Granada, in the mountains of Spain

Granada is a magical place.  The castles, cobblestone streets, and snow-covered mountains enchant.  Not to mention the best thing ever, free tapas in all the bars!  Every time you order a glass of wine or beer, a new plate of food shows up.  We ate a lot of tapas – potato salad, “bacalao,” “jamon,” many varieties of charcuterie on bread, little fish… it was endless.  There are restaurants on every corner, and all are full late into the night.

The Spanish love going out; staying up late is part of the culture.  What happens is every day people wake up, and go to work at a normal time in the morning, then in the afternoon go home and take a “siesta.”  After some sleep, everyone goes out for tapas after 9pm and stays out until midnight (or later).  You finish the night with churros and hot chocolate, then wake up and do it all again.

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The food is good, the wine is good, the people are friendly.  Granada is a great place.

The main attraction in Granada is Alhambra, a super impressive fortress overlooking the city.  Originally built by the Moors, the complex was a palace for many sultans and kings of various empires.  All the walls are intricately carved in Islamic-style geometric patters which took centuries to complete.  It took many hours for us to explore the several different buildings, castles, sanctuaries, and colorful gardens.

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Another awesome place in Granada is the area Sacremonte.  Situated in the hills at the edge of the city, the neighborhood is a collection of houses built inside of caves.

Sacremonte

Occupied by a lot of gypsies and hippies, the houses are also home to many famous flamenco clubs. Flamenco in the streets

Flamenco in the streets

It’s also amazing how quickly you can leave Granada and be in the wilderness.  We walked from our hostel in the center to the caves in only 30 minutes, seeing nothing behind them but forest and the mountains in the distance.  Hiking, skiing, and many other outdoors adventures are in close proximity!  What’s not to love about it?

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                                                         Anti-bullfighting street art
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Hotel Casa Barcelona in Granada, Nicaragua

Hotel Casa Barcelona - Granada, Nicaragua

Ah, Hotel Casa Barcelona! What a gem!  I really did not know what I would find in Granada, Nicaragua. Would it be nice? Dirty? Safe? Dangerous? Tranquil? Busy? What I ended up finding (a little to my surprise) was an exceptionally amazing place perfect for resting, relaxing and taking in the true beauty of Nicaragua. Immediately when I arrived I was greeted by two amazing women who offered me a drink (which I gladly accepted). “How was your trip?” “Did you find it here okay?”, they asked. We talked for a while as I told them about my recent travels and as they told me the story about Hotel Casa Barcelona. “It is meant to feel like home,” one of the women said. As I settled in to my cozy room surrounded by amazing gardens, I indeed began to feel at home.

My time at Hotel Casa Barcelona was short and, therefore, I don’t have many experiences to tell. To be quite honest, I spent my night there sleeping, watching TV (at the time, I had not watched TV in over a month), and soaking in the beauty of the garden. While I did not get the chance to try it, their dinner menu (located in each room) is fairly expansive, and the food is both fairly priced and very delicious looking. I did get a chance to try some different, fresh squeezed juices and they were positively delicious!

The next morning I had to catch a very early bus but even in one short night, I truly felt at home. It was a much-needed break from the life of backpacking and I would highly recommend Hotel Casa Barcelona in Granada, Nicaragua to any person looking for a piece of home while traveling abroad.

Services:

Free tourist information.

Beautiful gardens.

Dinner/food available for purchase.

Lockers provided in dorms. Secure outside gate.

Recommended for:

Those wishing to relax/revitalize.

Couples.

Older travelers (they have great beds!)

CONTACT INFO:

Website: http://www.hotelcasabarcelona.com/

Phone: (505) 2552 7438 – Cellular: (505) 8880 4075

Email: info@hotelcasabarcelona.com

Location:  Hotel Casa Barcelona is located in a small residential area of Granada. No matter where you are coming from, you’ll want to go to the center of town and find the Mercado. Because the hotel is in a residential area, it can be a bit hard even though it’s only about five minutes from the Mercado. If you have problems finding it, just ask someone where (most locals know where a lot of hotels/hostels are and will be able to help you with ease). Staying in residential neighborhoods can sometimes be scary or confusing, but the neighborhood of Hotel Casa Barcelona is very nice and secure and the people are all very friendly.

When taking a taxi around or out of Granada, it is cheapest to obtain a taxi yourself. For example, taking the taxi in connection with the hotel to the bus station costs about $5 whereas a taxi caught and taken by yourself costs about $.50.

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My room.  Beautiful and very homey!

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Outside of the rooms.

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Lock…safe and secure!

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Double room.  Love the towel swans!

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Another double room!

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Dorms.  Definitely not your typical dorm!

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Granada Zipline Tours – Volcan Mombacho, Nicaragua

Granada zipline tours take place on Volcan Mombacho, Nicaragua and can be reserved through almost any tour agency in Granada.  The tour costs $35 per person, including transportation from Granada, 17 platforms, and 11 ziplines!  One awesome part of our tour was that we only had five people in our group, so there wasn’t a lot of waiting on the platforms.  We just kept zip zip zipping!

Granada Zipline Tour - Volcan Mombacho, Nicaragua
Superchico Steve!

After only going on two of them, I’ve decided that canopy tours are one of my favorite things EVER.  Apparently the concept of the “canopy tour” was founded in Costa Rica, thus they are very popular throughout all of Central America.  The first canopy tour Zach and I ever went on was in the Hocking Hills of Ohio.  Pretty fun, but not super scenic, as it was Ohio.  We knew we had to go on another one in Central America, and since Nicaragua had the best prices and Steve would be with us, we decided to do it there!

Granada Zipline Tour - Volcan Mombacho, Nicaragua
Our crew up in the trees!

The ziplines were various lengths but I would classify them all as medium to long for a canopy tour.  There were also a couple tipsy-fun rope bridges between platforms.  I just LOVE flying through the air on ziplines.  I’ve done a lot of single ziplines at camps and stuff, as well as the Hocking Hills Canopy Tour.  Jumping off the platforms and zipping doesn’t even scare me any more.  I actually get more scared on the rope bridges.  But I still get that spectacular “I’m flying!!!!!!” adrenaline rush.

Granada Zipline Tour - Volcan Mombacho, Nicaragua
Braking before I slam into a tree

The BEST thing about this Granada zipline canopy tour was that we got to do tricks!  Not just ordinary ziplining, but tricks, I tell you!  We got to zip like “Superchico/Superchica” (see Steve, top), zip upside-down like monkeys, and Zach and I got to zip together!  But my most favorite of all words-cannot-describe-how-fun-it-was trick was bouncing!  On a few different ziplines the guides would send us off and then the guide at the bottom would hang on the cables and jerk them up and down, making us BOUNCE LIKE CRAZY as we flew down.  I actually bounced so hard that I could feel the mechanism coming off the cable and the thrill of that roller coaster stomach drop feeling.  Seriously, it was SO FUN I was grinning from ear to ear as I flew/bounced down the last zipline.  Out of this world.

Granada Zipline Tour - Volcan Mombacho, Nicaragua
Upside-down monkey zip
Granada Zipline Tour - Volcan Mombacho, Nicaragua
Twisted-up buddy zip

The course on Volcan Mombacho was also beautiful!  Sometimes you can see monkeys up in the trees; we didn’t see any but we heard them growling.  Also, the course runs over an organic coffee plantation, and at the end of the tour you can sample and buy some coffee.  Way to incorporate tourism and sustainable agriculture!  Basically, canopy tours are such an amazing adventure and I would very highly recommend this Granada zipline tour to anyone.

Enjoy this post about Granada Zipline Tours – Volcan Mombacho, Nicaragua?  Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Granada, Nicaragua – America’s Oldest City

Granada, Nicaragua is America’s oldest city. With rich colonial heritage, it was founded in 1524 as the first European city in the Americas.

Granada, Nicaragua - America's Oldest City
Catedral

 

We spent a few days in Granada, wandering the streets and enjoying the the history.  At the top of the Torre de la Merced, there is a bell tower that you can climb up for $1 and take in some good views overlooking the city.

Granada, Nicaragua - America's Oldest City

Granada, Nicaragua - America's Oldest City

We had a lot of fun just hanging out in the park, watching the people and trying all the random street food.

Granada, Nicaragua - America's Oldest City

As with most places in Nicaragua, there are no street names.  Well, technically they are named and in Granada some even have signs but, when you ask directions from the locals, their answers are strange and hard to interpret.  The way people gave directions in Managua was as follows: there are several landmarks in the city and the directions start there and then they tell you how many blocks and in which direction.  North and south are norte and sur but east and west are arriba and abajo.  This has to do with the direction of the sunrise and sunset.  In Granada east is al lago, “toward the lake.”  A bit confusing if you don’t carry a compass around in your pocket!

Enjoy this post about Granada, Nicaragua – America’s Oldest City?  Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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