Up very early for a 7am walk around the town!
The streets here are small and colourful. All laid out in long rows of square blocks. Many old churches are dotted around the town and are pretty. All different colours – one orange, one white, one blue!
Central Park was full of people setting up for the day – the shoe shiners and the fruit vendors!
Hammocks are very popular across the whole of Central America. Here in Granada there is a small hammock factory which employs disabled people to make the hammocks. They were very colourful. I just would have nowhere to hang one!
Despite being only 7am, it was very busy around! We stopped for breakfast at a waffle cafe. I had pineapple pancakes, which were so tasty (£2.50). But so huge. I only managed half, so they wrapped them up for me to take away!
Then at 9am, we headed out for a day in a van to explore the area around the town!
The first stop was a fort on the top of a 300m tall hill just outside of town. From here there were great views across Granada town, Lake Nicaragua and several surrounding volcanos.
However this fort has a darker past and was used as a prison and to torture people. The cells were all underground and dark. We walked around a large portion of it and it was horrible. There was still writing on the walls and blood visible on the walls. It was only 40 years ago that this building was being used – not nice!
On the way out, there were several iguanas hanging out!
And a short drive across to the Volcan Masaya, an active volcano, at 632m tall. At the back of the visitor centre, there was a nice view of the volcano. And a few white faced monkeys hanging out in the trees.
However what is nice about monkeys here – they ignore you!! They don’t attack for food. Which is actually very nice. We stopped at the base of the volcano for some photos and ended up right next to a termite nest. The guide poked the nest and pulled out a few termites. He said they are great as food – and as an insect repellant!
The top of the volcano was really cool – all the steam coming out of the crater. The smell of sulphuric acid was rather strong!! Around the side of the crater was a no entry sign. The guide we had said it was much more fun by ignoring the sign, running past it and ignoring the park rangers calling us back!!! But the view was amazing!!
The town of Masaya is near to the base of the volcano. This was a busy local town and is famous for its large artesian market. The market is set in a large old building and stalls covered in different crafts.
I was a bit disappointed with the market – no where near as good as the Guatemalan market in Antigua – and also quite expensive. I did buy a few bits. And had a coconut and pineapple smoothie ($2) which was amazing!
Our next stop was the small village of Catalina. Here, they sell a lot of garden ornaments (mushrooms, frogs and gnomes!) as well as lots of nurseries selling a whole raft of different plants! But the best part of the town, is the view point.
The mirador (look out point) is mostly to see the Laguna de Apoyo. This is a natural mineral lake – a crater lake. But with a great view again across Granada just behind the Laguna, and the Lake Nicaragua just behind Granada. To the North of the Laguna is the Mombacho volcano. This stands at 1,345m tall and had been dormant for sometime. Our last stop was at a small coffee farm.
I’ve seen coffee growing countless numbers of times, so I wandered around the small garden at the front watching the monkeys up in the trees and found a star fruit tree!
All throughout the trip we have been buying large bottles of Nicaraguan rum – Flor de Cana. It comes in varying ages, 5 to 25 years. The supermarket was having a special offer, £3.50 for a litre bottle of the 5 year rum. Ridiculously cheap!! Now my bag is very heavy.
For dinner, we ended up in an Italian restaurant. A nice change from tortillas and rice and beans!! The pizza was actually really tasty. Even though it did take nearly an hour and a half for the food to arrive. It’s the same at every meal here – it takes so long to arrive, and so long to pay. They gave us free shots as we had to wait so long! On the way back, we spotted a gelato cafe – and it was amazing! $1.75 for a small pot of gelato – so good!!