Things to See and Do in Granada Nicaragua
Granada Nicaragua: It was named by Hernández de Córdoba after the ancient Spanish city of Granada. This was done in honor of the defeat of the last Moorish stronghold, which had been Spanish Granada, by the Catholic King and Queen of Spain. Granada, Nicaragua was historically the sister capital in Central America to Antigua, Guatemala. During the colonial period, Granada maintained a flourishing level of commerce with ports on the Atlantic Ocean, through Lake Nicaragua (a.k.a. Cocibolca) and the San Juan River.
The city has been a witness and victim to many of the battles with and invasions from English, French and Dutch pirates trying to take control of Nicaragua by sailing up the San Juan River.
It was also where William Walker, the American filibuster, took up residence and attempted to take control of Central America as a ruling president. One of Walker’s generals, Charles Frederick Henningsen, set the city ablaze before escaping, destroying much of the ancient city and leaving printed the words “Here was Granada”.
For many years Granada disputed with León its hegemony as the major city of Nicaragua. The city of Granada was favored by the Conservatives, while Léon was favored by the Liberals. For many years there was a conflict that at times became quite violent between the cities’ families and political factions. In the mid-19th century, a compromised site was agreed on and the capital was finally established at Managua between both cities. As of 1850, Granada had a population of approximately 10,000.
Granada avoided much of the tumult of the Sandinista Era in the 1970-80s.
Granada (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡɾaˈnaða]) is a city in western Nicaragua and the capital of the Granada Department. With an estimated population of 123,697 (2012), it is Nicaragua’s sixth most populous city. Granada is historically one of Nicaragua’s most important cities, economically and politically. It has a rich colonial heritage, seen in its architecture and structure.
Granada had a thriving Indigenous population. In 1524, the city was renamed Granada, by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, ostensibly the first European city in mainland America. Unlike other cities that claim the same distinction, the city of Granada was not only the settlement of the conquest, but also a city registered in official records of the Crown of Aragon, and the Kingdom of Castile in Spain.
Granada is also known as La Gran Sultana, in the reflection of its Moorish and Andalusian appearance, unlike its sister city and historical rival León, which displays Castilian trends.
Revered for its colonial architecture, its streets are lined with buildings distinguished from each other by their successive shades of pastel hues. Palms rise amidst a sea of red tile roofs against the backdrop of lakeshores and volcanoes. There are baroque and Moorish aesthetic influences interspersed throughout the cityscape.
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Welcome to Granada, Nicaragua. The air is humid and hot, enveloping visitors with the unmistakable sense of stepping into a tropical Spain. The surrounding natural beauty has also inspired artists, poets, and writers well before the Spanish founded it in 1524. Combine these charming features with the relaxed air of the Nicaraguan people – one of the happiest in the world – and you have quite possibly the most laid-back and accessible city in Central America, fully imbued with color and culture.
Climb a bell tower for a great view
There are a number of beautiful churches that are worth exploring, but Iglesia de la Merced takes the biscuit thanks to its bell tower. For $1 you can climb to the top and enjoy views over the city, which are particularly good at sunset.
Appreciate the history
Granada was founded in 1524, making it one of the oldest cities in Central America. There remains a wealth of evidence of its colonial past, including the beautiful, brightly painted buildings. Perfect for photo opportunities.
Kayak on Lake Nicaragua
The city sits on the lakeside, and there are many ways to explore the water. Perhaps the best is to go on a kayak tour or rent one yourself. Head out early in the morning before temperatures get uncomfortable.
People watch in Parque Central
The main square in Granada is teeming with locals, and it makes for great people-watching. Get a drink or an ice cream and sit back as the locals do.
Watch the street shows on La Calzada
This pedestrian street is lined by bars and restaurants with outside tables and has turned into a popular spot with street performers looking for tips. If you want to take a break from exploring, grab a beer and watch the show.
Sample the local cuisine
Street vendors are everywhere in Granada, and you can eat well on a budget if you look for them. From cheesy tortillas called quesadillas to pork scratchings and cabbage salad known as vigorous, there are lots of local specialties to try.
Brush up on your Spanish
With cheap accommodation and plenty of language schools, it’s no surprise that Granada is among the best places to learn Spanish. You can get 20 hours of one-to-one lessons for around $140, which is a great deal if you are traveling long-term in Latin America.
Learn how to cook, Nicaraguan style
At La Tortilla cooking school, pupils are taught how to release their inner Nicaraguan chef. Group classes are good fun, and you will learn about the local culture through food.
Rent a bike
Granada is quite a spread-out place, and walking in the heat of the day can be exhausting. Rent a bike for around $5 per day and you can explore the major sights in less time. The paved roads are great for bikes, but be careful of the drivers.
Granada Nicaragua Real Estate
Aurora Granada Colonial Realty is your place to begin the search for the property of your dreams in Granada Nicaragua.
• Our team is always expanding the largest database of Nicaragua real estate for sale in Granada.
• Aurora’s Granada real estate experts are all bilingual and extremely knowledgeable about Nicaragua and the best investment property.
• Granada Real Estate offers the unique opportunity of owning a home in a historic colonial Nicaraguan town. Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and has all types of real estate in price ranges for every investor.
• Nicaragua has a quickly growing second home market and is a retirement destination for people all over the world
Hotel In Granada Nicaragua
What Is Granada Nicaragua Known For?
Is Leon Nicaragua Safe?
However, few visitors to Nicaragua can claim their home country is crime-free, so the perspective is key. Common sense precautions and decent language skills are a must for independent travelers coming to Nicaragua for the first time.