Granada Nicaragua Tours
Price: $ 6300 per person.
Included: 3 days tour, Tour Guide, Transportation with A/C from the hotel.
What to Bring: Passport, camera, sunscreen, hat, and cash (for border crossing).
Granada Nicaragua Tours Details.
This journey begins early in the morning to avoid lines while crossing the border. Be advised, all tour participants need to have both their passport and cash on hand to cross the border. The crossing fee is $7. Once across, you can enjoy a delicious breakfast near the city of Rivas. continue on until you reach Granada, one of the first cities founded by Europeans in America. Please contact us if looking for a Private shuttle to Nicaragua border…
A colorful, vibrant place, Granada was built with Spanish colonial architecture that remains in place today. In Granada, a horse-drawn carriage will take you to the city most notable attractions. visit the main church known simply as “Catedral” and the Plaza de España, where you can take in magnificent views of Lake Nicaragua. Nearby, you may have lunch at a nice restaurant with great views.
This exceptional location allows you to take in stunning views of both the lake and the active Masaya Volcano. The tour wraps up with a visit to Masaya, a local town with an excellent pottery and souvenir market.
You’ll return to Costa Rica and will be dropped off at your hotel.
What this Tour Includes: Transportation, breakfast, lunch, and guide.
Granada is a city in western Nicaragua and the capital of the Granada Department. With an estimated population of 110,326 (2003), it is Nicaraguas fifth most populous city. Granada is historically one of Nicaraguas most important cities, economically and politically. It has a rich colonial heritage, seen in its architecture and structure.
Granada was founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernandez, 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 reflection of its Moorish and Andalusian appearance, unlike its sister city of and historical rival, which displays Castilian trends.
HistoryGranada street scene, circa 1905
It was named by Hernandez de Cordoba 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 witness and victim to many of the battles with and invasions from English, French and Dutch pirates trying to take control of Nicaragua.
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 Walkers 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 its hegemony as the major city of Nicaragua. The city of Granada was favored by the Conservatives, while on was favored by the Liberals. For many years there was conflict that at times became quite violent between the cities’ families and political factions. In the mid-19th century a compromise site was agreed on and the capital was finally established at Managua between both cities .
Granada avoided much of the tumult of the Sandinista Era in the 1970-80s.
Geography and ecology
Granada is located along the coast of the Lake Nicaragua (a.k.a. Lake Cocibolca), the worlds twentieth largest lake.
Granada is the capital city of the Department of Granada, which borders Boaco and Managua to the north, Masaya and Carazo to the east and Rivas to the south. Within the same department, the River Tipitapa which connects the Lake of Managua and Nicaragua passes through it in the north. It also has three volcanic lagoons; Manares, Genirzaro, and the famous Apoyo. Apoyo, which is shared with the Department of Masaya, is the largest volcanic lagoon in Nicaragua. Granada is a very warm city all year round, with very similar temperatures to Managua. This is due to similarities in geography with its close proximity to a lake and surrounded by high hills. Rainfall in Granada is approximately between 1,100-2,100mm annually.
The vegetation around Granada is a reflection of its climatology. Dry forests and also humid forests skirt the Mombacho volcano. The volcano is also home to a wide array of fauna. (See Wildlife of Nicaragua) The lake is also home to many creatures, both marine and freshwater creatures. It is the only freshwater lake in the world where sharks live (Nicaragua shark). Fishing in the lake is quite good, and fishermen, both commercial and recreational, regularly catch guapote and mojarras, as well as sardines. Nicaragua has recently banned fishing of the Nicaragua shark and sawfish because of population decline.
Other important cities and towns within the Granada district include Malacatoya, El Paso, El Guayabo, Diria, Macatepe, El Guanacaste, Nandaime and Diriomo, known nationally as the last city of witches. Mombacho volcano is the highest point (1,345 m) within Granada; the now dormant volcano blew most of its cone into the lake, forming the 365 Islets of Granada, from where the volcano provides an amazing view. It is also possible on a clear day to see Ometepe and Zapatera Islands. This latter island is the second largest island in Lake Nicaragua, and it too is an inactive volcano. It is a national treasure, known as the home of pre-Columbian statues and idols which were found on the island during the Spanish conquest, these are now exhibited in the Convento San Francisco Museum.
Granada has many beaches on Lake Nicaragua which are very popular around Semana Santa (“Holy Week”).
Economy and tourism
See also: Tourism in Nicaragua
Granada has long been a center of commerce, including timber, gold and silver. Granadas economy continues to grow as it is becoming the national tourism hub. Though Granada remains Nicaraguas fourth largest city, it is widely known for preserving some of the finest colonial-era architecture in the country. A real estate boom had been underway for several years, with many European and Americans purchasing and renovating the areas homes for retirement or holiday homes and several foreign realtors establishing offices, but that boom slowed in 2007. The prior escalation of real estate prices in Granada and other parts of Southwestern Nicaragua has led to a shift of investor attention toward Northern Nicaragua and the cities of Matagalpa, Leon, Corinto and the surrounding beaches of Leon and Corinto.
Museums have opened, including one of the finest in the country, the private Mi Museo, and new hotels and restaurants are proliferating at a fast clip.
Granada, though now highly dependent on tourism, also has fertile agricultural land within the municipality. Major production of organic coffee and cacao, cattle, plantain and bananas occurs within its boundaries.
A street of Granada
Most of Granadas streets are narrow, as the city evolved centuries before the advent of motorized vehicles. Therefore, today, many streets allow only one-way traffic, offering a challenge to visitors traveling by car.
Following many years of neglect, primarily due to the economic collapse of the nation in the 1980s, most of Granadas buildings and infrastructure began to deteriorate. Roads and public utilities fell into disrepair.
In the decades that followed, however, the city government directed funds towards recognition and restoration of many of Granadas historic structures. The Spanish government has provided financial cooperation for the refurbishment of the city. One such project is transforming Calle La Calzada into Peatonal (foot traffic only) Street.
Relevant historical architecture and attractions
Plaza de la Independencia
View of Granada Town Square
Streets of Granada.
- San Francisco Church and Museum
- Xalteva Church
- Plazuela de los Leones
- Plaza de la Independencia
- Central Park
- Guadalupe Church
- La Merced Church
- Souls Chapel
- Fortin de San Pablo
- Episcopal Palace
- San Antonio College
- Diocesan College
- Old Social Club
- Old Railway Station
See also: Culture of Nicaragua
Granada, like most of the Nicaraguan Pacific, is populated primarily by a Spanish-speaking majority of Mestizos. Residing here also are people from the United States, Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, and France.
Currently, Nicaragua is experiencing a booming tourist economy. This, in turn, draws foreigners seeking colonial homes for purchase, adding a growing number of Europeans and Americans to the population of Granada. Real estate prices here were initially comparatively low, but have increased following the foreign interest and subsequent investments.