking at Volcan Masaya
Granada, Nicaragua in Photos

Another beautiful square in Granada, with a view towards Iglesia de Xalteva

Granada, Nicaragua in Photos

View towards Volcan Mombacho from one of the rooms at Casa del Consulado

Granada, Nicaragua in Photos

View from the bell tower at La Merced

Granada, Nicaragua Photos

One of the many beautiful churches in town, across from the Hotel Granada

GWTW Tip!

GWTW Tip: Wander into the courtyards of Granada ~ because all of the best things in Granada are hidden! Whether it’s hammocks hiding in a hotel courtyard, a cozy bookstore, or a restaurant tucked away behind a fragrant garden ~ you’ll find all of the best things by wandering into courtyards.  Even ask hotels if you can take a peek around…most are happy to oblige!

Granada, Nicaragua Photos

The view from a hidden courtyard somewhere in Granada…

And That Covers Granada, Nicaragua!

That covers our tour of Granada in a nutshell ~ stay tuned for more articles about great activities & volunteer work to take part in around Granada!  I really loved this city, after spending two weeks there.  Have you been to Granada?  What did you think of it?! Let me know your thoughts & insights in the comments below!

Noelle Bertram is a former fitness coach & restaurant owner who travels full-time now & writes all about it. Catch up with her on Instagram or @ her website about being the ultimate, fearless travel girl: GirlWhoTravelstheWorld.com!
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