Things to do in Granada Nicaragua – a guide for backpackers

Things to do in Granada

 Granada is a city in Nicaragua with a rich colonial heritage, seen in its architecture and structure. The streets are filled with history, vibrant colours, churches, cathedrals, museums, markets and a lively atmosphere. This is a guide on the best things to do in Granada Nicaragua, and other travel tips for backpackers. 

Things to do in Granada Nicaragua

Climb Iglesia de La Merced

Visitors can climb to the top of this 1534 church to the bell tower for panoramic views of Granada and Mombacho Volcano. Entry is around $1. 

Things to do in Granada
Things to do in Granada

Explore Granada by foot 

Granada is filled with colourful colonial architecture, dating back from 1524. Spend the morning wandering the streets, and walk down to the lakefront of Lake Nicaragua.

Chocolate tours

Chocolate tours are popular in Granada, with ChocoMuseo being a popular company to take chocolate tours with.

Day trips from Granada Nicaragua

Laguna De Apoyo –  Lake Apoyo

Laguna de Apoyo was one of my favourite destinations in Nicaragua. Apoyo Lagoon is a nature reserve located between Granada and Masaya. The lake is a crater formed from a volcano eruption more than 20,000 years ago. Apoyo lagoon is the clearest lake in the region, as well as the deepest geological point in Central America. The glistening deep blue Crater Lake is the perfect location to swim, dive, sail, paddle or relax.

Things to do in Granada Nicaragua

Check out my Apoyo Lake guide

Shop at Masaya Markets

Masaya has the biggest handcraft markets in the region. If you are looking to buy souvenirs for friends or things to take home and decorate your house, the Masaya Markets are the perfect place to shop.

Masaya Volcano

Masaya Volcano is Central America’s most active volcano, with the potential to erupt without notice. It is a sight to see with smoke rolling out of the top. If you take a night tour of the volcano you will see lava. Masaya Volcano is 30 kms from Granada. 

Things to do in Granada Nicaragua

Explore Mombacho Volcano

You can zip line across the treetops of Mombacho Volcano reserve, or you can choose between hiking trails. Mombacho has four craters, each covered with cloud forest. Hikes range in difficulty, but each hike offers breathtaking views and exposure to the unique flora and fauna in the reserve.

Boat tour through Granada Islets

The islets are a group of 365 small islands scattered about the Asese Peninsula. Visitors can take a boat tour through the Islands of Granada. 

Relax at Poste Rojo Treehouse

If you’re looking for somewhere to chill out for a night or two, try the tree house located 15 minutes south of Granada. Spend the night in a hammock, dorm or your own tree house. There isn’t much to do so take a good book and snacks. This is a great place to catch up on sleep. The beds are really comfortable; I’d recommend a bed over a hammock.

Recommended length of stay in Granada

I recommend staying in Granada for 2 nights and Lake Apoyo for 1 night.

Getting to and around Granada

If you are coming from overseas, you would fly into Managua Airport. From Managua, you would take a bus or arrange a shuttle to Granada.

If you are coming to Granada from the South of Nicaragua (Isla de Ometepe or San Juan Del Sur), you would take a bus to Rivas, then a bus from Rivas to Granada. If you are coming from Costa Rica you can get a bus directly to Granada from the border.

Once in Granada, most things are within walking distance, or you can easily catch public buses to surrounding areas, for example, Laguna de Apoyo and Masaya. Alternatively, you can organize a shuttle or get a taxi.

Search for accomodation in Granada

Currency in Granada

Nicaraguan Cordoba and US Dollars are accepted in Nicaragua.

Travel Insurance for Granada

Travel insurance is a necessity when backpacking to Granada.  I recommend World Nomads.  If you are still unsure if you should buy travel insurance or not, read this. 

Safety in Granada

You should always be exercising safety precautions in Granada:

  • Avoid flashing your valuables
  • Keep an eye on your belongings at all times
  • Lock your belongings in the hotel safe
  • Remain aware of your surrounding
  • Avoid unknown streets at night
  • Don’t drink too much

See more tips for keeping safe when travelling. 

Language in Nicaragua

The official language in Nicaragua is Spanish. Limited locals will speak English.

Vaccinations for Nicaragua

Check the Travel Doctor website to find out what vaccinations you need when backpacking to Nicaragua. If you have any further questions regarding vaccinations required for Nicaragua, I recommend consulting a doctor.

Overseas Travel Checklist 

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Things to do in Granada Nicaragua

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