Our last stop in Nicaragua, I can hardly believe it! It always amazes me how time while travelling can go so slow and so fast, but I guess the same can be said for most things in life.
Granada is quite a large town on Lake Nicaragua, close to Managua (Nicaraguas capital and international airport) it has become quite a happening place for tourists to stop on their way through Nicaragua. The town itself is very old, Mum kept saying 1500s, I didn’t bother to check otherwise but the old churches and building suggest she was right. Lots of various colours and ages from building to building makes it an intereting city to walk around.
You can go up into the bell towers of the churches, giving you a view of the city that is well worth the cost of the $1 USD. I would also recommend stopping by when they are having a service in the new church in the main square, even not being very religious I thought it was pretty amazing seeing such a large amount of people coming together. Picture below is the two different churches from the bell towers.
In the middle of the city is a nice Central Park that always seems to be bustling with lots of people. Vendors selling everything from food to hammocks. If you walk down towards the lake down a street that is closed off for walking only, all the restaurants are out into the streets. Seems like every hour is happy hour there, with 2 for 1 drinks for 70 or 80 Nicaraguan, which is about $1 USD a drink. We went there both nights for dinner, it’s a really nice atmosphere. Click here for a video of some break dancers that came along!
Onto some negatives, one of the main forms of transportation within the city is horse and carriage. Now, I’m not against this as a form of transportation if you have healthy horses that are being treated properly, which was not the majority of what I saw. They are parked out in the immense heat with no water, some look so skinny they could collapse, some are very clearly lame, whip marks all along their backs. I didn’t even take pictures of them because I didn’t want the drivers to think it was something I admired in the slightest. Why can’t they have a nice shaded area with some water? It wouldn’t be that hard. Also the town has a hard time with parents forcing their children to beg or sell things to tourists. A child can make way more money than a begging adult and they will even rent children to go beg for them if they don’t have their own. The children are beat if they don’t want to beg and end up dropping out of school. We learned that there are no homeless kids, they have a very well functioning orphanage for anybody in need, as well as a place they can go and eat if they want to. But instead of the fruit, eggs and other nutritious meals provided, they would prefer the hamburgers, wings and fries that they can get off of tourists. So if you are travelling there, do not give anything to these kids, it makes it so they can be exploited and being on the streets late at night provides a gateway into prostitution and drug use (sniffing glue being a main one).
Laguna De Apoyo
For our day in Granada we decided to spend the heat of the day at Laguna De Apoyo. A fresh water lake in the crater of a volcano about 15 minutes from Granada. The lake is warm due to the volcano still being active and releasing warm water into the lake. There’s tons of hostels and a couple resorts around the lake that you can go to even if you aren’t stay there and use their facilities to enjoy the lake. I would highly recommend doing so. There’s tours that take you there for 25$ and higher but you can just take a taxi and pay a resort to stay for the day. Ours cost $3 USD for the day.
So ready for white beaches and diving in Utila!