This gorgeous colonial city has some lovely sights to see in around it, but the best part about it is strolling through the colourful streets, stumbling upon old churches and finding cute little cafes to eat at.
Parque Central is, as always, the place to be. It’s a bustling park full of little stalls selling hand made souvenirs and food, and is surrounded by the cathedral, the Bishop’s Residence and some great colonial architecture. It’s a great place to relax, day or night.
One of the highlights of Granada was a visit to the old and beautiful Iglesia la Merced. Pay $1 and you can climb to the top of the tower, if you can stand the narrow winding staircase you are rewarded with breathtaking views of the city. You can see the colourful buildings, the red roofs and the volcanoes far away in the distance.
If you’re still not fed up with all the colonial architecture of the city then I would also recommend visiting the old Iglesia de Guadalupe on the way to Lago de Nicaragua, and the colourful Iglesia Xatlteva, two blocks up from Iglesia la Merced.
A short walk along a trendy street lined with fancy restaurants and tour operators brings you to the shores of Lago de Nicaragua. As you walk along the shoreline you’ll eventually arrive at the Centro Turistico. I’m sure it’s busy in the right season… but it was pretty deserted when we arrived.
We heard you could kayak around Las Isletas, a cluster of over 350 islands, some are inhabited by monkeys, some by people with their glorious private mansions, what a life. After talking to a local guy he drove us to his shop on the back of his motorbike and kitted us up with kayaks, paddles and life jackets. It started out great, but we ended up getting caught up in the rough water and I really struggled to make any progress.
The sun had set, it was absolutely pitch black and if this wasn’t sketchy enough at one point some creature that I couldn’t see had entered my kayak and was flopping around on my seat. This caused me to basically have a heart attack and almost capsize my boat trying to escape the monster. Once the thing had stopped moving I calmed down enough to eventually made it back to shore, only to realize that it was a very small, now very dead fish that had jumped in for the ride. Oops.
To get to Granada from Leon you can take a 50 Cordoba ($2) taxi to the bus station and ask the locals to point you towards the right bus, which will only cost you 24 Cordoba and takes an hour.
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