Granada might just be your first stop if you are flying into Managua. It’s a popular tourist city, but you can see all the sights in about a day. It’s colonial heritage, colorful streets and year round warm weather make it a worthwhile stop, but I preferred other places in Nicaragua. I didn’t feel as welcomed here as I did in other places. I would however still recommend to stay longer than a day for all the things you can do nearby! Let me tell you what to do in Granada (and give you some tips for around).
Visit Iglesia La Merced
Climb the tower of the Iglesia La Merced to get a view of Granada. From the top you’ll be able to see the main cathedral. We didn’t make it for the sunset, but I imagine that from the top you’ll have the perfect view.
See lava in the Masaya Volcano
You’ll basically trip over volcanos if you’re traveling in Central America, but I’d never seen lava from up close! If you visit the Masaya Volcano you’ll be able to look right into the crater. You can choose to visit it in the day or in the night, but for obvious reasons the night is more popular. You can’t stay up there for too long, because it’s not very healthy to breath in all the gasses. Don’t worry though. You have enough time to take a good look and take some photos.
Swim in Laguna de Apoyo
Laguna de Apoyo is a big crater lake where you can come to relax for a day. We combined a day at the laguna with a visit to the volcano afterwards. You can spend the day swimming, kayaking and drinking beers. I thought a day visit was perfect, but the hostels that are right on the water are really nice and you could spend a night there.
Explore the streets of Granada
Roam the colorful streets of Granada. It Enjoy the many beautiful churches and buildings. If you want to visit all the churches there are to see, you’ll be kept busy all day. So what is there to see besides the La Merced church?
- The main square: Browse the market stalls, get a drink and seat yourself next to the fountain. Afterwards visit the main cathedral and of course climb the tower. When you’re done with all that head to the garden café for a healthy and very yummy lunch.
- Calle la Calzada: This is your go to street for the evening. It is filled with restaurants and bars, so whether you’re looking for dinner or just drinks, this is the place to go.
- Central market: If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Nicaraguan life, head to the market. I’ll warn you, it might be a slightly chaotic experience, but it’s the perfect place to try some local food.
Go here for my entire 3 week itinerary for Nicaragua
Where to stay?
We stayed in Boca en Boca Hostel. I think the staff was great and it was located in a nice central spot. The hostel has a cute courtyard with a garden and a bar, which makes it a great place to chill.
Casa Bubu Guest House: This Guesthouse has a great central location, a stunning outside pool, terrace and offers a wonderful breakfast. It’s pricier then a hostel, but great value for money!