By Liam Supple
July 17, 2017
20 Things To Do In Granada, Nicaragua
Granada makes the perfect base from which to explore all of Nicaragua, but remember to devote at least 3 full days to the city so you don't miss the highlights!
#1. City Carriage Ride
You might think it touristy, but a carriage ride is a great way to start your visit. Learn the layout of the Colonial city and get some interesting historical background.
#4. Los Pueblos Blancos
30 minutes outside of town the roads around Catarina, San Juan Oriente, Diriomo and other villages are lined with flowering plants, wooden furniture and ceramics for sale.
#7. Mombacho Rainforest
Either the hiking tour of the volcano crater or zip lining the rainforest canopy will bring you up-close to monkeys, sloths, air-plants, orchids and other wonderful things.
#10. La Merced Bell Tower
The highest viewpoint in the city and a great place to snap rooftop pictures. Climb to the top for $1.
#13. La Calzada
For the longest time nearly all Granada's restaurants and bars have been located on La Calzada and adjacent blocks. Now new places are opening further afield, but most still congregate on this strip for their evening meal and drinks on roadside tables.
#16. Butterfly Reserve
We recommend this for kids but the adults come back just as enthralled as the little ones. Nice for a mellow outing.
Pork, rice, cornmeal, tomatoes, etc. wrapped and tied in a leaf and boiled until all inside is a soft delicious mush. Yum. Ask a local where to buy.
Streetside at lunchtime, Vigoron is deep-fried pork skin with a spicy cabbage salad over yucca. All the juices melt into the starchy root.
#5. Lava -- Volcano Masaya
Leave at 5PM to arrive after sunset and before the crowd. You might be waiting a while but everyone agrees it's worth it.
#8. Traditional Frescos
Don't be afraid to try the delicious natural drinks the locals sell from their front doors. Served in plastic bags with a straw - cacao, grama, pitaya, tamarindo ... the list goes on.
#11. Masaya Market
This market is huge. Guides say to go to the artisanal market (with the arches) - but the main market has more of everything, better prices and lots more to experience.
You'll want to eat frito more than once during your stay. Fried green plantain chips with ripe fried plantain, a large piece of barbecue chicken, beef or pork, topped with spicy cabbage salad and wrapped in a banana leaf. Prepared roadside and eaten with fingers.
#17. Drinks and Dancing
Go out near La Calzada and find locals and visitors mixing it up at Reilly's Irish Tavern. Crowds gather after 10PM.
#20. Pool Day
Don't over exhaust yourselves. A day spent by the pool is just what your mind and body need sometimes -- and the kids will definitely not complain.
#3. Boat Tour of Las Isletas
A tour of the 365 islands that surround the Asese peninsula is almost an obligatory part of your Granada visit. Or for something truly spectacular - spend a few nights on one!
#6. La Frontera
Our favorite eatery. Amazing burritos, burgers and veggie dishes that are served with music hits from the 80's.
Other favorites: El Garaje (lunch), Garden Cafe, Pita Pita, Café los Sueños.
#9. Colonial Cement Tiles
Ladrilleria San Jeronimo makes cement tiles using a 90-year-old press. Make a visit and try your hand at making a tile!
#12. Laguna de Apoyo
Formed from a volcano crater the laguna makes for great swimming in clear waters. Do a half day here before or after visiting the Masaya market or Los Pueblos Blancos.
#15. Parque Central
In the middle of town as the name suggests the park is the main hub with plenty of people watching and adjoining market streets to explore.
#18. Sopa de Res - Beef Soup
Nicaragua's cure for Mondays! Look for signs at private homes who are selling small bucketfuls. Key ingredient - naranja agria (bitter orange).
Liam Supple is owner at Hotel La Polvora and a partner at Isleta El Recedo