Well…it wouldn’t be a season of Panama Dude without an Ocho List, would it? This is our second go-round with Granada and Nicaragua in general, and both our trips to the land of lakes and volcanoes can be compared to…lakes and volcanoes.
Our first trip in 2012 was very volcano-like; active and steamy. But this time it’s been much more like a lake; sometimes calm, sometimes rough, but always wet.
Both visits have allowed us to do a lot though. So if you’re planning a trip to Nica, and more specifically; Granada, than here are 8 things to do in Granada!
#8. Boat Tour of the Isletas
These islands were formed when the Mombacho volcano blew it’s lid. The huge rocks were torpedoed into Lake Nicaragua (or Cocibolca). Over the years people started living on said islands. It’s a pretty cool tour, and there’s an island with monkeys living on it too. Did they swim there? Are they the missing link? Did they somehow get catapulted through the air with chunks of the volcano? I know the answer, but I’m not giving away this Cadbury secret – you’ll just have to do a tour yourself!
#7. Climb Mombacho Volcano
This is a pretty cool trek. Actually, you don’t have to be a climber or hiker and you will most likely have a guide…guiding you. You get driven up to a coffee plantation where you learn how coffee is picked, prepped, and percolated to precision for people’s palettes…And afterwards you get to enjoy a cup – perfection! From there, you venture up the rest of the way to the top of Mombacho volcano. You’ll see butterflies, fauna, steam vents, and some fantastic panoramic views. Bring a jacket though, it gets pretty cool and will most likely be windy.
#6. Go Zip-lining
You can add this to a Mombacho trek, and it’s well worth it. If you haven’t gone zip-lining, imagine soaring from tree to tree from high up…wait, you can’t imagine it – you just need to go and try it yourself.
#5. Get Covered in Chocolate
Visit the Mansion de Chocolate and channel your inner Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Mansion de Chocolate in Granada is a pretty cool hotel. One of the main draws here is that you can get a spa treatment and get covered in chocolate, or reflexology (also with chocolate), or a choco mani-pedi, and many other treatments that may or may not include chocolate. I opted for their specialty – the chocolate therapy. I felt like a chocolate dipped cone from Dairy Queen – all vanilla on the inside, but with a tasty chocolate layer outside. They also allow you to use the pool with certain spa packages, so there’s another added bonus. Oh, and you can also take part in a chocolate workshop where you make your own chocolate bar (golden tickets not included). Eat your heart out Augustus Gloop!
#4. Experience the Calzada
Yes it’s touristy. Yes it’s pricier than other restaurants that aren’t on the calzada. Yes people might ask you for spare change. Yes people will try and sell you trinkets. But it’s a nice little area where you can people watch while having some tasty food. Kids and adults display their various busking talents, and the tree-lined street offers a serene atmosphere that hosts a wide variety of food options!
#3. Walk Through the Granada Market
We covered our Granada market shopping experience in a previous post, but I’m okay to use it again here. Small “third world” markets are an amazing way to see true costs of living, moreover, how (and what) locals buy and sell. It’s also a pretty easy way to practice your Spanish too.
#2. Spend a Day at Laguna de Apoyo
If you want a relaxing day, check out Laguna de Apoyo. There are many places there that you can go for a day. We opted for the Laguna Beach Club because they have kayaks, SUP’s, docks, chairs, and hammocks, and it’s only $4.50 for a day pass which includes use of said toys. The water temperature is perfect year-round, so if you fall off your SUP, or tip your kayak, you’ll get wet, but not cold and wet.
#1.Visit the Masaya Volcano at Night
It’s an active volcano, and if you’re lucky you might see red (lava) while there. There’s also a bat-cave, where thousands of bats fly through the lava tubes so they can go dine on some tasty mozzies, well, tasty for the bats. And okay, it’s technically not in Granada, but many tour companies in Granda offer…tours…which depart from Granada.
This is only a list of 8 things to do in Granada, but could easily be a list of another multiple of 8…like 16…or 24. There’s just that many fun and interesting things do in Granada!