Here is Granada! In 1856, when Walker, the US filibuster occupied Granada and partially burned the city previous runaway he left a sign with the slogan “Here was Granada”. More than a hundred and fifty years after, Granada is alive! Colorful and beautiful! If there is a majestic place to be visited in the Pacific region of Nicaragua, it is this beautiful colonial site: Granada, a charming city situated on the shores of Big Cocibolca Lake known as Nicaragua Lake. The huge Cocibolca Lake is the eighth biggest lake in the world and it is the unique fresh water lake inhabited by sharks. The city, founded by the Spaniards in 1524, is one of the oldest cities in the whole American continent that remains in the same place where it was initially settled. Its present population is approximately 220,000 inhabitants. Granada is considered the colonial jewel of Nicaragua because of its Renaissance and Baroque style churches and colorful old buildings. In the afternoons it is very common to see people in Granada sitting in the rocking chairs outside the houses to enjoy the soft breeze from the lake while talking.
The dormant Mombacho Volcano is right south of Granada city; the archipelagos made of approximately 365 islets in big lake are south east of town. Laguna de Apoyo, a huge amazing crater lake with pristine water surrounded by hills, is just west of the city. All these nature locations are pieces of paradise. Kayaking, swimming, fishing, boat touring, canopy tour, paragliding, bird watching and hiking are some of the leisure activities to do in these nature places.
Granada has been always a land of poets and has kept this reputation throughout the years. It is obviously a literary city and since 2005 it is the host site for the Annual Granada Poetry International Festival where poets from many countries meet for a week of recitals and interesting literature lectures. Museums, cultural centers and art galleries also testify the cultural life of this romantic charming city.
Granada religious festivities are in honor of Virgen de la Asunción during the month of August. This religious festivity is celebrated with processions organized by the catholic church. There are also a carnival and a horse parade organized by the Tourist Board. Bull running in the streets takes place in one of those days of celebrations. This race is not part of Granada traditional festivities but it has been taking place lately as an imitation of Pamplona bull run in Spain to promote tourism in Granada, the Nicaraguan city.
Hotels and other lodging options in Granada: Granada offers four-star hotels and there are also a lot of hostals and small good hotels at varied and competitive prices. The best hotels are located close to the Central Park. Most of them have swimming pools. There are also B&B, hostals and dormitories available in town. Some people have apartments for rent.
Granada restaurants and night life: Local and international food are offered in most of the great variety of nice restaurants in the city located in the central area of Granada. Eating lunch or dinner in a relaxed atmosphere in restaurants housed in a colonial house or with an inner open patio with a pretty flower garden is delightful and it is an unforgettable memory of your experiencing Granada. There are a couple of well-known restaurants easily found in town that offer American, Nicaraguan and French breakfast. Night life can be enjoyed at the numerous nice bars in downtown along the street linking the cathedral and the lake and at the couple of discos located on shores of the Cocibolca lake.
Bank and other services: The city has a good variety of banks and some ATM machines located in central locations in town. Dollars can be changed into cordobas in any of the banks or with authorized identified money changers found in the Calle del Comercio. Tour operators, shops, bike rental, real estate offices, post office, phone companies and internet access at the various internet cafes are available in downtown Granada. In most of the restaurants, cafes and hotels Wi-Fi is available.
Transportation in Granada: Granada is connected to other cities and towns by public transport. There are regular buses leaving for Managua, Rivas, San Juan del Sur, Jinotepe and Masaya cities and vice versa. Diriomo, Diria, Catarina, San Juan de Oriente and Niquinohomo are accessible from Granada by public buses. There are also fast vans that travel to Managua and Masaya round trip. Transport inside the city is done by a couple of public old buses and taxis which are a lot. Some people have their own bikes as mean of transportation. Since Granada is a small city most of people enjoy walking. A ferry leaves Granada port for Ometepe Island and San Carlos city two days a week.