Granada is the oldest colonial city in Nicaragua and 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. It is the city in Nicaragua with the highest presence of expats and one of the most touristically "developed", both these things will be immediately apparent to the visitor, especially compared to other cities in Nicaragua.
Granada, nicknamed La Gran Sultana after her namesake in Spain, is one of the oldest cities of Nicaragua and one of the first European settlements in the Americas that lasted. A rich town for most of the colonial period, Granada has always been and continues to be a conservative city. As a (sort of) "Caribbean Port", connected to the ocean by the lake and the Rio San Juan, Granada was attacked by pirates several times in its early history. However the attack that left the biggest mark on the city was carried out by an American.
When in the 1850s Granada's liberal rival León was out of ideas how to win the civil war it had with Granada on and off since the independence of Nicaragua, the liberals of León asked American "Filibuster" (back than a term for a mercenary captain that conquered Latin American countries and territories) William Walker of Tennessee for help. What they didn't know was that Walker wanted power for himself and after defeating the conservatives declared himself president and proceeded to invade other Central American countries to enlarge his new won empire, with designs of making it an US slave state. Although he was defeated by an effort of (almost) all of Central America in the end this didn't happen until he had burned down Granada and allegedly put a sign in the scorched earth claiming "here was Granada".
The town recovered however and became the dominating force culturally and politically for the next thirty years until the liberal general Jose Santos Zelaya took control of the country. You can still see a lot of the wealth and power Granada once had in its colonial houses and churches. And there is still a monument for some former president or other who was born here at almost every corner downtown.
Granada still is very much a conservative town and the ruling Sandinistas are not as well liked - to say the least - here as they are in León , which contributes to their ongoing rivalry. Today however Granada is also notable for winning awards in American magazines as one of the supposedly most live-worthy places on earth and many retired Gringos have made Granada their second home. Many colonial houses and even some small islets just out of town in lake Nicaragua are still for sale so ask the locals if you want to move here long term and have the necessary cash on hand.
Although the Gringo-influence here is stronger than in most other places of Nicaragua Granada has lost nothing of its charm and continues to attract tourists, locals and expats alike.
Fly to Managua (the capital of Nicaragua) and from there make your way by bus (every half hour from Mercado Huembes or the 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 (s)he'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 (IATA: MGA). Flights originate in San Jose, Costa Rica's capital and also from Liberia (IATA: LIR) in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
The airport on Ometepe (from where a boat takes roughly three hours to Granada) only receives domestic flights (from San Carlos, Managua and San Juan del Norte) as of 2015, but this may change in the future.
The 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.
Yes you can get there by rental car, which is often really expensive to hire, since imported cars are expensive too and the risk of theft is high. Most of the principal highways are in excellent condition, however other obstacles can surprise you, so be alert. Secondary roads range from paved to gravel. The roads from the airport are excellent on the most direct route.
From Costa Rica, take the Panamerican Highway, which leads from San José through Liberia, the border crossing at Peñas Blancas, first bigger town in Nicaragua is Rivas, after Nandaime take a right onto the Granada-Nandaime road. Look for Granada-related signs.
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 ordinario buses which costs half the prize (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 (crossing the border might take a while, and you will have to exit the bus twice for passports and customs) and cost US$20. The best options going from Costa Rica to Nicaragua are Central Line, TransNica and Ticabus. Back from Granada to Costa Rica you might as well take the Tica Bus or NICABUS. Just ask any taxi driver in whatever city you are in to take you to the Nica or TICABUS-station.
From Managua, direct shuttles leave from the UCA terminal (University of Central America) for around C 18 or from Mercado Huembes. From Leon, catch a direct Leon-Managua-UCA shuttle for C$ 25. Unfortunately, there is no scheduled public transport of any kind that does the León Granada run directly, so you'll have to change buses in Managua.
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 2PM. The trip to Ometepe takes about three hours. San Carlos-Granada is roughly twelve hours one-way.
Granada is a small city; everything can comfortably be reached by foot.
You can hire a taxi from Managua to Granada or vice versa through Taxi Managua for 45 USD.
- Airport pickups can be organized through emailing Michael@projectbonafide.com or in country Angel can be called directly at 8.828.2804
- Local taxis work on set prices : 10 Cordobas by day and at night after 9PM 20 Cordobas per person, wherever you go within the towns borders.
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 buses which have a bit more set time, they're more comfortable and also faster but cost a bit more.
Horse-drawn carriages, known as coches, are a wonderful way to see the extent of the city limits. From the cemetery in the southwest, to the converted Rail Station in the north, to the water front in the east. 30USD for an hour and a half tour.
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. Try to book them as a group as it gets cheaper for each individual. Also a boat that is almost full might make special deals for a single traveler or a small group
Most hotels and hostels rent bikes and if yours doesn't, some are willing to rent to people staying elsewhere. You should pay roughly $10 a day. As the city is rather flat and traffic is manageable it is a good way to get around, although the heat might get uncomfortable.
- 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 restaurants. 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. Daily 8AM-5PM. Private collection of over 5,000 Nicaraguan Pre-Columbian ceramics. Free.
- 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-$28.
- Rent a bike from Mapache located on Calle Cisne, 2nd left off Calle La Calzada. You can bike the entire city in one day.
- ¡Wow Tours!. Take a boat tour around the hundreds of isletas in the Lake Nicaragua. ¡Wow Tours! is a Nicaraguan owned company that offers community tours of the islands, where you will meet the local people who inhabit them.
- Bluemountain Horsebackriding.Discover local farming and the area around the Mombacho-Volcano on horseback.
- Go up the church tower at the Iglesia La Merced (1US$) 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)
- 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 Computadoras de Granada, Calle 14 de Septiembre, 1/2c. south of the Firehall (Bomberos).
- 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 San Simian Resort or Laguna Beach Club can be arranged. A Taxi from Granada should cost around 15US. You can alternatively 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.
- 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 de los Tres Mundos (Casa de los 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.
- Live music at Restaurant Imagine 1st left off Calle la Calzada, going towards the lake on Calle la Calzada from the Cathedral turn left first block (right after Cafe de Arte). One of the only places playing live classic rock (unplugged version) in the city. Live music starts at around 9PM almost every day of the week. Check the sign posted on the door daily to see who is playing. Very relaxed atmosphere and great food although a little bit pricey. No cover charge.
- Vida Granada Before you head out on your day of discovery, be sure to have a look at the city's arts calendar for a complete listing of cultural events in the city — from live music, film, literary, arts events and cultural celebrations, the calendar is the source in Granada.
- ChocoMuseo. 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. 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.
There are several Spanish language schools in Granada:
Casa Nica Spanish School (http://casanicaspanish.com/) is a cooperative of women that has been teaching Spanish since 1998. We tailor Spanish classes according to your skill level and interests, and we make sure that you have a lot of fun while meeting people and getting to know our community through fabulous afternoon activities. We can also provide home-stay accommodations which will further enhance your learning experience while giving you the opportunity to make friends with a local family. And, if you are interested volunteering, we can connect you with our favorite local organizations that do amazing things to improve our community.
The local Red Cross is a good option to go (The Web page of the School located there is here), since you can buy 1 on 1 Spanish lessons from them and so support them. For more options, look around for flyers.
Volunteer opportunities abound. La Esperanza Granada is an organization that sends volunteers into local schools to help out, or supports women's working groups, built a community center 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. Another volunteer option is Educación Plus de Nicaragua, a local NGO that educates and feeds children in the marginalized outskirts of Granada.
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 Masatepe.
If you want to go cheaper, there's the option to buy local and famous Nicaraguan pottery, which you can buy in town, but the better option is to go to San Juan de Oriente where there's a more varied selection and the experience of meeting the artisans.
Also very typical are the hammocks, there are several hammock stores and factories in Masaya, but you can find them made in Granada on Calle Xalteva, a half bloc west of the central park at Tio Antonio http://tioantonio.org/eng/eng_content/eng_child1.htm.
- Lucha Libro Books, Calle Calzada (1st left off Calle La Calzada). 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. Classics, dictionaries and study guides, Latin American non-fiction, a full collection of Lonely Planet 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 calendars, postcards and postage, t-shirts, Mayordomo chocolate and other things. Lucha Libro also serves smoothies, fresh coffees ranging from drip to cold brew (including bottles of concentrate to go) to frappes, fresh fruit salads, amazing pastries, bags of dried fruits and other reasonably-priced fare to eat in (the store has tables inside and outside) or to go.
There are many street vendors selling quesillos, tamales, revueltas, carne asada, and other local specialties such as gallo pinto (rice & beans), fried plantains, nacatamales, bajo (yucca, plantain, beef mix). Very inexpensive. The local specialty is Vigoron: cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and fried pork rind (or roast pork) on mashed yucca for NIO40 from the kiosks in the parque central. Great value (provided you are not a vegetarian).
- Las Jarras, Calle Libertad (From Central Park, 2 1/2 blocks up Calle Libertad), ☎ +505 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 addition to the tables on the street, there's a nice interior patio with a bar. USD2.50-4.
- The Garden Cafe, Calle La Libertad (1st left off Calle La Calzada, One block north), ☎ +505 2552 8582. 11:00-22:00. Friendly and relaxing. USD3.50.
- Pupusawa, Calle el Comercio (Go S 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). 08:00-21:00. Ridiculously cheap El Salvadorian (and some Nicaraguan) dishes. Try the burrito, as well as order a refreshing té helado cacero con durazno (homemade peach ice tea) on a hot day. Most items USD1 or less.
- Tropicana (On the left street going down from the cathedral (La Calzada)). Offers really cheap and quite reasonable food, also breakfast.
- Cafe Tropical (Parque Central). Nicaraguan/Caribbean cuisine, in addition, they have a very nice selection of Chinese food. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and exotic drinks.
- Charly`s Bar & Restaurant, 4 blocks west of Old Hospital, ☎ +505 2 5522942. German cuisine and best BBC. Draft beer and homemade cheesecake by owners Charly and Maria Elena.
- NEcTaR, Calle La Calzada (1.5 block E of the cathedral), ☎ +505 2552 6095. They arrange the local traditional meals into tasteful and beautiful dishes. They offer a selection of freshly made juices and cocktails.
- Café de los Sueños, Calle La Calzada (In front of the school), ☎ 50525527272. 11:00-22:30. Closed on Mondays. Canadian Mexican owned café offering crepes, paninis, salads and more. Great coffee and even better deserts. Try the chocolate & coffee cake.
- 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 E 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 NIO40-150. Surrounded by local art. Daily specials.
- La Claraboya, ☎ +505 2552 2775. Tu-Su, 07:00-22:00. Fusion cuisine restaurant. Menu includes prime cuts of tenderloin beef, chicken, lobster, shrimp and fresh seafood pastas. USD10-20.
- Imagine (Going towards the lake on Calle Calzada from the cathedral turn left first block (right after Pasta Pasta)). Offers delicious food, excellent drinks, homemade salsas, snacks and meals are between NIO150-400 (without value added tax). There is always live music playing, usually from 20:00, classic rock (unplugged version), great fun and atmosphere. Daily specials.
- El Tercer Ojo (Third Eye) (Across the street from San Francisco Church). Offers good food, a lot of tapas and specials in a beautiful atmosphere, Tapas and whole meals ranging between NIO40-200. Also offers art-books and a big selection of wine. Plate USD6-12, 15% tax and 10% tip added to bill.
- El Zaguan (On the street along the back/E wall of the cathedral). The best churrasco, the delicious Nica grilled steak, cooked over an open grill. Set in beautiful colonial open-air garage. USD8.
Granadans do most of their grocery shopping in the huge chaotic central market (along Calle El Comercio, aka Calle Atravesada, a few blocks south of downtown) or in a similarly chaotic Palí supermarket (same area).
Besides Palí, the city has two other supermarkets, cleaner, less crowded, and more upscale: La Union and La Colonia, which are located next to each other in Calle La Inmaculada about a kilometer northwest of the central square. La Colonia is the more "upscale" of the two, with a better selection of products such as wine, ice cream, or exotic (to non-Nicaraguans) fruit. There is also a good bakery a block or two west of La Colonia (on the same, southern, side of the street).
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, shade grown, 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, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. "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.
Here are a few bars worth mentioning:
- O'Shea's Irish Pub, Calle la Calzada (Green building with tarp in front of Dario Hotel). 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. (WARNING: Staff here are notorious for short-changing customers and padding the bill. Complaints to the owner fall on deaf ears.)
- El Bar, Hotel Plaza Colon (In front of the main square). 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. 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 Beach Club Bar. 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.
- Hostal San Angel, Catedral 1/2 cuadra al sur, Granada , Nicaragua, ☎ +505 2 5526737. 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), ☎ +505 8582-4943. Check-in: anytime, check-out: noon-ish. A small hostal with a nice laid back atmosphere and friendly staff which speaks 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, $12 for a double private. $5 - $12.
- Hostal La Casita, Calle 14 de septiembre 2 1/2 blocks north of La Merced church, ☎ +505 25524797. Advertise themselves as the cleanest hostel in Granada. Excellent full kitchen available for use. Free computer & Wi-Fi in common area. Laundry service available. Receptionists couldn't be more helpful. Mostly quiet, but still laid back with a good common area for meeting other people. Excellent, safe location.
- Bearded Monkey, ☎ +505 2 552-4028, e-mail: email@example.com. 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 (Calle el Arsenal,close to Calle Atravesada,1 block north of Parque Central), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 and make use of the Spa for a massage. Great set up and willing staff looking to help in anyway. $12-$16 single room and $16-$26 double room.
- Casa del Agua, Avenue Guzman (SE corner of Central Park, S 1/2 block on Avenue Guzman), e-mail: email@example.com. 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 $34 for a double.
- Hostel El Rinconcito, Calle de Libertad, del BAC 2 1/2 Al Oeste, ☎ +505 25524602, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 04-09-2010, check-out: 13-01-2011. Hostal El Rinconcito is a new hostel in Granada that is run by a trustworthy and honest family. Hostal owner and staff are friendly and helpful. Hostal offers WIFI and cable television. Door closes at 02.00 AM, but you make an arrangement here with the staff very easily. 5, 10, 15 or 20 US$ 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.
- 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, ☎ +505 885-5443, +505 896-7514, e-mail: email@example.com. Apartments in Nicaragua. Beautiful views of Nicaragua lake, mombacho volcano, and cathedral.
- The Oasis, Calle Estrada 109, ☎ +505 2 552 8006, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.), ☎ +505 2552-0230, e-mail: email@example.com. Private bathrooms, ceiling and standing fans, cable TV, free WiFi, purified water, Perfect for long term and volunteers
- Hotel La Mesa del Padrino, From the S. Francisco square, 1 and 1/2 blocks North, in front of the Gymnasium Sport. A small, family run hotel with en-suite rooms and a large tropical garden. $35.
- Hotel Casa San Francisco (firstname.lastname@example.org), 207, Calle Corrales (Diagonal from the San Francisco Convent), ☎ +505-2552-8235. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 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. $45-$70.
- Casa Silas Bed and Breakfast, at Calle La Concepción 1.5 blocks west of the market (http://vidagranada.com/map_casasilasbb.html), ☎ +505 8883 6834, e-mail: email@example.com. The casa features 2 guestrooms with wireless internet, AC, complimentary VoiP telephone to US, Canada and Mexico, swimming pool and full breakfast. $65.
- Hotel El Club, at Calle La Liberdad and Avenida Barricada, ☎ +505 2-552-4245, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. 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 beautiful moments of relaxation, away from city daze. $44-$54/night
- Hotel El Almirante, Calle Corrales 111, Granada, ☎ +505 2552 4628, e-mail: email@example.com. 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, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The rooms have air-con, big bed, sofa and free wi-fi. Two computers in front for use too. The place doesn't 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 doesn't get noisy. $30.
- Hotel Spa Granada, Calle Atravesada, Across from Bancentro, ☎ +505 2552 46 78, e-mail: Enjoy@HotelSpaGranada.com. 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. 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, ☎ +505 2-552 - 4221, e-mail: email@example.com. An antique colonial house built in the XIXth century that has been restored conserving the characteristic of the wonderful houses of Granada.
- Hotel Plaza Colon (across the street from the central plaza), ☎ +505 2552 8489. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Beautiful boutique hotel. $79-104.
- Jicaro Island Eco Lodge, ☎ +505 2558 7702, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- 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
Internet -- up to 20 cord./hour.
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 sixth 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. Robberies are known to have occurred along the Peninsula de Asese. If you plan a tour keep your wits´about you and maybe leave the camera in the hotel.
In Granada, the moneychangers are licensed and provide a terrific alternative to the banks.
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.
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 insect repellent or buy it at just about any pharmacy, as Nicaragua does have dengue. This is especially a concern during the wet season. Though malaria does exist in Nicaragua, Granada is said to be unaffected by it. Clothes that cover most of your skin as a precaution against insects can't hurt, though.