Arriving in Granada, Nicaragua
Tim and I caught a cab before the sun was blistering hot. We knew the chances of finding one with air conditioning were slim to none. The driver charged us $50 for the one hour trip from San Juan Del Sur to Granada, Nicaragua. There was a semi-scenic desert landscape with a view of a volcano off in the distance and the trip went smoothly, although I understand that is not always the case.
When we reached Calle Calzada (Calzada Street), we got out of the cab and headed to the closest hotel. The Alambra Hotel was located at the corner of the Calzada which is a stone pedestrian street with many restaurants and shops. The cost of a room was $18/night. I splurged and got the deluxe room, the only one with A/C for $30/night. Tim got an upstairs room that he assured me had a wonderful breeze at night. The place seemed reasonably safe and was certainly one of the most conveniently located in Granada.
The Granada Experience
Words cannot explain the wonderful treasures to be seen in Granada. That’s why I took a lot of pictures! As you may recall, I had gotten a little sick on my bus ride from Jaco to San Jose and I was not quite over this yet. Regardless, I decided to have a few drinks one night in Granada. Even though I had kept my drinks to what would normally be a very moderate level for me, I began to start feeling ill again at a bar one night. I decided to drive on and enjoy the night out, but I was off my game enough to leave my camera somewhere along the way. Thus, not very many pictures for you!
I’ll tell you a few of the wonderful things I saw anyways. Just a few blocks from the Calzada, there’s an old church. The church itself is very nice, but for about $2 you can go up to the bell tower and the view of Granada and Lake Nicaragua is amazing. We also toured a few of the colonial houses that were for sale. I don’t think the real-estate agent really thought we were going to buy anything, but we told him we were considering investing in a rental property in Granada. It wasn’t a total lie, but it was going to really be dependent on finding some of the diamonds in the ruff that were advertised on his front door. He did show us some beautiful places, but he was reaching a bit beyond our ballpark figure.
Granada was full of beautiful buildings and people. There were a lot of foreign business owners and a variety of restaurants. This was one of those times where it was probably best not to be there in the tourist season. Everything was slow paced but I could imagine the hustle and struggle to get to do anything when the place is packed.
One interesting story is that of the photo here. It was a group of children going around at dinner time entertaining the tourists. The event consisted of two kids, one on the shoulders of the other, inside this costume that reminded me of the female Avatar from the cartoon series “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The three kids doing most of the work were probably ten years old, but there was another kid helping out at first that was probably about 16. The 16 year old kid eventually collapsed on the sidewalk, obviously stoned out of his mind. Everyone went on with their meal like nothing happened until the owner of the restaurant, a lady probably in her 50’s, finally told the kid to get the hell out of there. After several attempts to get rid of the kid, he finally jumped up, stole a sandwich off of a customers plate, and ran away.
It was funny as hell, but there seems to be a real problem with kids on drugs in the area. Fortunately for tourists, the central part of the town is kept clean and there doesn’t seem to be any trouble. Even at night the area was safe and you could comfortably walk around. There were a few little concessions at park at night and a few girls looking for some work, but it was mostly quiet with no obvious signs of trouble.
All-in-all, it was a great trip and I only wish I hadn’t been too out of it to remember a lot of the details. I would rate this one as pretty safe as long as you stick to the touristy areas at night and take the standard precautions for pick-pockets during the day. I also had no real problem getting along speaking only English. If you’d like to see more pictures, check out my pinterest board on Nicaragua where I’ve added some of the places I got to see and some of the things that make Granada, Nicaragua so beautiful.