an idiosyncratic guide from Mansion de Chocolate

The following answers the frequent question “What is there to do in Granada?”. You probably will want to spend some time walking around the historic center of Granada and just getting a feel for the city; you can easily spend a couple of days taking in the sights in town, which include:

Museum of San Francisco Convent for pre-Columbian ceramics and stone work, especially the stone statues that the US naturalist Squiers collected from Zapatera Island when he was surveying Nicaragua for the US government in the 1830s.
The Cathedral and the various churches, especially the tower of La Merced, from which you have a great view of the historic center, Mombacho Volcano, and Lake Nicaragua.
Mi Museo, a private collection open to the public of pre-Columbian ceramics.
ChocoMuseo*, a museum dedicated to the history and cultivation of cacao, as well as an artisanal factory producing chocolate.
La Polvora, an early 18th century fort and munitions storage depot.
La Calzada, a pedestrian friendly street filled with bars and restaurants.
The lakefront (although the tourist area tends to be rubbish strewn and not very attractive).
The municipal market, if you enjoy typical markets (although be forewarned, a visit may destroy any carnivorous tendencies you have).
Cigar “factories” – Mombacho Cigars and Doña Elba. “Factories” is in quotes because they are really cigar stores masquerading (reasonably well) as factories.
Old Railroad Station – Opened in 1886, it was taken out of service when the president sold both the rolling stock and the railroad tracks of Nicaragua in the 90s as scrap.




 Catarina Masaya Nicaragua Catarina and San Juan de Oriente – Catarina, a town about 1,700 feet above sea level, on the rim of the extinct Apoyo Volcano, is cooler than Granada and provides a great view of Laguna Apoyo, Granada, and Lake Nicaragua beyond. If you lunch there, focus on the view rather than the food, as all the restaurants seem to be unable to rise above similar levels of mediocrity. A five minute drive from Catarina, across the Guanacaste Road, is San Juan de Oriente, an artisan village, home to potters turning out the beautiful one of a kind pottery. Many of the artisans will welcome you into their workshops to see them at work; some will even let you have a turn at their potter’s wheel.
 Apoyo Lagoon Nicaragua Laguna Apoyo – Crystal clear water with a very high mineral content at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit year round make this volcanic crater lake an excellent destination for swimming or other water sports such as wind surfing, sailing, or kayaking.
 Mombacho Volcano Granada Nicaragua Mombacho Volcano – An extinct volcano rising to about 4,300 feet above sea level, Mombacho Volcano provides an excellent opportunity to experience the dry tropical forest of Nicaragua, as well as certain other micro climates, such as the dwarf forest at the top. You can choose hiking, a canopy experience, and a visit to coffee plantations on the mountain.
 Masaya Market Masaya Market and Masaya Volcano – There are actually two markets in Masaya, the “old market” and the “new market”. The old market is exclusively handicrafts, and contains a nice selection of the variety of handicrafts that are produced around Nicaragua. Especially notable are hammocks, pottery, and carved wooden items,. The new market has a comparable selection of items, is a bit dirtier, but is also the market where locals shop for their basic food and household needs, and prices tend to be a bit lower. One can drive to the top of the cráter at Masaya Volcano, and there is also the option of a night tour to see glowing lava.
 The Small Island Granada Nicaragua Las Isletas (The Islands) – Take a boat from Marina Cocibolca rather than Cabanas Amarillas, as the part of the lake accessed from the Marina is much calmer and the water quality much higher.
 La Calera Granada Nicaragua

La Calera* – The all day excursión to this 3,000 acre (about 1,000 hectare) paradise on the shore of Lake Nicaragua is the best way to experience Lake Nicaragua, the Isletas, and the dry tropical forest, as well as learn about cacao and other crops. Complete info available at ChocoMuseo.

*Mansion de Chocolate has an economic interest in both ChocoMuseo and the La Calera tour.