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ABOUT GRANADA

Granada
Granada is one of Nicaragua's most important cities and the country's main destination for international travellers. For centuries it has been called 'The Great Sultana' in recognition of its beautiful colonial architecture. 
Granada is 40 Km South East of Managua and less than 30 Km from the capital city's international airport. It is an excellent starting point for exploring some of the main attractions in Nicaragua and the neighbouring Costa Rica, from active volcanoes to unique cloud forest ecosystems, from the beautiful islands on Lake Cocibolca, or Nicaragua , to the endless beaches of the Pacific Ocean where every year, between August and October, thousands of turtles lay their eggs. 
As all colonial cities in Central America, Granada is built around its main square (Parque Central) that represents the city's social, cultural, and economic hub. Around the Parque Central visitors find Granada's cathedral , the city hall, important banks, cultural centres, as well as a myriad of small shops and stalls selling traditional food and handcrafts. 
A few block to the West of the main square is the central market. There, reasonably priced tropical fruit, fresh vegetables, meat, cheese, and freshly caught fish from the lake are sold on wooden stalls since the early hours of the morning. 
The best way to explore Granada is on foot, wandering along its narrow streets. Explore the most remote corners of this fascinating city and have a quick look inside the 'casonas' (the large colonial houses). You'll discover their lovely inner patios, filled with tropical plants, and the shadow of their rooms, furnished with the characteristic rocking chairs. 
One of the most important Granada 's avenues, know as 'La Calzada', starts on the left side of the Cathedral and runs all the way to the lake. La Calzada is flanked by large colonial houses (casonas) and historical buildings, such as the church of 'La Virgen de Guadalupe'. At the West end of La Calzada, runs the lakeshore, or 'malecón'. It is a lovely, recently remodelled boulevard, refreshed by a virtually constant breeze. At the South end of the malecón is the 'Centro Turístico', or Tourist Center, an area of restaurants, discos, and beaches.
There is plenty to explore in and around Granada, you can easily spend 3-5 days without getting bored. Just a few high lights:

Historic Granada: You can wander in the buildings and stores around Parquet Central, also known as Parque Colon, including the Palacio de Cultura Joaquín Cuadra Pasos on the west side. On the south east corner La Gran Francia, a building dated back to the founding of the city and which has been reconstructed to reflect the finest colonial architecture of that period. On the north end of the plaza on the right side, you’ll see a stone portico with lions, the only surviving portion of the original building burnt by William Walker. Today it is Casa de los Tres Mundos, an arts and cultural center where you can catch an exhibition or arts rehearsal. If you walk north to the edge of the park, then one block east, you can visit the museum located in the oldest church of Central America. Convento e Iglesia de San Francisco, founded in 1529, houses archeological treasures from Isla de Ometepe, a primitive art exhibit and historical displays with some English information. 
Horse drawn carriages, called los coches, are another way to tour the city. Look for the Spanish tiles marking the city highlighting historical sites and events, including the homes of past presidents and the exploits of William Walker.
On the west side of the city you can explore an interesting old cemetery with tombs of both the rich and the poor dating back more than a century. One block east is Fortaleza La Pólvora, built in 1749. If the fortification appears to be closed, knock on the gate. Once inside, you can climb a turret for a food view of the city. 

The lake with it`s islands: Walk by Lago Nicaragua for the cool breeze and views. Just off Granada in the lake is Las Isletas, made of more than 360 islands, created when the Mombacho Volcano exploded 20.000 years ago. This is a beautiful excursion in a setting of tiny tropical islands, richly covered in vegetation and many with holiday mansions. In addition to the interesting flora and fauna on one island there are remnants of a fort, El Castillo San Pablo, built in 1784. 

Volcan Masaya: If you’d like to experience the sights and smells of an active volcano, you can visit Masaya Volcano National Park, which has walking trails and a visitor center. 

Traditional and handicraft markets of Masaya: The Masaya markets are known as the center of Nicaraguan arts and crafts and are in the town of Masaya. The most popular of the markets is Mercado Viejo. 

Volcan Mombacho: The Mombacho Volcano Reserva with its thick cloud forest, cool climate, well marked trails, biological station, and wonderful views of Granada and Las Isletas, is an hour drive from Granada and should not be missed. Zipping through the trees on lines, a canopy tour on the slopes of Mombacho is popular for the fun factor. 

Lagoon Apoyo and the white villages: Laguna de Apoyo is a volcano crater lake that can be seen from Mirador de Catarina. Only a half hour drive from Granada you reach the mirador by going through the village of Catarina, known for its nurseries of wonderful flowering plants and for local crafts. From one of the crater side restaurants, you can enjoy cool wind, an amazing view and often, musicians performing. On the crater’s edge, accessible via a different road visitors can hike, swim, kayak and windsurf. 

Ometepe Island
The pacific beach town San Juan del Sur
Copyright of this section Waves Magazine, Granada / Nicaragua; Tel. 552-3053 
Please check our TOURS section for further descriptions of the mentioned high lights and the tours we can book for you. Don`t miss to explore the beautiful surroundings of Granada and Lake Nicaragua. They are one of it`s kind. 

GREAT DISCOUNT 
FOR 3 OR MORE NIGHTS

From only $35 (one person) 
or $39 (two persons)
plus taxes; breakfast included.

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