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Granada (Nicaragua)

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Typical horsecart in Granada
Granada is the oldest colonial city in Nicaragua & the all-time-rival of Leon. It is located on the north west side of the Lago Cocibolca. Its colored colonial buildings, interesting history and relative safety make it an important tourism destination.


Understand

It was named by Hernández de Córdoba after the ancient Spanish city of Granada. This was done in honor of the defeat of the last Moorish stronghold, which had been Spanish Granada, by the Catholic King and Queen of Spain. Granada, Nicaragua was historically the sister capital in Central America to Antigua, Guatemala. During the colonial period, Granada maintained a flourishing level of commerce with ports on the Atlantic Ocean, through Lake Nicaragua (a.k.a. Cocibolca) and the San Juan River.

The city has been witness and victim to many of the battles with and invasions from English, French and Dutch pirates trying to take control of Nicaragua.

Granada has long been a center of commerce, including timber, gold and silver. Granada's economy continues to grow as it is becoming the national tourism hub. Though Granada remains Nicaragua's fourth largest city, it is widely known for preserving some of the finest colonial-era architecture in the country. A real estate boom had been underway for several years, with many European and Americans purchasing and renovating the area's homes for retirement or holiday homes and several foreign realtors establishing offices, but that boom slowed in 2007. The prior escalation of real estate prices in Granada and other parts of Southwestern Nicaragua has led to a shift of investor attention toward Northern Nicaragua and the cities of Matagalpa, Leon, Corinto and the surrounding beaches of Leon and Corinto.

Get in

By plane

Fly to Managua (the capital of Nicaragua) and from there make your way by bus (every half hour from Mercado Huembes or the La UCA station) or taxi (around $35 from the airport depending on your bargaining skills). As an alternative, you can take an air con shuttle for $15 from the airport to Granada. In most cases, the shuttle will deliver you to any point in Granada. There is a tourist information counter as soon as you clear immigration. Ask the representative and she´ll point you to a reputable shuttle service. The trip by taxi or shuttle is about 40 minutes. Another option may be to fly to the Liberia Airport over the border in Costa Rica, but it would involve about 5 hours of travel and a border crossing. Rental cars are not allowed to cross the border, but agencies will arrange for car swaps and pickups on the other side of the border. Managua is by far your best option.

There is a small airport a few miles from Granada on the highway to Masaya. The airport was served only by Nature Air, which offered flights from San Jose and Liberia, Costa Rica, the flights are now going into Managua International airport. Flights originate in San Jose, Costa Rica's capital and also from Liberia "LIR" in Guanacaste Costa Rica.

By train

The old train that once existed was shut down during the era of Violeta Chamorro. So, no, there's no possibility to take any train to get there. Nevertheless, you can have the chance to visit the old train station, which is used as a technical school sponsored by the Spanish Cooperation.

By car

Yes you can get there by rental car, which is often really expensive to hire, since imported cars are expensive too. The risk of theft is not so high, but it is advisable to park your car on places where a guard will watch your car. Expect to pay 10 to 20 Cordoba's per night; all the guards are reliable. Most of the principal highways are in good condition, however potholes and other obstacles can surprise you, so be alert. Secondary roads range from ok to horrendous. The roads from the airport are good, then rather bad, then good - on the most direct route.

From Costa Rica, take the Panamerican Highway, which leads from San José through Liberia, the border crossing at Penas Blancas, first bigger town in Nicaragua is Rivas, after Nandaime take a right onto the Granada-Nandaime road. Look for Granada-related signs.

By bus

Buses are available from Managua on a quarter-hour basis from 5AM to 10PM (US$1). Granada is easily reached by first-class buses from neighboring Costa Rica and Honduras.

From Costa Rica

There are two main options, either take the chicken buses which costs half the price (10 US) and fuzz your way through, experience a lot of interesting sights and the heat or hop on one of the (often agonizingly) air conditioned coaches, which are comfortable, take you there in about 8-10 hours (bordercrossing might take a while, and you will have to deboard the bus twice for passports and customs) and cost US$20. The best options going from Costa Rica to Nicaragua are Central Line, TransNica and Ticabus [1]. Back from Granada to Costa Rica you might as well take the Tica Bus or NICABUS. Just ask any taxi driver in whatever city you are in to take you to the Nica or TICABUS-station.

From Managua, direct shuttles leave from the UCA terminal (University of Central America) for around C 18 or from Mercado Huembes. From Leon, catch a direct Leon-Managua-UCA shuttle for C 25.

From Honduras

From Tegucigalpa, you can also get the TICA bus, which leaves daily around 9AM for Managua, for around US$20. Then take another bus (at a different station), or taxi, to Granada.

By boat

There's a boat running twice a week from San Carlos via Ometepe to Granada and back. It leaves San Carlos at Tuesday and Friday at 2 pm.

Get around

Granada is a small city; everything can comfortably be reached by foot.

By taxi

You can hire a taxi from Managua to Granada or vice versa through Taxi Managua for 45 USD.

  • Local taxis work on set prices : 7-10 Cordobas by day and at night after 9 pm 15-20 Cordobas per person, wherever you go within the towns borders.

By bus

Buses (old stylish US or Canadian schoolbuses) go just about everywhere at about every time, you see them and if you slightly look like anybody wanting to go anywhere, be sure they'll load you on their bus. Another option are the mini busses which have a bit more set time and you can book in advance, they're more comfortable but cost a bit more.

By Carriage

Horse-drawn carriages, known as coches, are something else, ancient and useful and found everywhere but often the horses are so worn out that you should seriously ask yourself if you want to contribute to their suffering.

By boat

Granada's islets are not to be missed, and the way to see them is by boat. Boat tours leave from Puerto Asese, about 5-10 minutes from downtown by taxi.

See

A view from the Parque Central towards the Cathedral
  • There are 6 main churches : the Cathedral, La Merced, Guadalupe, Xalteva, San Francisco and María Auxiliadora, which all have interesting historical backgrounds and are in very different states.
  • Fuerte La Polvora is an 18th century fort (built in 1748) that's open for tours. A few historical exhibits are available on the main level, you can climb the towers for views of the quiet city streets, or wander through the lovely courtyard.
  • Lake Cocibolca (also known as Lake Nicaragua), is the 10th largest fresh-water lake on earth and is inhabited by Bull Sharks, informally named the Nicaragua Shark. The beach area is not the safest area in town at night and comes with a rather unpleasant smell during the day. However, during the day this is a nice place to catch a breeze, and there are many Nicaraguan families that come here to pass the time. Vendors pass selling all kinds of food. Tours of the islands are available from Puerto Asese, near the pleasant Asese restaurant (known for its boneless fish).

A bit further along the shore is the Centro Turistico, a park like area complete with bars and restuarants. It's a bit cleaner then the beach right down from the city.

  • The local market is definitely worth a glimpse, it's chaotic little market stands where you can get almost everything. The market is open everyday except holidays around and in the old Market hall, you can't miss it.
  • The Central Park with the Cathedral and the Colonial houses surrounding it. The lively center of town with a lot of handicrafts or snacks to buy, or just sit down at a bench and watch the city and its people.
  • The streets themselves with their charming Colonial colored houses are always worth a wander themselves.
  • Take a boat tour of the Isletas. Boats leave from the marina at Puerto Asese. Your guide will tell you how all the islands are owned by millionaires. You will even visit an old fort that is on the island. Not to mention you will see adorable monkeys that live in the tree.
  • Mi Museo, Calle Atravesada 505 (In front of Bancentro), (505) 2552-7614, [2]. Daily 8AM-5PM. Private collection of over 5,000 Nicaraguan Pre-Columbian ceramics. Free.

Do

Puerto Asese marina in Granada


  • Mombacho Beach Club. The heat in Nicaragua is hard to stand, so you'll love refreshing yourself in the 60-foot pool. On top of that, it's located in a gorgeous courtyard, with a bar and free WiFi. Enjoy a range of massages from aromatherapy to Shiatsu to ChocoTherapy, or just have a manicure, pedicure or facial. Entry to pool $5. Spa treatments $9-$28. [3]
  • ArtesaNic Cigars del Puente Papa Q 2 1/2 al Oeste" From Parque Central Granada, 5 1/2 blocks going West on Calle la Libertad 2552-1543 www.artesanic.com hours 10 am to 10pm. Offers an impressive selection of premium cigars from Esteli, martini and whisky bar, posh lounge area with high-speed Wi-Fi. Has an interesting offering of Nicaraguan Art and Ceramics. Lounge, Jazzy Atmosphere.
  • Vapues Tours, located next to the Cathedral (blue building) is probably the most reliable touroperator (the've been there for quite a while) in Granada. They sell tours in- and outside Granada. They have their own fleet of excellent maintained vehicles. [4]
  • Rent a bike from Bicimaximo located in the central park, next to The Cathedral. You can bike to the Laguna de Apoyo or to Puerto Asese and see the entire city in one day. They even offer packages that include a bagged lunch from The Garden Cafe - $12 for a bike rental and lunch.
  • ¡Wow Tours!. Take a boat tour around the hundreds of isletas in the Lake Nicaragua. ¡Wow Tours! is a Nicaraguan owned company that offers community tours of the islands, where you will meet the local people who inhabit them.
  • Bluemountain Horsebackriding.Discover local farming and the area around the Mombacho-Volcano on horseback.
  • Go up the church tower at the church La Merced (about 1US$) and watch the sun go down over the bustling city.
  • Take a Canopy Tour, where you will go flying on cables through the rainforest trees on the side of Mombacho Volacano. ($25USD) [5]
  • Try interesting drinks at local market stands (such as cacao de leche, linseed drink or red beet drink, beware: often painfully sugary!).
  • Get happy with Mangos! You can buy heaps of Mangos at the market for about 1 Cordoba each (which equals about a 17th of a Dollar).
  • Take a bus to Masaya and visit the local and giant hand craftmarket (good advice: better see the new than the old market, same stuff, half the price).
  • Get a very inexpensive table or seated massage at Seeing Hands Blind Massage, located in Euro Cafe on the central park.
  • You can also go to the Volcano reserve and watch over the wide land, see the Managua lake and maybe get some stinky smoke in your lungs and be happy about the beautiful nature surrounding the Volcano.
  • The Laguna de Apoyo is a deep Volcano crater lake and presumed to have the clearest water in Nicaragua, you can swim and even snorkel in there. Overnight stays with either the Bearded Monkey or the Oasis are arrangeable too. A Taxi from Granada should cost around 8 - 10 US. You can alternativly take the bus to MAnagua and get dropped of at the entrance to the Laguna de Apoyo. From there you can take a taxi (4 US).
  • Local cinema at the Hostel named "Bearded Monkey", which shows two movies each day for only about a Dollar entry-fee, has a really good selection of movies too, for friends of independent cinema, they rent DVDs all day long.
  • Velago Nicaragua offers sailing trips, courses, rentals and kayaks on Lake Nicaragua [6].
  • The Choo-Choo train There's that weird train that goes all around town, originally for kids, but hey, great fun, it plays the latest reggaeton-tunes over and over again and it only costs five cordobas. Hop on whenever you find it.
  • Casa Tres Mundos (Casa de Leones),The Foundation "Casa de los Tres Mundos" is an institution created to initiate, support and promote cultural projects in Nicaragua and Central America. Besides these artistic, musical and educational activities, which emphasize support for the poorer segments of Nicaraguan society, the foundation finances and coordinates an integrative rural development project in Malacatoya.
  • Horse and carriages circle the city center.
  • Cafe Nuit My favorite disco in Grenada. Live music starts at 10 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It is a great place to practice your salsa and reggaeton.
  • Live music at Restaurant Imagine One street north of Calle Calzada, going towards the lake on Calle Calzada from the Cathedral turn left first block (right after Pasta Pasta). One of the only places playing live classic rock (unplugged version)in the city. Live music starts at around 9 PM almost every day of the week. Check the sign posted on the door daily to see who is playing. Very relaxed atmophere and great food although a little bit pricey. No cover charge.
  • ChocoMuseo, [7]. Take a free tour of the Museum learning where chocolate comes from and the history of the evolution of chocolate. Get a hands-on lesson of how to make your own chocolate in a Chocolate Workshop for $17. They have a great all you can eat buffet brunch for $6/person that includes plenty of chocolate from crepes, pancakes, banana milkshake, and your regular US and Nica breakfast favorites. Call at least one day ahead if you are in a large group. For the extreme chocolate enthusiast, the Museum and Factory also offers tours to a cacao plantation on the Mombacho Reserve. You also get a chance to swim in the thermal waters, see the Isletas and ride on horseback. Tour cost $65 on horseback, $55 to hike.

Cigars

  • Ciudad Lounge Cigars. Nicaragua is well known for its quality Cigars. It has won several times the Cigar of the year Award. The Ciudad Lounge is a very interesting cigar experience in Granada. Here you can learn the making and history of Cigars. [8]

Learn

There are several low-budget Spanish schools in Granada.

The local Red Cross is a good option to go (The Web page of the School located there is at: http://www.granadanicaraguaspanishschool.com), since you can buy 1 on 1 Spanish lessons from them and so support them. For more options look around for flyers.

APC Spanish School is located in the heart of Granada, in the stunning former Palace of Culture, “Joaquín Pasos Argüello”, on the west side of the city’s Central Park, right next to the Cathedral. The school boasts a team of Nicaraguan teachers educated and trained in all facets of Spanish grammar, direct and dynamic teaching methods and in effective student/teacher interactions. For more information, visit the APC Spanish School website: http://spanishgranada.com/

There are local guides too, that will show you around town or the area and tell you of the interesting history of Granada, one is called Gioconda, a very nice lady, that always takes her little traditional dress and umbrella around town, she sits everyday in front of the Hospedaje Central. Her office is at Cafeteria Taza Blanca - Tel 552 2876 or mobile phone 874 7822.

Work

Volunteer opportunities abound.

La Esperanza Granada [9] is an organization that sends volunteers into local schools to help out, or supports women's working groups, built a community centre etc. etc., for the impoverished outskirts of Granada. Volunteering is completely free of charge, minimum commitment is generally eight weeks but shorter stays are possible.

Casas de la Esperanza is another organization working in the outskirts of Granada to provide housing to impoverished locals. "El Camino a Cambio" is a short documentary about the organization.

Another volunteer option is Education Plus Nicaragua [10], a local NGO that educates and feeds children in the marginalized outskirts of Granada.

Local hostels and foreign-owned shops are sometimes looking for English-speaking people, and while the pay may be good for local standards, it will be significantly lower than what one would expect in their home country.

Buy

Granada is known around the world for its high-quality rocking chairs which can be seen all around town. The main vendors a bit out of town on the road to Masaya.

If you want to go cheaper, there's the option to buy local and famous Nicaraguan pottery, which you can buy in town (very nice choice: Dona Conchy's, a restaurant which also has a little sweet store in the back, where they sell very nice pottery, handmade by the owner), but the better option is to go to Masaya where there's a bigger choice and the prices are lower.

Also very typical are the hammocks, there are tons of hammock stores and factories in Masaya, but you can also get them in town for a bit more money.

  • Lucha Libro Books, Avenida Miguel de Cervantes (1/2 block north Casa de la Mujer), [11]. 8 am - 8 pm. If you've been traveling for a while, here you'll find two things you're desperate for: great books and real coffee. By far the best selection of new and used books in Granada with thousands of English-language books as well as Spanish titles and other languages. Classics, dictionaries and study guides, Latin American non-fiction, a full collection of maps and travel guides for all of the Americas and much more. While there are bargains, expect standard prices for Latin American bookstores – books are import items in Nicaragua. (For those sticking to a strict budget, nearly every hostel in Granada has a book exchange.) They also sell Nicaragua organic oils, handmade bags and jewelry, coffee, postcards and postage, t-shirts, mace, Mayordomo chocolate and other items.

Eat

There's tons of street-vendors, selling hot dogs, revueltas, carne asada, or local specialties such as gallo pinto (rice & beans), fried plaintains, nacatamales, bajo (yuka, plantain, beef mix). You can have it all between 5 and 15 Cordobas. But keep in mind that the standard of cleanliness can vary. The local specialty is Vigoron: cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and fried pork rind (or roast pork) on mashed yuka for C 25 from the kiosks in the parque central. Great value (provided you are not a vegetarian).


  • Las Jarras, Calle Libertad, piedra bocona 25 metros al oeste (From Central Park, 2 1/2 blocks up Calle Libertad), 8582-4943. Widely considered the best place in Granada to enjoy "frito." Chicken, beef or pork, marinated and char-grilled to perfection, served on a bed of fried plantains, and topped with salad, with optional side orders of gallo pinto and fried cheese. The portions are hearty, to say the least. In adition to the tables on the street, there's a nice interior patio with a bar. $2.50 - $4.

Budget

  • La Merienda (Vegetarian cuisine), Calle La Calzada, house #450. (Across from hospedaje La Calzada and before Guadalupe Church). 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.. Twenty one delicious vegetarian meals to choose from. Friendly and relaxing. $3.50 USD $3.50 USD.
  • Pupusawa, Calle el Comercio, frente al gallo mas gallo (head south a few blocks on the road starting at the SW corner of Parque Central, Calle el Comercio, the tiny restaurant will be on your left side after you pass a shoe store with a pink awning, if you see Pali, you have gone too far). 8AM-9PM. Ridiculously cheap El Salvadorian (and some Nicaraguan) dishes. Try the burrito, as well as order a refreshing te helado cacero con durazno (homemade peach ice tea) on a hot day.> Most items $1 or less.
  • Tropicana, located on the left street going down the Cathedral (La Calzada). Offers really cheap and quite reasonable food, also breakfast, typical and Western style.>

Mid-range

  • Cafe Lucas previously Don Daffa, Parque Central, (). Located in the shadow of the Cathedral. Nicaraguan/Caribbean cuisine, in addition, they have a very nice selection of Chinese Food choices. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and exotic drinks. Vernon Hodgson from Corn Island is Proprietor and Chef.
  • Charly`s Bar & Restaurant, 4 Blocks west from Old Hospital, [12]. German cuisine and best BBC. Draft Beer and handmade Cheesecake by the owners Charly and Maria Elena.
  • NEcTaR, Calle La Calzada (1.5 block east from the cathedral), (), [13]. They arrange the local traditional meals into tasteful and beautiful dishes. They offer a selection of freshly made juices and cocktails. Live music every Thursday.
  • O'Shea's Irish Pub and Restaurant, 216 La Calzada Granada, Nicaragua (Green building with tarp in front of Dario Hotel), (508) 8454-1140, [14]. 10am - 2am. Large quantities of good food available all day, including the to die for Jalapeno steak, traditional Irish fare, and what is reported to be the best Fish & Chips in Central America. (11.930010,-85.951557)

Splurge

  • Asese. Has a beautiful location, on the edge of Lake Nicaragua, with lush foliage surrounding it and a rustic, spacious dining area. Boneless fish platters are the house specialty.
  • Café DecArte, Calle Calzada (Go one block East from the Central Park on Calle La Calzada. DecArte will be on the Northwest corner.). Offers delicious international (some organic) food and excellent drinks, snacks and meals are between 40 and 150 Cordobas, it's nicely surrounded by local art. Daily Specials.
  • Ciudad Lounge, +505 2552 1543 (), [15]. Thursday-Tuesday 10am-11pm. Eclectic Fusion cuisine restaurant. Menu includes prime cuts of tenderloin beef, chicken, lobster, fresh seafood, pastas & vegetarian dishes. This restaurant was rated by the New York Times USD 7-29.
  • El Tercer Ojo (Third Eye), (Across the street from San Fransisco Church). Offers good food, a lot of Spanish Tapas and Daily Specials in a beautiful atmosphere, Tapas and whole meals ranging between 40 and 200 Cordobas, on the side of the San Francisco-Church. Also offers art-books and a big selection of Wines. Plate US$6-12, 15% tax and 10% tip added to bill.
  • El Zaguan, (on the street along the back/east wall of the cathedral). One of the best examples of churrasco, the delicious Nica grilled steak, cooked over an open grill. Set in beautiful colonial open-air garage. entrees ~8$us.
  • La Claraboya, +505 2552 2775. Tue-Sun 7am-10pm. Fusion cuisine restaurant. Menu includes prime cuts of tenderloin beef, chicken, lobster, shrimp and fresh seafood pastas. USD 10-20.
  • Imagine, one street north of Calle Calzada (Going towards the lake on Calle Calzada from the Cathedral turn left first block (right after Pasta Pasta)), 88422587, [16]. 4 pm. Offers delicious food, excellent drinks, homemade salsas, snacks and meals are between 150 and 400 Cordobas (without value added tax). There is always live music playing, usually from 8PM, classic rock (unplugged version), great fun and atmosphere. Daily Specials.

Drink

Great drinks can be purchased from local vendors at the corner in Parque Central, such as linenseed-drink, hibiscus ("jamaica") iced-tea, or red beet drink or anything else, completely overloaded with sugar. Nice alternative: The local "Cacao" drink, milk and powdered chocolate beans, almost like chocolate milk, available in most cafes. Also "Raspados" made with crushed ice and raspberry syrup are very delicious and are usually sold by vendors around the Central Park.

And then of course, the local coffee! You have the biggest range: organic, shadegrown, fair trade...

  • Coffee La Amistad. Nice place to chill out, Steven is a big help and is full of information about trips and sights in an around town. Good coffee and Iced Tea!!
  • Cafe Lucas previously Don Daffa "Parque Central" "cafelucas@chef.net" Located in the shadow of the Cathedral. Nicaraguan/Caribbean cuisine, in addition, they have a very nice selection of Chinese Food choices. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and exotic drinks. Vernon Hodgson from Corn Island is Proprietor and Chef.

Here are a few bars worth mentioning:

  • O'Shea's Irish Pub and Restaurant, 216 La Calzada Granada, Nicaragua (Green building with tarp in front of Dario Hotel), (508) 8454-1140, [17]. 10am - 2am. Dubliner Tommy Griffin pours a mean pint of Guinness in this friendly pub. Quiz nights on Wednesdays pull a crowd all vying to win the first prize: a liter of seven-year-old Flor de Caña rum. Large quantities of good food available all day, including what is reported to be the best Fish & Chips in Central America. (11.930010,-85.951557)
  • El Bar, Hotel Plaza Colon (In front of the main square), [18]. 12PM - 10PM. El Bar offers a select wine list, classic cocktails and appetizers. Outdoor sitting and indoor AC sitting. splurge.
  • Margarita Bar & Grill, Calle la Calzada (two and a half blocks down the Calzada from the park), (505) 2552-6139, [19]. American sports bar on La Calzada right between Parque Central and Lake Nicaragua, and home of the famous "Golden Cadillac Margarita" (Cuervo Gold, Cointreau, and Grand Marnier). The restaurant serves fantastic food including daily seafood specials, baby back ribs, filet mignon, and Coney Island hot dogs all at very reasonable prices. The bar serves more variety of cocktails --and the coldest beer-- than anywhere else in Granada. Bob the owner used to run a bar in the Florida keys, so service and quality are top-notch here.
  • Mombacho Beaclub Club Bar, [20]. Mojitos, Cuba libres, and domestic and import beers offered at Mombacho Beach Club. Delicious salads, sandwiches, nachos and other specials are served
  • Granada Beach Bar, Centro Turistico, al fondo. Toward the end of the Centro Turistico, Granada Beach has live Tropical music Thursdays through Saturdays. Tons of locals come out to drink and dance the night away. budget.
  • Reilly's Tavern, Calle La Libertad (One block from Parque Central), [21]. 11am to 3am. Reilly's is serving up great food & drinks nightly with the best vibe in Granada. Longest & Cheapest Happy Hour in Nicaragua. The bar & kitchen are open late night. Monday- Pub Quiz / Tequila - Tuesdays / Wednesday - Volunteer Night (eat, drink & save the world) / Thursday - Hot Wings & All Day Happy Hour / Friday - Ladies Night / English Roast - Every Sunday. Good Stuff! (11.9306546,-85.9526454)

Sleep

  • Hostal San Angel, Catedral 1/2 cuadra al sur, Granada , Nicaragua, 25526737, [22]. A nice hostal just 50 meters from the town center. A private room with en-suite goes from USD$ 12.00 per night with breakfast included. It's cleanish and the owners are very nice and the owner speaks a bit English. They also have an internet computer and wifi. 12.
  • Hostal Las Jarras, Calle Libertad, piedra bocona (From Central Park, 2 1/2 blocks up Calle LIbertad), 8582-4943. checkin: anytime; checkout: noon-ish. A small hostal with a nice laid back atmosphere and friendly staff who speak english. The rooms are clean and affordable, and there's a lovely central patio with hammocks and chairs and tables. There's also a bar and a good cheap restaurant. Free WIFI, use of kitchen. $5 for the dorm, $10 for a single private, $16 for a double private. $5 - $16.

Budget

  • Hostal La Casita, Calle 14 de septiembre 2 1/2 blocks north of La Merced church, 25524797. Advertise themselves as the cleanest hostel in Granada. The kitchen available for use includes: a refrigerator, 2 stove-top gas burners (no oven, and burners must be lit with a match), a few pots (mostly aluminum), old dishes and silverware. Free computer & Wi-Fi in common area. Laundry service available. Receptionists are helpful. They advertise themselves as quiet, but are not averse to welcoming loud groups who stay up all night drinking in the courtyard. No television, and so sound system. A cat lives there too.
  • Backyard Hostel, Calle Libertad 2 blocks north of parque central. This hostel has a great atmosphere. Cheap bar ($2 a liter for beer) with lots of interesting people. Very clean dorms, great location, kitchen included (which is convenient, as the local market is 3 blocks away) nice hangout spot, and last but not least, a great swimming pool. You will definitely enjoy the pool during the hot hours of the day. $6 dorms, $14 rooms.

Hospedaje San Jorge y Pharmacia San Jorge located around the corner from the Rivas Bus station or straight down and through the market from the Managua Bus Sation. Super Clean, 24hr security, good price and good sized rooms with fan or ac. The owner is a nice guy, helpful and friendly, staff too. Use of a kitchen utensils, water and ice provided. Highly recommended, nice and quiet with amazing views of the Volcano from the balcony.


  • Bearded Monkey, 552-4028 (), [23]. A crowded hostel, restaurant, and bar. Free internet use, hammocks and a big and well-selected DVD-Library, great food, try the homemade Lemonade. Staff seem a bit surly. Big business, some long term travellers regard the atmosphere as "rip-off". While this is a great place to meet other travelers, it is not ideal for those who are looking to catch up on sleep. Bring some earplugs and an eye mask because loud music and bright overhead lights stay on until the wee hours of the morning. Also reports of bed bugs. US$5 for the dorm, US$10 for a single room, and 13 for a double.
  • Hostal el Momento, (), [24]. Colonial House and a brand new hostal with a really nice garden with lots of seating and lounge areas. Very good security as it is close to a bank, they also have security cameras and safe boxes in the rooms and the dorms have lockers also. The privates come with and without bathrooms but all have cable tv and there is free wifi with iPads free to use.They have a bar and cafe in the garden or you can use their guest kitchen.Great set up and willing staff looking to help in anyway. $14-$22 single room and $22-$28 double room.
  • Casa del Agua, Avenue Guzman (SE corner of Central Park, S 1/2 block on Avenue Guzman), (), [25]. Small guesthouse a 1/2 a block from the Cathedral. Has a great pool to relax in after a long hot day in Granada. All rooms have a private toilet and bath with hot water. Each room comes with a flat-screen HD television. A/C is available in the double rooms for $6. There is a large full kitchen with appliances and utensils so you can make use of the fresh food at the market that is a few blocks away. You can book the entire place for a group and there are studio apartments with a private entrance available as well. $15 for a single room and $34 for a double.
  • El Dorado in Calle Xalteva, opposite the supermarket (Lacayo). Very clean. Dormitories cost from US$5. Single rooms start at US$12. Free coffee. A courtyard with hammocks and cable TV. Tourist information and a very friendly atmosphere. Dorms are very stuff even with the fan running all night. Beds are really really comfy though and the showers downstairs are kept extremely clean! Very fun place to hang out and relax. Closed for renovation as of January, 2011
  • Hostel El Rinconcito, Calle de Libertad, del BAC 2 1/2 Al Oeste, 25524602 (), [26]. checkin: 08-07-2012; checkout: 15-07-2012. Hostal El Rinconcito is a new hostel in Granada that is run by a trustworthy and honest family. Hostal owner and staff are friendly and helpful. Hostal offers WIFI and cable television. Door closes at 02.00 AM, but you make an arrangement here with the staff very easily. *******updated******* Its a really nice place with comfortable clean rooms, the offer wifi, free kitchen, laundry and accessible prices, its a bit further from the central park but its just 3 blocks away. staff are always smiling and always asking about what you want, they like to talk with foreign people and make a good friendship. web: http://www.facebook.com/hostal.rinconcito/info 5, 10, 15 or 20 US$ for an overnight sleep at a private room with shared bathroom. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are US$ 2 each.
  • El Tiangue, Calle Atravesada (near intersection of Calle Estrada). No frills, but great price and location. 10 USD for a private double room (spotless bathroom two doors down). Three blocks from Parque Central, around the corner from the Oasis, gated entrance. Upstairs from the street market, 2-3 blocks from busses and grocery store. Awesome quick, cheap food is across the street (about $1 for a full meal), in a green building that can be easy to miss during the street's busy hours. 11 Jan 2009 Update:Security is an issue here. We had all our credit cards and cash stolen from our locked and dead-bolted room. The owner could not explain how someone could access our room when the security was sitting outside it.
  • Hospedaje Esfinge, Across from the Mercado on Calle Atravesada this very quiet and quite large place is fairly nice for a budget option. In early 2009 a double with shared bath was 13 dollars, and was festively painted. A safe place, but near the worse part of town. The entrance is watched 24 hours a day by the wife and husband owners and another man. Quite time begins at 10, which basically means you have to turn the TV off and if you want to go out, you just have to knock to get back in.
  • Hospedaje Central, 1 block west of the parque central in "Calle La Calzada". Don't expect fancy, but it is comfortable enough. It is run by a nice family. It has an unbeatable location, sitting in the main street where all the cafes, bars, and street performers can be found. It has a front bar/restaurant as well but isn't a very lively place to be normally. 5 USD per night in dorm. 12 USD for a room with private bathroom. Free WiFi in room and free coffee. The food is not the best, but the Mojito Happy-Hour is unbeaten: Cervezas C 10 per bottle or C 22 for a litro, 2 Mojitos for C 25.
  • La Libertad, Calle La Libertad. A nice, clean, quiet hostel in an airy and spacious colonial building. Well-equipped kitchen. Warm atmosphere with wifi and three computers with internet. Unlimited coffee in the morning included. Dorms US$6, private w/bath US$20, w/o US$15.
  • The Dolphin GuestHouse, Reparto San Juan Lote Number 5, [27]. Apartments in Nicaragua. Beautiful views of Nicaragua lake, mombacho volcano, and cathedral.
  • The Oasis, Calle Estrada 109, 552 8006 (), [28]. A bit more expensive than the other hostels, but very nice. Clean and safe, free 15 minute phone call home on their Internet phone (to US, Canada and Europe), free Internet, a small restaurant that mainly serves breakfast, modern colonial style interior, a courtyard with hammocks and another courtyard with a small pool. Multiple tv's with a large selection of dvds to choose from. Great view from the rooftop pila as you wash your clothes. They also have private, air conditioned rooms for around $20/night. Dorm bed : 9 USD.
  • Casa Sacuanjoche GuestHouse, Ave. La Sirena, casa #207 (From La Gran Francia Hotel , 1 block east, 1 block 1/2 south.), 2552-0230 (), [29]. Private bathrooms, ceiling and standing fans, cable TV, free WiFi, purified water, Perfect for long term and volunteers

Mid-range

  • Hotel La Mesa del Padrino, From the S. Francisco square, 1 and 1/2 blocks North, in front of the Gymnasium Sport, [30]. A small, family run hotel with en-suite rooms and a large tropical garden. $35.
  • Hotel Casa San Francisco (csfgranada@yahoo.com), 207, Calle Corrales (Diagonal from the San Francisco Convent), 1-505-2552-8235, [31]. checkin: 1pm; checkout: 11am. Beautiful boutique hotel with pool, wi-fi, complimentary breakfast, air conditioning, hot water, tv/cable. The first boutique hotel in Granada, serving travelers for 10 years, check out trip advisor. Great staff to take care of your travel plans, also offering, longer term housing. www.hotelcasasanfrancisco.com $45-$70.
  • Casa Silas Bed and Breakfast, 206 Calle La Concepción (1.5 blocks west of the market), 011 505 8883 6834 (), [32]. The casa features 2 guestrooms with wireless internet, AC, complimentary VoiP telephone to US, Canada and Mexico, complimentary cell phones, on-site bicycles, swimming pool and breakfast. $55.
  • Hotel El Club, at Calle La Liberdad and Avenida Barricada, 2-552-4245 (), [33]. The hotel features 11 rooms with wireless Internet. This hotel doubles as a disco, so be ready to party.
  • Hotel con Corazón, at Calle Santa Lucia 141, [34]. Hotel con Corazón is a beautiful hotel (15 rooms) in the center of Granada. A double for $64/71 including taxes and a extensive breakfast. Swimmingpool and WIFI included. It has a special twist, discover how your visit helps Nicaragua build a brighter future with your stay.
  • Hotel Casa Vivaldi, Calle El Caimito, from the Alcaldía, 4,5 b. to the lake. http://www.hotel-granada-nicaragua.com Discover one of the most comfortable hotels in Granada, Nicaragua: an oasis with the biggest pool in town surrounded by tropical vegetation will offer to you beautifull moments of relax, away from city daze. $44-$54/night
  • Hotel El Almirante, Calle Corrales 111, Granada, 505 2552 4628 (), [35]. In a renovated colonial house in the historic center of Granada. The hotel rooms have bathrooms, flat screen TV and safe deposit box. Swimming pool, free wireless internet access and cable TV. $60.
  • Hotel Jerico, Calle Calzada, Granada, (), [36]. The rooms have air-con, big bed, sofa and free wi-fi. Two computers in front for use too. The place doesnt have much atmosphere, but for the price, it might be the best deal in the area. Its also far enough down the main strip that it doesnt get noisy. $30.


  • Hotel Spa Granada, Calle Atravesada, Across from Bancentro, 505 2552 46 78 (), [37]. In the largest intact surviving colonial house in Granada. The room rental includes a 30 minute massage and access to the largest pool in the historic center of Granada. $60.


  • La Islita Boutique Hotel, Calle El Cisne, 3 blocks south of Calle La Calzada. http://www.laislita.com Chic, Intimate, Stylish; cozy boutique hotel; eight rooms with comfortable beds, AC, WiFi, cable TV, private bathroom, continental breakfast; stunning rooftop terrace. $50-$75/night
  • Hotel La Pergola, from City Hall, 3 blocks towards the lake, 2-552 - 4221 (), [38]. An antique colonial house built in the XIXth century that has been restored conserving the characteristic of the wonderful houses of Granada.

Splurge

  • Hotel Colonial Granada, (50 meters from plaza), +505 552 7581, [39]. from US$55.
  • Hotel Plaza Colon, (across the street from the central plaza), +505 2552 8489, [40]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Beautiful boutique hotel. $79-104.
  • Jicaro Island Eco Lodge, +505 2558 7702, [41]. http://www.jicarolodge.com On Lake Nicaragua. Very close to downtown with easy access to Granada. Private all-inclusive. Secluded 2-story casitas. Swimming Pool. Free Wi-Fi. Yoga retreats. from US$300.
  • Hotel Spa Granada, (Calle Atravesada in front of Bancentro), +505 2552 4678, [42]. from US$49.
  • La Alhambra, right in the middle of town. beautiful. $50-$80/night
  • La Gran Francia, right in the middle of town. beautiful. $90-$200/night

Contact

Internet -- up to 20 cord./hour.

Stay safe

Nicaragua was rated the safest country in Central America, however, minor gang violence has been filtering into Nicaragua from Honduras and El Salvador. The capital, Managua, has the largest number of inhabitants but the majority of crime there is petty theft. Granada, the second largest city, is generally safe but using common sense and always walking with someone else at night here and everywhere else in the country is recommended.

In Granada, the moneychangers are licensed and provide a terrific alternative to the banks.

Cope

Social workers in Granada strongly advise to not give money or food to begging children. In Granada the homeless situation is not nearly as severe as in other poor cities. Orphanages and charity organizations take care of homeless children, and poor people have access to charity kitchens. The kids that beg and sell items to tourists do this to make easy money, and are being exploited by adults. Anything you give to these children keeps them from the place they belong: in school. [43], [44], [45]

Power outages can be frequent, especially during the dry (tourist) season. Electricity, water and internet can go out at any time and it is advised that you shower early to avoid the unexpected water shutdown. Occasionally inclement weather will create an outage, as you'd expect anywhere.

Some will advise not to drink the tap water as it will make you sick, though most have no problems. Also, make sure when you buy bottled water that the top has not been opened because some people without scruples will fill the bottles with tap water.

You must also be careful with the insects-be sure to bring repellent as Nicaragua does have malaria. This is especially a concern during the wet season.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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