|Calle La Calzada|
Sometimes, when I've traveled thousands of miles, I find the same stores, the same food, the same looking things that I have back home. That's unfortunate, because each country has such unique roots. This is one of my biggest gripes and fears. I hate the idea that one day all of these fantastic and once very diverse places will look alike. It's already happening. I can't even imagine what it will be like in 20 years. Therefore, for me, getting to places like Nicaragua is a must. PSA over.
While we had a wonderful time in Granada, I must say that our two days there were plenty. Things to do within the city limits are, well, limited. We did pretty much all the sightseeing possible, plus got massages, napped and slept in, shopped, did two tours, and we saw every single thing we wanted. That being said, there are many options outside of the city, so a longer stay would be appropriate if you've figured out all of the activities.
So what do you do while in the city? Eat, shop, relax, and take in the sights.
First things first...where to stay? There are a lot of hotel options in Granada. We opted for Hotel Xalteva. It's a 10 minute walking distance from the heart of town, which I actually loved. It was nice to have the peace and quiet. The walk itself is totally safe. The Fiance, who had never really been to a third world country at this point, for sure thought we were going to get shanked on our walk, which was hilarious. It didn't take him long to realize we were totally safe and that streets just look different than in good old America.
The hotel was awesome, and only slightly odd (I say that with love). We had a living room, fully functioning and fully equipped kitchen, a DVD player (for which we had not one single DVD - this is why I'm telling you, be prepared), bed and bath, and an enclosed patio. The hotel has a pool, an awesome breakfast, the cutest tiny pineapple I've ever seen in my whole pineapple loving life, a hammock, and AC (mucho importante)! The hotel will give you an entire jug of drinking water to use for a very small fee. The tap water, however, is safe to drink. They super chlorinate it, which can be rough for our stomaches that aren't used to that level of chlorine in water, so we still opted for bottled water only.
|Our "condo"style living room and dining area at Hotel Xalteva|
|The baby pineapple. Ooo...ahh.|
|The updated alley with all of it's beautiful art work.|
Last, but not least, almost right across the street-ish is an old alley (formerly, a prostitute alley if we're keeping it real) that has been transformed with beautiful art work and leads to a church and some other cool things to check out. The down side of the hotel was that the bed was pretty hard and, of course, the window weirdness.
Shopping and Sightseeing
The main part of town has everything you need. Getting there from the Hotel Xalteva means you get to pass by La Merced Church. Definitely stop there for 15 minutes to check it out and if you want, you can pay a small fee to climb some stairs for a view of all Granada. To be honest, however, you won't see too much. A lot of roofs, actually. But it is still kind of a pretty view in its own way.
|La Merced Church during the day|
|La Merced at night. Just for fun.|
|The view from La Merced lookout tower.|
|Cathedral of Granada|
|The Garden Cafe|
|Just one sitting area inside the cafe, with the shop right peeking through the opening.|
Back to Central Park. If you want to go where absolutely every tourist ever goes, you'll take the main street straight past the church- Calle La Calzada. Here you will find restaurants, more spas, and a handful of places to shop. Soy Nica, a local leather store, is a must see. They handcraft every possible leather item you could ever imagine in pretty much every color your little shopping heart could ever dream of. I must recommend Super Frutto Gelataria for your gelato eating pleasure because let me tell you, when it is somewhere in the 90's and you're walking all over town, all you want is some ice cream and this place was awesome.
As for resteraunts and being able to eat gluten free, Pizzeria Don Luca was really quite yummy. I had a steak and some veggies and was very pleased. We also ate at Restaurante El Marlin, which was crazy good and had amazing service. On our last night we ate at El Zaguan, which was pretty expensive for Granada, but also quite delicious. All in all, I stuck with proteins, veggies, and salads and was good to go the whole time.
|Soy Nica - Handcrafted leather goods.|
|Just one of the many beautiful buildings around this area.|
|Starting point of the tour.|
|Those, my friends, are bird nests in the tree.|
|Michael on Monkey Island|
|One of the homes on one of the many islands.|
One of my favorite things about Granada is all the different colored buildings. It really makes everything bright and beautiful. Before you scroll down to look at them, something important to note: You don't need to order foreign currency. Like, at all. Stores, and even street vendors, label everything in US dollars. The only time you would need local currency is for a taxi ride. You're welcome.
Granada - You definitely are most fresh. Thanks for hosting us and putting up with our minimal Spanish speaking skills. I hope all the local residents enjoyed our obviously amazing interview.
Part 2: Costa Rica and the engagement photos coming soon! (Basically, I need to go to bed. Just keeping it real, friends.)
Also, I've got some pictures up on my Society6 page, but I'm working on the rest. Because, sleep.