Granada has been in the news a lot lately. US News Money recently wrote a piece on Granada’s beautiful sites and incredibly affordable cost of living. The Seattle Times wrote a similar article about Granada’s well preserved, colonial style buildings and vibrant street life. I recently had the pleasure of visiting this historic Nicaraguan town and I can tell you that it certainly lives up to all of the hype it’s been receiving lately.
Granada is probably most well known for its cathedrals. Granada is home to some of the most well preserved colonial cathedrals in Nicaragua. I was able to visit several of them while there. The Cathedral of Granada is probably the most famous. It is located in the center of town, directly next to the central park. Its yellow painting and white trim (very well maintained) transport one back to days of the past. You can even go up into one of the cathedral’s towers, which offers a stunning, 360° view of the town.
Right next door to the hotel I’m staying in is La Merced Church. This historic cathedral looks, from the outside, as if it hasn’t been touched since it was first built. On the inside, however, it is very fresh, clearly painted recently, with sturdy pews and many high quality statues and religious icons. After La Merced I visit the St. Francisco Covenant. This impressive cathedral is well maintained, but certainly has that colonial-era feel to it. These are only some of the historic cathedrals one can visit while in Granada. Granada certainly lives up to its reputation of being home to the best collection of colonial cathedrals in Nicaragua.
The Malecon Port is another major attraction in Granada. Many people come here for the tours of the islets surrounding the port. Many of the islands are now the residences of prominent Nicaraguans, and the houses located on the islands are quite astounding. Other interesting stops in the tour include a colonial-era naval fort, as well as the isla de los monos (Island of the Monkeys). This island is home to a group of capuchin monkeys. Currently, it is not known exactly how many inhabit it. The tour goes literally right up to the shore, and I even feed some of the monkeys, including one of the baby capuchins. Very fun.
Malecon Port also houses many bars, clubs, and restaurants. Upon the completion of the tour of the islands, I head to one of the local restaurants along the Malecon. A fight between Nicaraguan native Román “El Chocolatito” González and Hawaiian Brian Viloria is happening that night in Madison Square Garden. The restaurant has the fight projected on a large screen, and I watch, cheering on El Chocolatito with everyone else and feeling just like one of the locals. Native Granadans, and Nicaraguans in general, are a very friendly and welcoming group.
Granada is also home to many interesting museums. On my second day in town, I enjoy a visit to one of these museums, the Chocolate Museum. It is surprisingly informative and once the tour is over I sample a traditional Nicaraguan drink, the pinolillo. This drink consists of cocoa and ground maize, and can be served with added sugar and milk, which I would highly recommend. A very interesting drink, and one I won’t soon forget. The Chocolate Museum is just one of many museums in Granada.
Between the multitude of colonial cathedrals, the exciting island tours, the abundant cultural life at the Malecon Port, and the plethora of museums, it is no wonder why Granada has been featured so much lately in the news as a top travel destination. Plan a trip down here and see for yourself all of the wonders that Granada has to offer.
If you’d like to read more about all that Granada has to offer, you can read the entirety of the articles mentioned earlier in this piece here:
US News Money article: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2015/10/20/retire-to-nicaraguas-crown-jewel
Seattle Times Article: http://www.seattletimes.com/life/travel/mixing-history-and-street-life-in-nicaragua/