If ever you go to Granada town….

If ever you go to Granada town....

Most people who read this blog are friends of ours, wondering how we’re getting on. But some of you may be planning a visit to Granada and would like some pointers on what to do or see.

So here, in the name of guidance to travellers, is our potted guide to the best of Granada.

Six of the best in Granada

Iglesia San Francisto

Iglesia San Francisco

– Take a carriage ride when you first arrive to acquaint yourself with the town layout. Thereafter, you can walk everywhere. We used Salvatore (No. 20) who was helpful and spoke some English; there’s also one woman driver amidst all the men.
– Tour the churches. The mustard-and-rust hues of the cathedral dominate in the centre of town, but San Francisco’s museum is worth a visit. Guadalupe is photogenic in the morning sun while the bell-tower of. La Merced offers the best views of the city, especially at sundown. Xalteva is also worth a look.
-You will smell the lake long before you reach it at the end of town, and we wouldn’t be seen dead in the water in the recreational area nearby. But the little boats or lanchas that take visitors on a tour of the small islands (isletas) are worth a spin. Just go down to the shore and haggle with the boatsmen; there’s plenty of choice.
– Go out to the Laguna de Apoyo for the day, or even stay overnight. A taxi to one of the lakeside resorts costs about $10 one way. The waters are clean and the lake breezes ensure that it’s never too hot.

Cafe at Parque Central

Cafe at Parque Central

– Just hang out in the Parque Central and watch the world go by. Eat Vigoron or hot dogs (such as the one Luca is enjoying here) from one of the street-sellers or check out what’s happening in the Tres Mundos arts centre.
– Spend a day lazing at the swimming pool of the Hotel Granada. The salt water is gorgeous and although there are never more than a handful of people there, it’s supremely well kept.

Where to eat

The best meal we had in our three months in Nicaragua was in Leon (Le Turon) which is not the greatest tribute to Granada’s food reputation. That said, the city has plenty of good cafes and restaurants offering fresh food at reasonable prices (plus a few overpriced emporiums aimed at passing tourists).
The Garden Cafe is consistent and reliable – good food at reasonable prices, friendly staff and a nice ambience. If only they’d change the Norah Jones CD they’ve been playing for the last three years.
Our lunch favourite was Cafe de Los Suenos on the Calzada, for its fantastic salads and lovely staff. El Garaje also does a decent lunch though it lacks a bit in atmosphere.
Our favourite pizzas were in Monna Lisa while O’Shea’s Irish bar was also good for comfort food such as Shepherd’s Pie and fish and chips. Expressionista, up by Xalteva, is a cool cafe serving sophisticated fare at stratospheric prices; more New York than Granada.
El Camelo on Calle El Camito is a great spot for well priced Middle Eastern and Asian food. Order camels’ toes and deep fried avocado with roasted garlic dip. Keep an eye out for Leroy’s cakes and cheesecakes.
Pan de Vida near the Iglesia San Francisco is a brick oven bakery producing a small volume of high quality bread and cakes. Look for focaccia, banana and chocolate bread and cinnamon buns at the weekends.

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5 Responses to If ever you go to Granada town….

  1. Hi Deirdre, sounds like all is going well still. Are ye staying in Granada for another while or are ye off to Costa Rica soon? I am heading to Managua next weekend to get another three months on my visa. I like what little I read about the school your kids have been going and was going to try and touch base with them and see if it would be possible to visit when I have to travel as far as Managua anyways. Do you have a contact number for them? We’re back to school since Monday, survived our first week, it’s definitely a whole different scenario to school at home so would love to see how people are doing things a little differently. Any info would be great. Hope you’re still managing to travel light!
    Laura

    • Deirdre says:

      Hi Laura, good to hear from you. We have moved to Costa Rica and are staying in a very remote place in the mountains with tricky comms. While we’re not in Granada, I am sure Sacuanjoche school would be happy to have you visit and look around. Let me know and I’ll give you the contact details. Deirdre

      • Hi Deirdre, between both our remote situations I’m only picking this up now. I have in fact been to Granada and back, I found the name of the school in your post and gave them a ring and received a very warm welcome. Profe Manuel was full of praise for Ella and how clever she is. Got exactly what I needed out of the trip, lots of Spanish songs and resources for teaching reading, a different ball game than teaching to read in English, and some Spanish language ideas for maths as well. I’m looking forward to trying them out on the kids in Jiquilillo on Monday. That said, a class of 8 in a private school is a whole different world to mixed grades and up to 40 in a class here. But sure who doesn’t like a challenge!! Best of luck in Costa Rica, it must be strange alright leaving behind your home of the last 3 months. Enjoy it all, looking forward to hearing how ye get on. Laura

      • Laura,

        I’m delighted you were able to visit Sacuanjoche school and that it was useful for you. Admittedly, a whole different proposition when classes are that small. Ella was delighted to know that Mr Manuel remembered her fondly. Will post about an unusual school we visited in Costa Rica. We had a spectacular time in the hills and have sent our visitors home, happy, we hope. We’re now down at Samara beach for two weeks. It’s pretty hot, but very pleasant and not at all overrun. Hope things are going okay for you. Looks like we may be back in Nicaragua for one week at yet another school; this time a Spanish one! Let me know if you need anything brought home.

        All best,
        Deirdre

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