Situated on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Granada is the oldest colonized city in the Americas, established in 1524. Now the center of tourism in Nicaragua, Granada is known for its storied past, beautiful colonial architecture and dramatic lakeside location near the base of the volcano, Mombacho.
All things considered, there isn’t much that can mask the colonial charm and ambiance that is… Granada. You’ll find the central plaza to be as old-world as Spanish Colonial plazas come, with gazebos and fountains and horse-drawn carriages. The cathedral looming over the plaza is as old and authentic as it looks, and the same with the nearby La Plazuela de los Leones, where Captain Morgan actually mounted 18 cannons just to show how serious he was about plundering the city’s silver cache in the 1600s.
El Parque Central or Parque Colón is the social heart of Granada. This large, cobblestoned main square is dotted with trees, shady benches and fountains. A large, domed gazebo rises in the center and local vendors line the park’s periphery, selling candy, cigarettes and handicrafts. Along the west side of the park is a constant line of horse-drawn carriages, or los coches. A guided carriage tour of Granada’s most famous streets and sights is a great way to get yourself oriented.
Below is a mini-lesson in Nicaraguan Food and Drink:
The food and drink of Nicaragua is representative of the diversity of its residents. Spanish, Creole, Garifuna and Indigenous Nicaraguan cuisines all influence modern Nicaragua food, which most travelers find delicious – and exceptionally inexpensive. But in cosmopolitan Granada, you’ll find fine dining experiences that rival some of the finest restaurants in the States. If you like the “farm to fork” concept, this is the place for you. Nicaragua offers grass fed beef, free range chicken and fresh caught fish with the most delectable sauces accompanied by locally grown vegetables and assorted tropical fruits. Have I whetted your appetite?
But do sample some of the traditional Nicaragua foods like corn, beans, plantains, yucca and peppers. A characteristic Nicaragua meal might include a meat like chicken, pork or fresh seafood from Nicaragua’s expansive coasts, deep-fried plantains, rice and beans (aka “gallo pinto”) and a cabbage salad.
What can you drink in Nicaraqua? The Nicaragua drink “el macuá”, a blend of light rum, guava juice, lemon juice and sugar was recently voted the official Nicaragua beverage. When it comes to cerveza, the most popular Nicaragua beer brands are Toña and La Victoria. Bufalo is a relatively new Nicaragua beer. Never fear you can easily find International beers like Heineken and Corona as well.
Nicaragua’s bounty of tropical fruits is used in many non-alcoholic beverages, blended with water, milk or yogurt. In Nicaragua, it’s best to err on the safe side if you’re not sure about the water just order your drink sin hielo, or without ice.
Now, what about dessert? Two favorites have been suggested: Cajeta de Coco: Caramelized strings of coconut and yucca – and Tres Leches Cake (Pasel de Tres Leches): A cake soaked in three kinds of milk, including evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and cream. Be adventurous and order both. You only live once and I’m all for going for the gusto!
Please review the complete itinerary, and start practicing some basic Spanish phrases – although you will find that English is also widely spoken. Tener un viaje maravilloso y emocionante! Adiós.
- Guaranteed departure (plan in confidence!)
- Escorted vacation (0% fuss, 100% vacation!)
- Tour for active adults (share a great experience!)
- Includes home pickup and return (for clients in Marion and adjacent counties)
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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