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
– 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.
– 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.