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Nicaragua eNewsletter June 2014
 
     
 
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Nicaragua Safe and Sound

Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America according to the United Nations’ recent “Human Development Regional Report.” Nicaragua is among the top six countries in Latin America that reflect the best indicators for citizen security and the most secure country in the Central American region. The report, which evaluates 18 countries in the region, places Costa Rica and Panama as the second and third safest countries in Central America after Nicaragua.

Journeys Benefitting Nicaraguan Women
Altruvistas is an organization that seeks to transform communities through sustainable philanthropic travel. This August, Altruvistas is offering a journey sharing the history and culture of Nicaragua through the eyes of women highlighting the inspirational work of Nicaraguan grassroots organizations first-hand. The trip will take travelers through coffee cooperatives in the Matagalpa region, visit organizers in Ometepe working homestays, and to experience the cuisine, music, art and culture of Nicaragua. The 10-day trip is $1,995; for more information contact Altruvistas at 415-735-5407.

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Discover Granada – Top 10 Things To Do

Granada is the oldest city in Central America, to this day maintaining its colonial charm since its founding in 1524. It is considered a showcase for Spanish colonial architecture, and its churches, courtyards, parks, museums, boutique hotels, cafes and restaurants fill the colorful city with sights and sounds ideal for tourists to enjoy.

Visitors to Nicaragua often make Granada their home base while visiting the country as it is only an hour from Managua International Airport. From Granada, visitors can easily access various interest points including Lake Nicaragua and its 365 islets (known as Las Isletas), Mombacho Volcano, Masaya Volcano and its surrounding Pueblos Blancos, and Laguna de Apoyo.

Granada

Here are a few activities not to miss in and around Granada:

  1. Top 10Take a horse-drawn carriage tour
    With its cobblestone streets and colorful buildings, the narrow streets of Granada are sights to be seen. Visitors may take a horse-drawn carriage tour to get oriented with the town and enjoy the vibrant life it has to offer. There’s so much to see throughout Granada, from the sounds of local musicians and church bells to the various street vendors selling snacks including fresh coconuts and pan dulce.

  2. Get a cacao massage at The Mansion de Chocolate’s spa
    Top 10Formerly Hotel Spa Granada and housed in the largest intact mansion in town, The Mansion de Chocolate also holds the Choco Museo. With the largest pool in Granada and a full service spa, quirky room design, and a juice and smoothie bar, guests will enjoy an experience that satisfies all senses. Using cacao native to Nicaragua, the hotel’s spa also features a Cacao Therapy that starts with a relaxing massage, followed by an organic chocolate exfoliation and finished with a Choco Museo chocolate wrap.

  3. Explore the Cathedrals of Granada
    Top 10Granada’s cathedrals are an important part of the colonial history of the city. La Merced, built in 1534, is one of the oldest and most important cathedrals in Central America. Visitors can climb up to the bell tower and catch a view of the rooftops over Granada that stretch to Lake Nicaragua, Las Isletas and Mombacho Volcano. From there, La Catedral de Granada, built in 1583, can also be seen, with its bright yellow façade, and icon in this colonial town. At the eastern end of Granada is La Iglesia de Guadalupe, built in 1624. During colonial times it was one of the most important churches because of its close location to Lake Nicaragua.

  4. Visit a street vendor and savor a tasty treat
    Top 10The street vendors are what bring life to the colonial town of Granada. Selling fritangas (street-food snacks that are perfect for a quick bite while exploring), many also offer handmade arts and crafts or small toys. Visitors can try local specialties including quesillo, tamales, revueltas, carne asada, gallo pinto (rice and beans), fried plantains and vigoron (cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and fried pork rind on mashed yucca). Vendors can be found at Parque Central where benches surround the central park – perfect for people watching and enjoying a delicious bite to eat!

  5. Enjoy coffee with a cause at Café de las Sonrisas
    Top 10Founded in 2012 by Antonio Prieto, affectionately called “Tio Antonio” by friends old and new, the Tio Antonio Centro Social houses Café de las Sonrisas and a hammock workshop, both of which aid deaf and blind youth. Deaf youth have the opportunity to learn skills by working in the café as waiters and preparing food, while hammocks are masterfully designed by blind youth, a skill they learn at the center. Visitors get to enjoy Nicaraguan coffee in a peaceful courtyard café while giving back to this meaningful local organization.

  6. Experience cosmopolitan refinement at Ciudad Lounge
    Top 10Named by The New York Times as one of most exciting places to eat in Nicaragua, Ciudad Lounge provides a cosmopolitan experience in a colonial town setting. With loft ceilings and an open kitchen, diners will be transported to New York via a refined Nicaraguan palette. The restaurant engages guests as an art gallery, cigar lounge and specialization in fine spirits. Everything in the space, from Nicaraguan crafts and modern art, is carefully curated by Ciudad’s owners and available for sale.

  7. Take a late-night stroll down La Calzada
    Top 10Granada’s vibrant nightlife converges at Calle La Calzada, a pedestrian street where locals and tourists can mingle among the outdoor seating of the street’s bars, lounges and restaurants. Visitors will find the best nights to people-watch are Friday and Saturdays, as local musicians walk La Calzada and play live music or perform dances from salsa to hip hop.

  8. Discover local cultural enrichment at La Calzada Art Center
    Top 10Also located on La Calzada next to the cathedral, La Calzada Art Center provides visitors a change of pace with hands-on arts exposure. The center was opened by American expat Amy Bushnell in 2006 and offers daily classes for adults and children for as little as $5 USD. Classes range from painting in oil, acrylic, watercolor and pastel, drawing, mosaics, sketching, ceramics and glass blowing. All paints, brushes, palettes are free to use and canvases are available for purchase.

  9. Venture to nearby attractions for a daytrip
    Top 10Nearby attractions from Granada that are not to miss include: Mombacho Volcano, less than half an hour away by car has hiking trails through cloud forests, flora and fauna. Canopy tours, Mombacho Lodge and more can easily fill a day’s worth of adventure. Nearby on Lake Nicaragua, visitors can spend a relaxing day of swimming and picnicking among the 365 individual islands that make up Las Isletas. Masaya and the Pueblos Blancos feature artisans, metalworkers, leather makers, painters and more with an open-air market great for perusing.

  10. Shop till you drop
    Top 10From leather goods to arts and crafts, Granada is a great place to shop for unique souvenirs. Visitors should stop by one of these not-to-miss shops in town: Soy Nica, selling leather goods and handbags; Doña Elba Cigars, where you can learn about and roll your own cigars; and Olé, a clothing boutique and handicrafts store specializing in products from local cooperatives.

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Granada Travel Packages:

Travel Packages

Travel Packages

Travel Packages

Travel Packages

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Yampu Tours “Granada and Morgan’s Rock” 6-day Package – Culture, light adventure

  • Colonial Granada
  • Lake Nicaragua
  • Art galleries, churches, horse-drawn carriage tour
  • Morgan’s Rock Ecolodge
  • Nature walks

G Adventures “Local Living in Granada” 8-day Package – Culture, volcanoes, local immersion

  • Colonial Granada
  • Hiking cloud forests at Mombacho Volcano
  • Kayaking in Lake Nicaragua
  • Swimming in Laguna de Apoyo
  • Local markets, bars, restaurants

Tara Tours “Granada and San Juan del Sur” 8-day Package – Culture, beach, light exploring

  • Colonial Granada
  • Horse-drawn carriage tour
  • San Juan del Sur
  • Beach swimming and relaxing

TripMasters.com “Granada and Beaches” 6-day Package – Flexible travel, culture, light adventure

  • Colonial Granada
  • Lake Nicaragua
  • San Juan del Sur
  • Managua
  • Customizable itinerary

Festival Tours “Nicaraguan Sampler” 4-day Package – Culture, shopping, light exploring

  • Managua
  • Masaya Volcano and Masaya Market
  • Colonial Granada
  • Lake Nicaragua

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Nicaraguan Tourism Board
Hotel Crowne Plaza, 1c Sur, 1c. Oeste. Managua, Nicaragua. Aptdo. Postal No. 5088
Pbx: (505) 2254-5191 / Fax: (505) 2222-6610
www.visitnicaragua.us