In & Around Granada

Granada is a great town to stay in when visiting the Volcán Masaya, Volcán Mombacho, the Isletas de Granada, and my personal favorite- Laguna de Apoyo!

Kayaking the isletas

As with most towns, Granada is centered around the Cathedral and Parque Central. Like I said, this town is great to use as a jump-off point for nearby activities, because there are plenty of accommodations, great restaurants and even some night life! Most of the tours/excursions will pick you up or leave from Granada, and it’s a far more manageable town to navigate than Managua.

The steaming Volcano

Volcán Masaya National Park
Volcán Masaya is an active volcano, where on a clear day (or at night) you can actually see lava as you stand at the crater’s edge! There are several guided tours that operate out of Granada that will bring you here, or if you have a car, it’s an easy drive to get here. The Park is open from 9am to 4:45pm, and then again around 5pm for the night visits. At night, you will be allowed to spend 10-20 minutes (depending on number of visitors) at the crater before the rangers will ask you to leave to the main gate. I believe it’s because of the gases and activity from the volcano. When entering the park, you will first reach the Visitor Center where there are permanent exhibits with information about the volcanoes. You’ll want to continue along the road until you reach Plaza de Oviedo- there you’ll find parking and it’s where you can walk to the edge of the crater (along with other small hikes). Some of these paths/hikes have been closed due to volcanic activity.
More detailed information here
Price: 100 córdobas per person (foreigners) during the day, and US$10 per person at night. No reservations required.

Volcán Mombacho
This is another beautiful volcano hike located close to Granada. When we went, we took the easy route of hiring a guide/doing a tour. I was with a friend, and we were splurging a bit! If you want to budget this hike, you can absolutely take a bus and then walk the steep drive up- more on that here. I honestly don’t remember which trail we did with our group (probably the Crater Trail), but we did work up a sweat and got to spend time in the cloud forest and see some awesome flora & fauna, plus the isletas de Granada from the top!
More info from the Nica Tourism website here

The Isletas de Granada
Casey and I did an afternoon kayaking excursion here, and it was great! We got to visit Isla Mono, see the famous houses on the different isletas, and enjoy the sun setting over Volcán Mombacho (see photo above). Our Airbnb set up this excursion for us, as he “knew a guy,” but there are several tour operators throughout Granada so just ask around!

Laguna de Apoyo
With extremely clear, warm water in the crater of a volcano, Laguna de Apoyo should not be missed! The volcano imploded on itself ~20,000 years ago and has since been filled with “rain and subterranean water” (more history and info here). It’s a fabulous day trip, but just be sure to get anything you need from the city before you head here (think: cash, sun screen, snacks) as there isn’t really a town here. Catalina is situated on the cliff overlooking the lake, and would be the biggest town in the vicinity. I highly suggest getting a day pass from one of the local hostels/hotels- my favorite is Laguna Beach Club– so you can fully enjoy kayaking, SUP, swimming, etc with full access to changing rooms on their property! When Casey and I visited, we stayed overnight at Laguna Beach Club and even scheduled massages during our stay.