Granada Cathedral by Air, Nicaragua

Granada is a beautiful town about one hour from Pochomil, two hours from Costa Rica and one hour from Managua. Its restaurants, hotels. If you are traveling to Nicaragua or traveling to Southern Nicaragua, Granada is a beach you want to visit.

Granada is a city in western Nicaragua and the capital of the Granada Department. With an estimated population of 110,326 (2003), it is Nicaragua's fourth most populous city. Granada is historically one of Nicaragua's most important cities, economically and politically. It has a rich colonial heritage, seen in its architecture and structure.

Granada was founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, ostensibly the first European city in mainland America. Unlike other cities that claim the same distinction, the city of Granada was not only the settlement of the conquest, but also a city registered in official records of the Crown of Aragon, and the Kingdom of Castile in Spain.

Horse Carts in Granada, Nicaragua

Granada is also known as La Gran Sultana, in reflection of its Moorish and Andalusian appearance, unlike its sister city of León and historical rival, which displays Castilian trends.

t was named by Hernández de Córdoba after the ancient Spanish city of Granada. This was done in honor of the defeat of the last Moorish stronghold, which had been Spanish Granada, by the Catholic King and Queen of Spain. Granada, Nicaragua was historically the sister capital in Central America to Antigua, Guatemala. During the colonial period, Granada maintained a flourishing level of commerce with ports on theAtlantic Ocean, through Lake Nicaragua (a.k.a. Cocibolca) and the San Juan River.

The city has been witness and victim to many of the battles with and invasions from English, French and Dutch pirates trying to take control of Nicaragua.

It was also where William Walker, the American filibuster, took up residence and attempted to take control of Central America as a ruling president. One of Walker's generals, Charles Frederick Henningsen, set the city ablaze before escaping, destroying much of the ancient city and leaving printed the words "Here was Granada".

For many years Granada disputed with León its hegemony as the major city of Nicaragua. The city of Granada was favored by the Conservatives, while Léon was favored by the Liberals. For many years there was conflict that at times became quite violent between the cities' families and political factions. In the mid-19th century a compromise site was agreed on and the capital was finally established at Managua between both cities .

Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua

Granada avoided much of the tumult of the Sandinista Era in the 1970-80s.

Granada was founded on the shores of Lake Nicaragua (Lake Cocibolca) by Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba in 1524. This makes Granada, Nicaragua one of the oldest settlements in Central America. Francisco named Granada after his home in Spain.

Historically Granada was the sister capital of Central America to Antigua, Guatemala. During the colonial period Granada became one of the most important harbors in Central America. Granada had ports on the Atlantic, through Lake Nicaragua and on the San Juan River.

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Relevant historical architecture and attractions

· Plaza de la Independencia

· San Francisco Church and Museum

· Xalteva Church

· Plazuela de los Leones

· Plaza de la Independencia

· Central Park

· Cathedral

· Guadalupe Church

· La Merced Church

· Souls Chapel

· Fortin de San Pablo

· Fuerte La Pólvora

· Episcopal Palace

· Alcaldía Municipal

· San Antonio College

· Diocesan College

· Old Social Club

· Old Railway Station

San Francisco Museum

The San Francisco Monastery is one of Granada's principal antiquities. It was founded in 1529 by Toribio Benevante, a Franciscan clergyman, and named the Immaculate Conception.

The museum has:

- A collection of photos of Granada taken at the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s depicting life before the advent of concrete and asphalt.

- Dioramas illustrating the daily life of the natives who lived in this area prior to the arrival of Columbus and tools and crockery uncovered from diggings around the city.

- A collection of zoomorphic statues found on the island of Zapatera where they were carved by the pre-Columbus natives between 800 and 1200 A.D.

Volcan Mombacho

This national park is located 10 kilometers outside of the city of Granada. The volcano has a height of 1400 meters and contains 700 hectares undisturbed cloud forest rich with Nicaraguan flora and fauna. There are a few trails, a small museum and restaurant at the top.

Here is the first zipline tour of Nicaragua. It's a beautiful experience between trees with an awesome view.

Laguna de Apoyo

This 48 square kilometer body of water is located a few kilometers outside of the city of Granada. It is clean, and a great place to spend a day swimming and soaking in the rays on one of the hotels or restaurants right on the shore.

It is a great place for scuba diving.

Las Isletas Tour

Las Isletas were formed when Mombacho blew it’s top around 20,000 years ago. The 365 island archipelago is found in Lake Nicaragua. The islands are inhabited by a few hundred campesinos and some wealthy Nicaraguans who have built luxurious vacation homes. The islands can easily be accessed by rented boat on the shores of the lake.

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Bars, clubs and restaurants in Granada

El Club

Upper end hostel/hotel/bar/restaurant.

Address: Piedra Bocona 1 cuadra oeste Calle La Libertad

Phone: 552-4245

Hotel AlhambraBeautiful renovated hotel on the central park. (Picture of Hotel Alhambra)

Phone: 552-4486

Hotel Colonial

Nice colonial style full service hotel.

Address: 10 yards west from the central park

Phone: 552-7299

Hotel Gran Francia

First class colonial style hotel and French restaurant

Address: The south east corner of the park.

Phone: 552-6000

Hostel Oasis

Nice backpacker hostel with a pool and good service.

Address: Calzado Sandak 50 mts oeste.

Phone: 552-8005

There are hundreds of restaurants in Granada, but these are the ones we recommend with their addresses and phone numbers.

La Gran Francia

Gourmet French Restaurant

Address: Across the street from hotel Gran Francia


This is a great Spanish Restaurant in a beautifully remodeled colonial building.

Address: Half a block east of Gran Francia

Phone: 552-6764

El Zaguan

Upscale Nicaraguan style Grilled Steak restaurant.

Address: Behind the Cathedral.

Phone: 552-2522

El Club

New European hotel with bar and restaurant. Unique mix of Asian, European and Nicaraguan food. See info under hotels.

As you walk from the park west towards El Club you will find 4 bars that are pretty fun on any given night:

First you find El Flamingo a local bar then a block further you come across.

La Fabrica and Café Nuit which are across the street from each other.

Don’t let guesswork play a part in your Nicaragua vacation planning. We hand-picked the very best vacation rentals, much more private than hotels, in Nicaragua and guarantee top notch quality and service. Not sure what you want? Call us at +1 (434) 466-6651

Hotel Alhambra, Granada, Nicaragua
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