About Granada Nicaragua
A must see; Las Isletas, and a little bit far, Mombacho, a natural reserve volcano. If you are a people person, and just want to hang out,go to the central park, and you will make friends very easily. Granadinos (as they like to be called) are very friendly, and helpful.
Also, tropical fruits are plentiful and delicious, some of them prepared as juices, to calm the thirst. One favorite juice is called "jugo de pitaya" made from a purple jungle cactus Pitahaya. Travelers should not leave this great place without trying other fruits such as jocotes, mangoes, caimitos, grocellas, papaya, watermelon, and so much more.
Set on the western shore of Lago de Nicaragua some 45km southeast of Managua, GRANADA was once the jewel of Central America. The oldest Spanish-built city in the isthmus, it was founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, who named it after his home town in Spain. During the colonial period Granada became fabulously rich, its wealth built upon exploitation: sited only 20km from the Pacific, the city was a transit point for shipments of gold and other minerals that were mined throughout the Spanish empire, with the help of indigenous slave labor. Laden Spanish galleons would sail from Granada across the lake, down the Rio San Juan, out to the Caribbean and then to Europe. The wealth of the city also attracted traffic in the other direction: Granada's gold stores proved tempting to buccaneers and it was sacked several times by English and French pirates, until the Spanish built their Castillo, a fort on the banks of the Rio San Juan.
Granada's wealth and the generations of criollos (people of Spanish descent born in the New World) who made it their home contributed to its conservative character. The split between liberal Leon, the only other city of any size in the country, and conservative Granada developed as early as the eighteenth century, and persists to this day. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, feelings of rivalry between the two cities were ignited by Nicaraguan independence. With the departure of the Spanish, a power vacuum developed and the elite of Leon decided to fill it by inviting the troublesome American, William Walker to fight their cause. Walker attacked and captured Granada, from where he ruled the country for two years until being finally driven out. On his retreat from Granada, Walker ordered the city burned, and most of it subsequently fell into ruin (you can still see the black marks on the facade of the cathedral).
Granada never recovered its original splendor, though it's still the most architecturally arresting town in Nicaragua, while the city's recent tourist boom has led to a large-scale restoration of the old colonial buildings, many of them newly re-painted in pastel shades. Today Granada is central to the Nicaraguan government's tourism ambitions, and a burgeoning network of foreign-owned bars, restaurants and hostels has already sprung up to service the increasing number of visitors. The city also makes a good base from which to explore the lake, volcanoes, the Zapatera archipelago and Isla de Ometepe, while more adventurous travelers might head on to the Solentiname Islands and San Carlos.
365 small islands are located about 3km from Granada and in the lake Cocibolca. In this majestically archipelago with volcanic origin, the visitor enjoys exuberant flora and fauna, a unique view over the volcano Mombacho, as well as to the Ometepe island, where you will find two impressive volcanoes: el Concepcion and el Maderas. In picturesque, comfortable and secured boats, the tourists can travel to the impressive canals, which separate the islands from each other, admire a fortress of the 19th century, which is situated near the island of San Pablo, and watch a colony of monkeys, that lives on a small island and which, funnily, approach the boat when its coming close.
Many of the islands are private properties. You will see beautiful, warm summer houses which contrast to those of the indigenous families and fishers who as well live on the islands. There is also the possibility to swim fish and practice other water sports.
Mombacho National Park Volcano has a height of about 1400 meters above sea level. (The 5th Volcano in the mountain range of Nicaragua).
Extinct a long time ago, it consist of total core vegetations, which forms a particular ecosystem, in which live about 50 species of mammals, 30 species of reptiles and amphibian and 750 different kinds of flowers.
A research center is located on the slopes of the volcano. There you can find laboratory and a small museum and the center is as well a starting point for many of the trails overlooking the crater.
At the most of the trails you can also find natural volcanic wholes, so called fumaroles, from which hot gases arise. Admire lake Cocibolca, the lagoon of Apoyo and the city Granada from its panoramic point of view.