Nica weekend 1 was now over, and the remaining 8 days stretched ahead, with a chill vibe in the city. We had gone surfing on Monday, and I insisted on heading to Granada on Tuesday, to switch the pace from chilled out beach time to city touring. I mentioned my love of colonial architecture before, and Granada is where its at in Nicaragua. It was a rainbow of brightly-coloured building with ornate architectural details at every turn. Looming over the colonial city is Mombacho Volcano, a dark silhouette with its peak hidden behind the clouds. The moment we pulled into the narrow, colourful, one-way streets and saw the volcanic skyline, I was in love.
It was scorching hot that day, and we wanted to see the islets in Lake Nicaragua, off the coast of Granada. We booked a boat tour departing later in the afternoon and head out on foot to walk the colourful streets of the city. We strolled along Calle La Calzada, a street anchored at both ends by two churches (Iglesia de Guadalupe in the East, Catedral de Granada in the West) and lined with colourful restaurants, bars, shops, hotels, and housing. At the West end of the street is the Parque Central (pictured above), filled with leafy green trees, fountains, food vendors, and a domed gazebo, a perfect place to rest your legs and sit under the shade with an ice cream. We kept moving though, doubling back toward the Hotel Granada to take a dip in their pool, where you can cool down and grab a bite to eat (for a fee). If you closed your eyes and pictured a Spanish hacienda, Hotel Granada would look exactly like what you imagine: dark interiors with mosaic tile flooring, wrought-iron gates separating restaurants from the lobby, green vines in the hallways, courtyard pool. The dark interior was cool, a big relief from the high noon sun beating down on us on our stroll. The tiles, architectural details, and plants all lend that colonial vibe I love so much. The pool was the oasis we were looking for, and just as deserted. We did laps, floated around, had some tostones con queso frito (delicious), and generally slowed down our pace. It was hard to rip ourselves out of the peaceful break at the pool, but the Islets called so we headed to our tour.
The islets, formed centuries ago by lava spewing out of Mombacho into Lake Nicaragua, are a series of tiny islands, big enough for a house or tiny hotel/hostel with a nice yard and an awesome view. They’re only accessible by boat, and several islets are for sale. Starting at $125,000USD, my brother and I seriously contemplated snatching one of these puppies up. In fact, we’re still mulling it over because who wouldn’t want their own slice of Nicaraguan paradise? Fancy a few mango trees in your backyard? Perhaps a view of the volcano? Maybe even a helipad*? Look no further than the lush islets of Granada (on sale today). Sigh…
A big thank you to the city of Granada, for providing me with countless architectural eye candy, a volcanic skyline, and my own episode of House Hunters International (tbd).
*Because what’s a private islet without your very own helipad?! Check out my Instagram (@portjam) and search for #PortjamInNicaragua for more pics from Granada, the Islets, and Nicaragua so far.