Granada is a charming town with cobblestone streets and plenty of traveler-friendly spots. One of Central Americaâ€™s oldest towns and Nicaraguaâ€™s first, Granada was founded on the shores of Lago de Nicaragua and the base of VolcĂˇn Mombacho in 1524.
Today it is a hub for travelers taking daytrips in the area or for those who just want to relax in this peaceful town loaded with international restaurants and inexpensive lodging. Most attractions are within a six-block radius of the Parque Central. Lago de Nicaragua is a 15-minute walk from the center of town. Just a few blocks south of the main pier on Lago de Nicaragua there is a lovely stretch of restaurants, bars and picnic spots along the lakeshore.
Highlights in Granada:
The spacious and active Parque Central is almost always populated by food stalls. Centrally located just south of the larger Plaza de la Independencia, most of the hotels and international restaurants are in this area and in the blocks leading towards the lake.
The Centro TurĂstico is a 2 km stretch of lakefront restaurants, picnic areas and playgrounds shaded by mango trees. There are a few beaches but the water is polluted. There is a small entrance fee into the complex just south of the main pier near town.
The Lago de Nicaragua offers several daytrips by boat which can be easily arranged at tour agencies in Granada, through your hotel, or down at the pier.
- Las Isletas: A group of over 350 little islands scattered in the Lago de Nicargua were formed by the last eruption of VolcĂˇn Mombacho, over 10,000 years ago. The islands are rich in birdlife and some have small restaurants. Catch a motorboat from the main pier or from the southern end of the Centro TurĂstico.
- Reserva Natural VolcĂˇn Mombacho: Declared a protected area in 1999, the VolcĂˇn Mombacho looms over Granada sending up a puff of smoke from time to time to remind the town of its presence. The last volcanic activity was in 1570. Today, there are some excellent hiking paths through a cloud forest within the volcanoâ€™s national park. Make arrangements in Managua or Granada and you can stay at the rustic lodge-style biological research station. Other activities available in the park are: canopy tours on the east slope of Mombacho, crater diving, and visits to the butterfly reserve.-The nearby San Juan de Oriente is a small town with Nicaraguaâ€™s best pottery shop.