Nicaragua: Granada & Area
After leaving Montibelli Nature Reserve, the next adventure was to hike to the top of MASAYA VOLCANO, which is located only 20 kms south of Managua. As luck would have it, the park was closed and we were not allowed to hike it. The volcano was extremely active and lava was erupting. Needless to say we were quite disappointed as that was one of the main volcanoes we wanted to hike.
So we continued on to the pretty colonial city of GRANADA where Roberto and Frank gave us a city tour & showed us the main sites. We then treated them to lunch at the GARDEN CAFE which was packed with young Gringos from all over the place. The food was fantastic. They made sure to stay with us and keep us company until we were checked in to our next hotel, the beautiful COLONIAL HOTEL PLAZA COLON.
Situated in the heart of Granada and across the street from the central park and main square, with horse buggies lined up along the street, its considered the best one in the city.
We wandered around the streets, taking in the sights and beauty of this colonial, colourful city. There are way more tourists here and even though its much smaller, it seemed a much busier city.
During our walk, we came upon a funeral procession. The fairly large group walked the city streets in silence, following the hearse until they reached the church. The hearse was this horse and buggy which I thought was absolutely beautiful. It reminded me of funerals in my village back home in Croatia.
This is the main promenade… or party street. It goes for a few blocks and by evening it is literally jam packed with people. It is lined with restaurants and bars and music and vendors and entertainers. Like a mini Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Very lively and action packed place. With many tourists.
The following day, we had a 9am pickup by yet another new driver. This time it was a young female. We didn’t know much about todays outing except the fact that we were going to Lake Nicaragua and would be doing some kayaking. It was a 20 minute drive to the lake & then were taken by motor boat for another 20 minute drive. We dodged large rocks sticking out of the lake and went around small islands and islets, getting beautiful views of the lake.
Around 1200 people live on some of these islands and there are 365 islets.
When we arrived at our destination ZOPANGO ISLAND we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by the owner, not realizing that we were going to a private island and a private home. And if that wasn’t surprise enough, there was a special surprise guest at the island…. a resident monkey!
He roamed around, went from tree to tree and would come around and sit on our laps or try to steal our food. We sat with the owner and chatted, while being served refreshing drinks and snacks. There were only two other guests with us, ladies from the UK. The day was ours to do as we wish; just chill out, relax in hammocks, swim or kayak. We were there for the entire day. It was extremely different and unique.
The four of us decided to do some kayaking so the owner had one of his guides take us out for an afternoon kayak, along the lake and islets, looking for wildlife & photography opportunities.
We were served a delicious homemade lunch of fish which was caught in the lake.
Then we ended the day with a couple of us going for a refreshing dip in the lake – which is home to bull sharks and largetooth sawfish. Hmmmm? In a fresh water lake? I actually thought the owner was pulling my leg at the time, that is the only reason I went swimming. But I did find out later that its actually true! The bull sharks adapted to fresh water over the years. Yikes!
The following day we were TREE TOP ZIP LINING AND TREKKING UP THE MOMBACHO VOLCAN. We were picked up by yet another driver named Moses, drove about 20 minutes to the base of the volcano, then up 1/2 way along an extremely steep road which was one-way. We did the zip lining first as the clouds would disappear a bit later for better views during our hike. The zip lining was a piece of cake compared to the runs we did in Costa Rica, but the difference here was that we had to do some different things then just zip lining.
The part I wasn’t keen on was the tarzan swing from ramp to ramp. The guide ended up pushing me off as I was too chicken to swing on my own.
Then this was the worst one for me as I had no idea what to expect as I have never repelled off anything before. By the looks of the first photo you can tell he had to do a lot of convincing! LOL But I did it!
“Yo Creo. Yo Soy. Yo Hago”! “I believe. I am. I do”!
We could see Lake Nicaragua, all of Granada, Apoyo crater and all of the islands where we were yesterday. Stunning views. These are all the islands and islets where we spent the day before at the private Zopango island. It all looks so minuscule from up here.
A view of Apoyo crater lake below.
Beautiful wild orchids and various types are found everywhere.
The rest of the day we spent wandering around Granada again. We found the local market and rummaged through the area, checking out goods and food products.
And Flor de Cana… Nicaragua’s famous rum. I was drinking the 15 year old straight up. So smooth. They have a 25 year old as well, and it was $140US at duty free. I decided to skip on that.
And that ended our tour of Granada. Packed up again and headed to OMETEPE ISLAND FOR THE FOLLOWING 4 DAYS FOR MORE VOLCANO HIKING AND POSSIBLY A BIT OF R&R.