Granada Nicaragua, oldest town in the Americas, Granada is the most popular destination with travelers to Nicaragua. Located just 30 miles southeast of Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, Granada sits on the Northwestern shore of Lake Nicaragua (Cocibolca) the sweet sea and surrounded by spectacular views of Volcano Mombacho this colonial town will take you back in time. Horse drawn carriages, churches of colonial architecture, to cobble stone streets lined with cafe and restaurants, one will find the friendly people and laid back atmosphere that Granada offers is a must stop destination in the travels of Nicaragua.
Settled in 1524 by Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba during the start of the Spanish conquest, Granada is the oldest city in Central America. Called at times the Great Sultan in reference to its namesake across the Atlantic where at the time the Spaniards had just defeated a Moorish stronghold. As with most colonial cities, Granada is built around Parque Central, this is where the heart and soul of the city is found. Granada’s Cathedral is located on the Parque Central along with shops a few of Granada’s hotels as well as stalls with the locals selling traditional food and handicrafts. Radiating out from the Parque Central one can wander the narrow cobblestone streets; to the west is the open air central market. Following along the narrow streets you might find an open door giving you a glimpse of the Casonas (large colonial houses) hidden behind the walls along the streets. Spy upon beautiful inner gardens filled with tropical plants and patios with rocking chairs. Outdoor cafes and restaurants line the streets as well as a variety of shops. Heading east to the Lake Nicaragua from the Parque Central along Calle la Calzada one will find the area alive at night with a variety of restaurants and disco bars.
Situated on the northwestern shores of Lake Nicaragua, Granada receives a steady climate, constant breezes flow off the lake to give the city a pleasant year round temperature. Being located on Lake Nicaragua also had its advantages for trade and commerce, with an easy access to the Pacific Ocean through the Rio San Juan. This access to the Pacific helped the Spaniards make Granada a center of trade. This trade passage also had some disadvantages, Granada being rich soon became a target of Pirates, three times during the years 1665 to 1670 Pirates entered and ransacked the city of Granada.
Granada offers the traveler a great staging point to explore not only the city but surrounding natural beauties and smaller towns in the area. From the nearby Volcano’s of Mombacho and Masaya to Lago Apoya and the Mirador at Catrina to the small town markets of Masaya and San Juan de Oriente, or maybe just a quite boat ride along the Isletas de Granada in Lake Nicaragua.
There is no shortage of accommodations in Granada, from budget minded hostels to Old World Colonial hotels there is a price range for all travelers.
Thinking of heading to Granada? The distance from Nicaraguas only International Airport, Augusto C. Sandino International Airport is a short 18 miles away. Making travel time and transfers very easy and economical.