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Granada, Nicaragua | 5 tips for the best activities

When you go backpacking in Nicaragua you should definitely not skip Granada. This colonial, colorful city is also known as one of the most beautiful cities of Central America† In addition, it is the perfect base for various day trips in the area. In the blog below we give 5 tips for fun activities during your visit to Granada.

1. Explore the center of Granada

Granada is a lovely city to wander around. The highlights of this city?

The Cathedral of Granada

A bright yellow cathedral located on the main square of the city. This square is a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. 

Church of La Merced

This church was originally built in 1539 and then rebuilt several times. When you climb the tower of this church, you have a beautiful view over the city.

Grenada Nicaragua
The view from Iglesia de la Merced, the yellow building in the distance is The Catedral de Granada

Avenue La Calzada

Avennia La Calzada is perhaps the most touristic street in Granada. Here you will find cozy cafes, restaurants and shops.

Chocolate museum

Nicaragua is known for growing and exporting cocoa. In the chocolate museum you learn about the processes of this in an interactive way.

2. Bubbling lava at volcano Masaya

An active volcano where you can see the lava bubbling? I certainly didn't want to miss that during my visit to Granada, Nicaragua! From the hostel we booked a tour to the Masaya volcano, where this spectacle can be seen.

We were picked up at our hostel by bus and taken to the crater rim. That is quite a luxury if you are normally used to hiking up volcanoes. On the way we stopped at a museum where we learned everything about the formation of volcanoes, which was very interesting, then we drove to the top of the volcano.

Masaya Volcano
Bubbling lava in the Masaya volcano

Tip:: Visit the Masaya volcano in the evening, then you can best see the lava.

As I peeked over the edge of the volcano, I can't believe my eyes. 'Holy sh*t', no words can describe how surreal it is to see lava bubbling beneath you. It is a natural disaster and at the same time it is beautiful. You get about 10 to 15 minutes per group to admire the volcano and that will fly by, so make good use of it.

However, this short visit is well worth it. When will you get the chance to see lava bubbling?! Well probably never again.

Read also: Must do: volcano boarding in Nicaragua

3. Climb volcano Mombacho

The Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve is a XNUMX-minute drive from Granada. Here you can make various hikes on and around the volcano (crater). During this walk(s) you have to deal with different ecosystems. One moment you are in the tropical rainforest, the next you are in an open plain and an hour later you are standing between the high rocks. From the top of Mombacho you have a view of Granada and the surrounding islands.  

view of islands granada
Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve overlooking the islands of Granada

4. Lake Apoyo

Although Granada itself is located on a lake, this is not the ideal place for swimming and relaxing. Would you like to do this during your visit to Granada, Nicaragua† Then it is recommended to take a day trip to Laguna de Apoyo. This volcanic lake is heated in places at the water's edge, creating a natural hot tub. In addition, it is simply a wonderful place where you don't have to do anything at all, and all of this is only a 30-minute drive from Granada. 

5. Spanish course Granada

Would you like to learn Spanish while traveling through Nicaragua? Then Granada is the right place for you! There are a number of organizations in Granada that offer Spanish courses, I chose the organization myself On stage. Before the lesson, your Spanish level will be tested on the basis of a conversation, after which the lessons will be adjusted to your level. The lessons are in most cases 1-on-1.

You can choose to take lessons alone, but it is also possible – and really fun – to stay with a local family during your Spanish course. This literally 'forces' you to speak Spanish, which makes learning a lot faster. 

Spanish lesson Granada
Spanish class in Granada

The school selects the host families carefully and usually has many years of cooperation with them, so you don't have to worry about where you will end up. I myself stayed with a very hospitable family with three children, where I was well taken care of. For example, I got three meals a day and I had a private bedroom. 

For a week I took Spanish lessons every day (Mon-Fri) between 09.00 am and 13.00 pm, in addition I spent about 1 hour a day on my homework. For the rest of the day I was able to explore the city. A Spanish course with accommodation is a very nice way to get acquainted with the culture, language and city. 

Backpacking Nicaragua

Do you want to know which places in Nicaragua, besides Granada, are even more worth visiting?

Read also: Backpacking in Nicaragua | Itinerary and tips

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Lieke Thijssen

- Latin America lover
- Travel & hospitality copywriter
- Next: West Coast Mexico

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