7 Things You Didn’t Know about Granada Nicaragua
Central America has definitely become an expat hotspot, especially among North Americans, and although it remains one of the least visited countries in the region, Nicaragua is steadily gaining popularity.
So what is it about Granada Nicaragua that makes it an expat haven?
No longer too exotic for travelers, today expats are making their way down to this amazing country to experience the beaches, the volcanic views, and the picturesque, colonial city of Granada, all at a very affordable cost.
And while you may think that you know a thing or two about Nicaragua, and Granada in particular, there are a few things that you may not have known that might just tip the scales in Granada’s direction.
1) Granada is considered the ‘colonial jewel’ of Nicaragua and is becoming a gateway to tourism growth
Dubbed ‘La Gran Sultana’ or the ‘Great Pearl’, the ancient city of Granada is the oldest city in Central America and has been settled for over 500 years.
A city rich in history and beauty, Granada has become the most developed tourist spot in Nicaragua. And the industry is blossoming as expats and tourists alike head down to Nicaragua’s ‘colonial jewel’ to enjoy the historic architecture, the shores of Lake Nicaragua, and the ideal, spring-like climate.
In Granada, your days can be spent taking canopy tours of Mombacho Volcano, viewing the picturesque churches, or even taking a carriage ride through the city, which will definitely take you back in time.
2) Granada is sister city to Antigua, Guatemala
Founded by Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba in 1524, Granada was originally the sister Capital city of Central America, along with Antigua, Guatemala.
Having a lot in common, both of these beautiful, colonial cities are safe and well-preserved, and are both tourist hotspots in their respectable countries.
3) Granada was once a prime target for pirates
Another thing you may not have known about Granada, is that it has a history of being sacked by pirates on numerous occasions.
It didn’t just happen in the movies. Between the years 1665 and 1857, Caribbean pirates roamed the clear waters of Lake Nicaragua, the largest fresh water lake in Central America that is connected to the Caribbean Sea by the San Juan River.
Making its home on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Granada was an important trading post, which made it a prime and frequent target for these rogue buccaneers.
Arguably the most famous of these pirates was William Walker, who settled in Granada with the master plan to become the ruler of all Central America. Needless to say, he did not succeed, but he left his mark by setting fire to the city and leaving behind the words ‘Granada was here’. Luckily, it’s still here.
4) Life in Granada is cheap
Although on the rise, Nicaragua is not yet choked with the high volume of tourists that you will find in other areas of Central America, and because of this, the cost of living in Granada is very low.
In Granada, expats can soak in the scenic beauty, the unbeatable weather and the cobblestone streets without draining their savings in the process.
Renting a home in Granada is extremely affordable and a spacious one bedroom apartment with a large kitchen and all utilities included will run you anywhere from $350-500 a month, a mere fraction of what you would pay back in the States.
And with markets selling fresh, cheap produce and moderately priced restaurants, gyms, and even a movie theater, you can live a full life in Granada, on a low budget.
5) There is a green tourism movement
Ecotourism is experiencing a new wave of popularity when it comes to deciding on a vacation destination or retirement spot and Granada is definitely on board.
Working out of Granada, the Rainforest Alliance (a group working to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior) is currently working on an urban sustainability tourism project that will make it easier for travelers to choose sustainable tourism options when they decide where to vacation, or retire.
In Granada, you will find that a lot of energy is going into sustainable development and nature conservation. Certain hotels are recycling and efforts are currently going towards making the Isletas (small islands around Granada) a natural reserve.
This is all in order to prove that Granadean hotel owners, tour operators and other business owners working in a sustainable manner, can in fact, fuel the local economy.
6) Granada is filled with great restaurants
Mainly due to the fact that Granada is Nicaragua’s main tourist destination, Granada is a hub for amazing dining experiences.
In Granada, you can indulge in a diverse range of cuisine at very reasonable prices, so it can be all too easy to go overboard when it comes to dining.
Feast on local dishes like gallo pinto (rice and beans) and tostones (fried plantains), but if you’re itching for something different, there is much to try in Granada.
Get your fill of Indian food at Buddha Viva where you can purchase the dinner buffet for $7, savour tasty, handmade pizza at Pizzeria Don Luca or fill up on delicious Mexican food at Tequila Vallarta.
And if cooking is your thing, head down to the local market to stock up on fresh, local ingredients like beans, rice, peppers, garlic, and potatoes to make your own meals.
7) Willy Wonka, Nicaragua style
Although not as well-known for their chocolate as the Swiss or the Belgians, Nicaraguans make fantastic chocolate that can be tasted and observed at the ChocoMuseo in Granada.
If you make a trip to the ChocoMuseo you will be able to witness the chocolate making process, as it moves from cacao bean, to a smooth bar of chocolate.
And if you’d like to experience more, you can try a chocolate making workshop where you can learn to make chocolate bars, decadent truffles, and even chocolate ganache.
Is Granada the city for you?
Now that you know a few more things about the beautiful city of Granada, Nicaragua, plan a trip and come down to experience this colonial gem for yourself.
With perfect weather, scenic beauty and a low cost of living, consider Granada, Nicaragua, and all of the great things it has to offer. And who knows, while you’re down there, you may just find the perfect spot to call home.
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Thank you for this great post about Granada. Our beautiful colonial city is also a great place to learn Spanish. Check out our Website 😉