Hola friends. How is everyone? Sorry I missed you yesterday, but I am back now. Sunday we dropped my parents off at the airport and proceeded to meet up with our next set of family guests in Costa Rica. I am working a modified schedule this week with my design, but I will definitely have post for you all week so get ready. Today I am nursing a stiff neck from working in bed late last night…when will I ever learn. Or maybe it was the tubing or the horseback riding, oh the list goes on. Ha! Do you have any trusted and true remedies for a stiff neck? I will be the driver on a five-hour trip today and I am a bit tight. Of course, I have applied massive amounts of Arnica gel, but I think I may need something stronger.
Ok, enough of my aches and pains. Today I would like to introduce you to Granada. My plan is to do an overview like the one below for all of the cities/towns we visit from now on. I would have loved to have something like this before we went to Nicaragua. I hope you enjoy it.
Granada, Nicaragua and surrounding areas.
~ Take a tour of the city. One of the first things we try to do when we land in a new destination is get the lay of the land. We have found that exploring on foot works quite well, but our all time favorite is to take a guided tour of our location. A guided tour can give you the history of the city, plus I love to be able to pick the locals brains about questions that are important to us. For example, we learned on our tour of Granada that the whole country has seven million people and the average monthly income is $200 USD. This is not exactly a question you can ask a random stranger walking down the street. On our tour we also learned the significance of the parts of the Nicaraguan flag, what happened during the early days of settlement, the currency before money, the Cocoa ceremony, religion, the life of the indigenous and much more. Plus, we visited churches, a museum, a fort, a former hospital and rode in a carriage.
~ Take a tour of Las Isletas. This two-hour tour gave us a glimpse into island life with a bit of a history lesson at the same time. The lake encompasses 365 islands. There are 27 volcanoes in Nicaragua and 11 of them are active. There are 40 species of fish in the lake and it is the only lake in the world that has sharks. It is also the 19th largest lake in the world. In addition, we make a stop at Monkey Island. We did not get off the boat, but we were able to feed the monkeys right out of our hands. This was the highlight for the kids. Finally we made a stop at the old fort.
~ Night Tour of Volcan Masaya. We loved it! Another amazing tour through Tierra Tours, they even gave us a discount for booking multiple tours. We took a short van ride to the edge of Masaya volcano where we had a history lesson about the volcano then we proceeded to look in the crater and hike along it. This was our first visit to an active volcano, wow, it beats everything we have seen in Costa Rica. Sorry, CR. We watched the sunset over the volcano, inhaled insane amounts of sulfur and even got to venture into a bat cave. Have you ever seen hundreds of bats up close? It was a first for us as well.
~ Ride in a carriage. It was a great way to cool off and see more of the city.
~ Get a massage at Pure. I have to admit we had a couple of massages while in Granada and they were not the best we have had, but not the worse and the price was amazing. You can’t beat $26 for an hour. I think if you are not into deep tissue then you will be fine, but I like it powerful since I spend so time on the computer. On the other hand, Will had Silvino and he said it was the deepest massage he has ever had.
~Masaya Market. We enjoyed this market a lot. We took a cab for $10 USD for approximately 20 minutes to get to the market. I purchased a couple of gifts and the kids got some amazing cowboy boots.
~ Laguna de Apoyo. We went to Laguna beach club and swam in the crater of an inactive volcano. It really just looked like a lake, but the idea that we were swimming in a volcano crater made it super cool.
~ Listen to Beatles covers (in Spanish) at Imagine. Hey, we all love the Beatles, right? And in Spanish!!!
~ Listen to live music at Garden Cafe. I am not sure if they have live music regularly, but the place was packed and the music was fabulous.
~ Art class at Cafe de Arte. Every Saturday they offer a children’s art class for $5 USD and it lasts 2 hours. The kids loved it.
~ Garden Cafe. Granada is fairly touristy so be prepared to see a lot of food you recognize. You can still find local food, but it is not as readily accessible as you would think. The atmosphere at Garden Cafe is just lovely. The tables center around a floral filled courtyard with hammocks lining the perimeter. The exterior is comprised of a used book exchange, a take out counter and gift shops housing creations from local artists. The cheese plate was to die for. We also ate breakfast here and it was just as tasty. Oh and look up, I love the creative chandelier in the entrance.
~Pizzaiola. Again, fantastic atmosphere centered around a floral filled courtyard. I love the recycled wine bottles used as ceiling art. We had pizza, salads and falafel’s. The tahini and eggplant dip was magic in my mouth.
~ Waffle House. Fabulous breakfast, very American. Make sure you have the waffles.
~ El Zaguan. We had a tasty steak dinner here. Definitely the most pricey meal we had in Granada, but it was worth it. All six of us ate for $134 and that included cocktails. Amazing service! Make sure you try the celery dip on your bread. Yum!
~ Colinitas Sur. In my opinion it did not live up to the hype, sorry, but it was fun to try the local fish (guapote).
~ Street food. We had some delicious street food.
~ airbnb.com. Surprise. Surprise. You know how I feel about airbnb.com. We really enjoyed the place we stayed. It was a traditional, colonial house with an open air living space and three bedrooms. Plus, we loved the tiny pool for afternoon dips. It gets pretty hot in Nicaragua and cooling off in the pool hit the spot.
~ Take an interior and exterior tour of the colonial homes.
~ Explore more of Nicaragua
Ok, off to explore the remote area of Costa Rica that we are currently calling home.