Three days in Granada, Nicaragua: the must-sees & do’s

Gabrielle Koster

Nicaragua has lots to offer. From beautiful beaches (in Popoyo, San Juan del Sur and the Corn Islands) to colorful places like Granada. I spend three days in Granada, here are my recommendations.

What to do?

Walk around – Granada is a beautiful city filled with colored buildings, it’s proper eye candy. Find the beautiful and iconic yellow church and step inside or even go to the top for a city view. Watch your bags though, there are quite some pickpockets on the loose.

Make your own chocolate – Go to the Mansion de Chocolate for a chocolate making workshop. The guide will tell you all about the proces of chocolate making and you’ll be making your own chocolate, from roasting the beans to adding all the ingredients necessary. I did this on Valentines Day and had so much fun. It isn’t cheap (around $25 pp), but worth it. Also possible: have a chocolate beauty treatment, like a chocolate facial. Sounds delish, doesn’t it?

Visit the Masaya Volcano – If you’re mesmerized by nature’s extra-ordinaries, definitely visit the volcano. There’s something magical about seeing lava, the inside of the earth. But know that it’s a very busy tourist attractions (so you’re in line for a while) and you’re only allowed to stay up for about 15 minutes because of the fumes. And if it’s cloudy, you won’t be able to see a lot. This will cost you about $20 pp, including transfer.

Score some souvenirs near Central Parque – Quite different from the Central Park in New York, but definitely fun to visit. Around this neighborhood you can find some market stalls with souvenirs (which are surprisingly hard to come by in Nicaragua, or at least where I’ve been). Score a local snack and find a bench to sit on in the shade.

Where to eat?

There are plenty places to eat. Some places I liked: The Garden Caf√© (for a vegan curry), La Tercer Ojo (for veggie taco’s) and Pitaya Bowls (for delicious breakfast bowls).

Where to stay?

There are tons of cute hostels and hotels in Nicaragua. I stayed at Encuentros for three days, it’s a super popular hotel with private rooms and dorm rooms. It’s located in the main street, near restaurants and not far from the Central Parque. It has an amazing pool and two bars (one above the pool and one in the front of the hotel) where lots of people outside Encuentros come to hang out. Since Granada can get really, really hot, the airconditioning in the rooms is quite nice. They also organize parties every now and then. And if there’s no party at the hotel, there’s plenty of fun things to do at night in the neighborhood. Or you can stay in and watch Netflix on the flat screen in your room. The hotel is really pretty and has the typical Granada-architecture, including in-home garden. The breakfast is also pretty good.