My wife and I spent seven incredible days in and around Granada. The places, food, and especially the people touched us; we’d definitely plan to return.
Day 1: Masaya
Maria Jose is widely touted on TA’s Nica posts and she took us on a great tour in and around her home city. We started with Volcan Masaya and really enjoyed the lava tube with its bats and wild tree roots breaking through from the surface. We then dropped into Masaya for some shopping and lunch at one of her favorite local eateries. A quick side trip to Forteleza de Coyotepe was well worth it. An old fort turned prison for the past dictators—the graffiti and stains speak to the country’s darker past. We ended the day with some people watching along the shores of Laguna de Apoyo.
Day 2: Granada
Wandered the city admiring and photographing the churches and colonial architecture. We really enjoyed the Chocolate Museum and strolling around the Iglesia de San Francisco.
Day 3: Vulcan Mombacho
Ramon Parra was recommended by several ex-pats (Zoom Bar). A fascinating guy; his family fled the child conscription of 1980s, grew up in Texas, and now runs private tours, logistics, etc. in and around Granada. We had a great day enjoying the cool breeze while we explored one of the craters and its cloud forest.
Day 4: Butterfly Reserve and Cemetery
Pretty beat from the hiking, Ramon took us on a nice ½ day tour that started at the Butterfly Reserve. About a mile out of town, it’s a quick and easy way to escape Granada’s bustle and spend some time wandering the countryside. Gino guided us around the butterflies and then let us wander the grounds with its mango, avocado and citrus trees. Ramon then took us to Granada’s cemetery that I found just as impressive as those in New Orleans. His stories of the prominent Nicaraguan families were a plus.
Day 5: Ometepe
We wanted to do a couple days on the volcano islands but ferry uncertainties on Xmas Eve and Day limited us to one. Ramon came through again and we really enjoyed an unplanned stop at Museo Ceiba (great collection of Pre-Colombian pottery and funeral urns), kayaking in Chaco Verde, and the clear waters of Aqua de Ojo.
Day 6: Last Day
Ramon took us on a fun (via chicken bus and tuk-tuks) 3-hour jaunt through a few towns scattered around Masaya. We scored some locally made pottery, rum, Chicha Bruja and then finished the day with some Nica sweets and smoothies while enjoying the views from Catarina.
Nicaragua’s climate, history, places, and people are a beautiful and unspoiled collage less than four hours from ATL. We really enjoyed our time with Maria Jose and Ramon as they really helped us recognize and appreciate nuances we wouldn’t have otherwise. They were flexible, informative, and most especially, great fun. Please let me know if there are any questions!
Ramon Parra: email@example.com (505-8958-0913)
Maria Jose: firstname.lastname@example.org