Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua

Destination Guide: Colonial Town of Granada, Nicaragua

The Colonial town of Granada is one of Nicaragua’s most important cities! Granada got its name from Hernández de Córdoba; he chose the name after the Spanish city of Granada!

There are many things to see in Granada, for instance, the beautifully colored colonial buildings, churches, cathedral, the pristine Lake Apoyo, a bird’s eye view of the city from the bell tower of the church, La Merced and so on. If you’ve ever seen a photo taken of a colonial city with vivid colored buildings, I can almost guarantee you it’s Granada, Nicaragua.

Recommended activities to do while in Granada:

Climb up the bell tower of La Merced Church to get an amazing bird’s eye view of the city with Lake Nicaragua in the background.

Fee $1US or 20 Cordoba

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

If you are traveling to Granada for a relaxing getaway I highly recommend stopping by a spa for some pampering! I had my first spa experience at the Genesis Spa in Granada, it was fabulous! :)

There are many different types of tours offered throughout Granada; Cacao museum tours, a tour of the Cathedral, a tour of the church Guadalupe, a tour of a butterfly reserve, a city tour on a horse drawn chariot and Mi Museo offers a free, self-guided, walkthrough of their pre-Columbian ceramics gallery.

I highly recommend walking around the city; it’s quite small and easy to navigate! Stopping by the center park is really nice as well you can try a Chicharrones from a vendor selling them in the park!

Recommended activities to do in surrounding areas of Granada:

If you are in Granada for a day or so, like I was, you have some options to do excursions that are in the surrounding areas (within 1 hours travel). While I was in Granada we took a trip to Masaya which is a 20 minute drive from Granada, from Masaya we visited the Coyotepe Fortress, Masaya Volcano, Lake Apoyo and Masaya’s Market.

Care to learn more about the dark past of Coyotepe? Stay tuned for tomorrow's post! Photo Credit:

Care to learn more about the dark past of Coyotepe? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post! Photo Credit:

Coyotepe Fortress, which is about 30 minutes’ away from Granada, was a pretty neat yet eerie experience! The Fortress is home to the Nicaraguan Boy Scouts, now, but this fort has a very dark past. Coyotepe dark past is a really sad & traumatic story, if you would like to know more about it I will be posting about it tomorrow. Unfortunately it’s a bit too much of a downer for this post!

Taxi Fare to Coyotepe is approx. $10US – Feel free to barter!

Some amazing friends & I posing by the volcanic crater. <3

Some amazing friends & I posing by the volcanic crater. <3

The Masaya volcano, which is about 40 minutes away from Granada, was a really amazing experience! It was my first time being at the very tip of a volcanic crater! Unfortunately it is not very common to see lava from the Masaya Volcano, none the less it was still a lot of fun to look inside! The volcanic gases were quite harsh on the lungs I must say so I wouldn’t recommend sticking around the crater for too long! The Masaya Volcano last erupted in 2008 for about 6 months; you can see many old lava flows when you are up the volcano by the crater!

Taxi fare from Granada to Masaya Volcano is approx. $15US – Feel free to barter!

Lake Apoyo, lakes don't get much more pristine than that! :)

Lake Apoyo. Lakes don’t get much more pristine than that! :)

Lake Apoyo, which is about a 10 minute drive from Granada, is absolutely gorgeous!! If you are in Granada and wanting to go for a swim I highly recommend you do it in Lake Apoyo.

Taxi Fare from Granada to Apoyo is approx. $10US – Feel free to barter!

... I was not joking & yes Thomas did buy one!

… I was not joking & yes Thomas did buy one!

Masaya’s daily market, which is about 10 minutes’ drive from Granada, was a nice little stop in the afternoon. We had some refreshments, checked out the locals creations and bought some souvenirs. One of the strangest items I noticed all around the market was taxidermy toads!!

Taxi Fare from Granada to Masaya Market is approx. $10US – Feel free to barter!

Valentin Lopez's Workshop School of Ceramics - San Juan de Oriente

Valentin Lopez’s Workshop School of Ceramics – San Juan de Oriente

Visiting Valentin Lopez’s school of Ceramics, which is about 20 minutes from Granada, is a must visit! You never know what is going to happen when you visit places like this but you can almost guarantee that you’re going to watch some people work on their products then get hauled into a room and pressured to buy something. Valentin’s ceramics was nothing like that!! We watched a young kid make pottery with his two hands while using his foot to spin the pottery around. After seeing the process we had to option to buy something and not one single person pressured us!! We bought some of the most beautiful pottery pieces I have seen and were very happy! You must visit this place!!

Taxi Fare from Granada to Valentin’s ceramic shop is approx. $10US – Feel free to barter! 

Granada is a must visit place in Nicaragua & while you’re close you may as well take the ferry over to Ometepe Island to explore!

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Granada, Destination Guide, Nicaragua, Central America

Have you ever visited Granada? What was your favorite activity that you did while visiting?

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Dawn Kealing

Travel Blogger at Life, Love and Adventure
Hey! I'm a 20 something Canadian with backgrounds in Photography and Art. I'm here to bring you the most current information on travel and keep you up to date on the best adventure destinations around the world!

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21 Responses to “Destination Guide: Colonial Town of Granada, Nicaragua”

  1. Anita and Richard @ No Particular Place To Go February 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    Hi Dawn. Thanks for visiting and following our blog. I’ve enjoyed the chance to read through the Nicaragua portion of yours (great information!) and look forward to reading many of your other posts. Love your stories and enthusiasm! Anita

    • dawnkealing February 24, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

      What a lovely comment, thank you so much Anita! :) It’s very easy for me to write about Central America because I am so in love with all the countries within it! I am glad to be following along in both of your adventures as well! Thanks for stopping by. Dawn

  2. Marysia (@MyTravelAffairs) March 3, 2014 at 2:57 am #

    I totally agree Granada is a fabulous city which nobody should miss! And lets be honest, this pink monster cocktail is worth anything ha ha ha

    • dawnkealing March 3, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      I know, right?? It’s actually a dragon fruit smoothie. ;P Thanks for stopping by Marysia!

  3. Zof March 3, 2014 at 4:28 am #

    Great tips! I’ve never been to this part of the world but I’m really looking forward to getting there one day. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • dawnkealing March 3, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      I highly recommend visiting anywhere in Central America, It has become my second home. I hope you love it as much as I do once you eventually get the chance to go! :)

  4. tammyonthemove March 3, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    Wow, I love the look of Granada and that crater looks amazing. I really hope that I can make my way up to Central America after my South America trip.

    • dawnkealing March 3, 2014 at 11:21 am #

      Granada is such a beautiful place, I would highly recommend you to visit it. :) Sounds like you have a pretty awesome adventure ahead of you! Safe travels my friend and thank you for stopping by.

  5. Pointsandtravel March 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    I would truly love to visit, and quite frankly never thought of it, other than hearing it had a medical school 20 years ago! Thanks for a reminder about a great place to visit!

    • dawnkealing March 4, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      Granada is such a beautiful place and has so much beauty to offer. I highly recommend visiting if you get the chance! :) Thanks for stopping by. – Dawn

  6. Adam Evans March 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    Looks like an interesting place. I can’t afford to go to Nicaragua just now, so I’ll try and make a dragon fruit smoothie instead

    • dawnkealing March 5, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

      Mmmmm, that sounds delicious! We only get the white flesh ones here where I live so unfortunately I couldn’t make one this color but regardless it would still be delicious! Enjoy and thank you for stopping by! :)

  7. Hitch-Hikers Handbook March 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Looks like a really interesting city! :)
    You take nice pictures too! If you like photography, we would like to invite you to participate in the next edition of our Travel Photography competition. Every week we publish 3 winning shots on our website and write a nice bio with a link to the photographers’ websites/FB/Flickr pages.
    Find more details here:
    Happy travels!

  8. juliecrombe March 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    I wish I could have visited this Granada! I visited Granada in Spain though! Also highly recommended! ;)

    • dawnkealing March 27, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

      So I have heard! I most certainly will be stopping by Granada, Spain when I get the chance to explore Spain. :) Thanks for the lovely comments Julie. <3

      • Indaka Munasinghe June 23, 2015 at 2:35 am #


  9. pancham June 23, 2015 at 3:59 am #

    It was really very revealing about a place bountiful with scenes and scenery!!! Love to be there and will be wonderful with your exuberant team!!! thanks anyway for the inputs.

  10. Vincent Chipatso Chithila June 23, 2015 at 4:47 am #

    Thanks very much for the information. I am not sure if at all I will be able to visit Granada. I just hope one day I will make it. Once more thanks very much for the information.

  11. Connie June 24, 2015 at 1:21 am #

    Hi Dawn and Thomas thank you for showing me great places in Granada.I would love to visit some of these places but i can not afford now. Love you! Connie

  12. Syam Trekker July 9, 2016 at 12:56 am #

    Great posting about Destination Guide: Colonial Town of Granada, Nicaragua and nice blog with excellent pictures..we welcome you to Mt Rinjani indonesia, thank you for sharing


  1. The Dark Past of the Coyotepe Fortress… | Life, Love and Adventure - February 25, 2014

    […] This was just one of the few activities we did during our stay in Granada, if you would like to know more about our stay in Granada check out my Destination Guide. […]

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