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The fastest growing and best known of Nicaragua’s tourism spots is Granada. It supports a beautiful colonial environment in which the buildings, culture and food reflect many Andalusian influences from Spain. We arrived to the town just under two hours coming from the Costa Rican border. It is bounded by the massive lake Nicaragua and sits on a gently sloped landscape.
What was immediately noticeable on entering the city are the vibrant colors. The upkeep and restoration of the historic architecture is evident. This is in part because the city was for many years the capital which assured it great prestige. In recent times however it has been a tourist boom town where many from all over the world have been purchasing and renovating houses and little bed and breakfasts in an effort to take advantage of good prices and the upbeat trend of tourism.
What immediately stood out to us was the crowds. It is not the most enjoyable thing, all of the large groups of tourists, the tours, trinkets and other gimmicks being sold, but thats part of any major tourist town. It is certainly manageable but it takes away a bit from the charm of the well preserved beauty.
The best kept secret of Granada are its boutique hotels which are well preserved houses, convents and other estates which have been renovated with private courtyards, balconies and historic era furnishings. We stayed at Plaza Colon which is right in front of the Cathedral. It had remarkable service, excellent food and comforts so relaxing you forget you are right in the heart of the city.
The Churches to see are the main Assumption Cathedral, San Francisco and La Merced. The view from La Merced over the city is photo worthy for sure. We enjoyed getting out and running along the shores of the lake and biking one day on the road towards Managua. The city affords excellent squares in which to walk, sit and relax.
Granada is a perfectly sized city to spend a couple days. You will see everything within walking distance, have time to try some of the many restaurants, get a glimpse of wonderfully preserved architecture and see the heart of the new tourist boom in Nicaragua. Overall it is a city with a lot to offer.