Granada (Nicaragua), A Former Colonial City That You Should Definitely Explore

We continue the story of our trip to Central America and today tell you how to get to and what to see in Granada.


After all our misfortunes with the weather on Ometepe island, our plans had to be slightly corrected. Upon arrival to the mainland, we immediately rushed to the Rivas bus station, where we took seats in the bus with the departure at 10 AM. We had a bit of time to relax and to have a look on the life around. All of this time the same merchants came into our bus and endlessly sold various unnecessary goods, and locals bought then endlessly too, every time the merchants brought them in, as if they could not do it this before.
bus merchants

The nearby bus was loaded with a strong character, who reminded us about amazing African women who also use their heads to carry goods.

Despite the fact that the distance between Rivas and Granada is about seventy kilometers, it took us about 2 hours to reach the city. We stopped infinitely and, most surprisingly, one stop was planned for a snack. Even more surprisingly, the locals again enthusiastically continued to buy food.


Granada is the sixth most populated city of Nicaragua and is one of the most important economic, political, as well as tourist centers. The city has a rich colonial heritage, which you will immediately recognize. Tile roofs, churches, horses remind that Spaniards founded it at the beginning of the 16th century.
Granada, Nicaragua

It seems that the main attraction for tourists is horse riding. Poor, shaded horses were clapping hooves on asphalt or paving stones, with bags for collecting poop and awkward bows, which made us rather sad.
Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

Otherwise, the city itself is very pleasant for walking: green and relatively fresh, thanks to the Lake Nicaragua.
Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

On the main streets, you will find houses cheerfully painted in different colors.
Granada, Nicaragua

main streets of Granada, Nicaragua

main streets of Granada, Nicaragua

However, at some distance from the city center there are many decaying and faded facades of buildings, as for example in the case of the abounded railway station.
abounded railway station

Where to eat and stay

The food here is a little expensive, about 8-12 dollars per meal. However, if you look for a cafe where locals have a snack, you will save money almost twice. Of course, they are located at a distance from the main streets and sometimes inconspicuous. We were lucky to meet local guys and they brought us to a cafe near the market.
cafe near the market

Such a cafe is open at the Chocolate Museum.
where to eat

Never get fooled by pizzeria here. Vitya could not stand it and strongly regretted that we went here for dinner. Instead of pepperoni, there is some local sausage, and the pizza itself is tasteless and without spices.
You can find a budget overnight on Calle Centrale, where many hostels are located. The price is about 15-20 dollars. Many of them have thin walls or have no windows, but almost all have courtyards. In our case, we had a window, which was actually broken :), but inside the yard there were even birds.


There are several museums in Granada. A famous one is a chocolate museum. Here you can learn the history, visit workshops, and try 100% organic Nicaraguan chocolate. It seems that you can even go to the plantation, but in our opinion is very expensive – $90.
chocolate museum

chocolate museum

Near the market, there is a folklore museum, which Nastya could not ignore. What helped her was that she knows Spanish. Do not expect English descriptions.
folklore museum

Wandering around the city, do not hesitate to look into different corners. That way we came across some workshop of modern art.
workshop of modern art

Do not miss Casa De Los Tres Mundos. Many of art workshops, a printing house and art school classes are here. In addition to objects of art, from the balcony you can observe the portrait of a famous revolutionary, politician, as well as the poet and writer Ernesto Cardenal Martínez (Spanish: Ernesto Cardenal Martínez).
Casa De Los Tres Mundos

Among many other cathedrals, the Church of La Merced (Iglesia la Merced) deserves attention. Make sure you climb the tower to view the city. It costs one dollar, but the views are the best.
Church of La Merced

Iglesia la Merced

In fact, if you have time, Granada is worth staying for a couple of days. In addition to the city, it is definitely worth going to the shore of Lake Nicaragua, taking a boat ride or visiting the nearby Mombacho volcano. You can get there by touristic buses or by climbing to a height of 1200 meters yourself. One of the main conditions is to have fine weather.
Mombacho volcano

In our case, it was cloudy and windy, so we didn’t even try. We had hope that the next day we would have better luck with the Masaya Volcano. And we did, as we will tell in the next blog post!

No Comments

Leave a Comment