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-   -   Any Suggestions for Nicaragua? (https://www.fodors.com/community/mexico-and-central-america/any-suggestions-for-nicaragua-404637/)

sparklegem Feb 28th, 2004 08:13 AM

Any Suggestions for Nicaragua?
 
I am planning a trip to Granada in April and really need all the help I can get! I would like to spend some time in Granada and also spend some time on a wonderful beach. Does anyone have tips or recommendations for Granada or great beaches?
Thank You,
Gem

Jeff_Costa_Rica Feb 28th, 2004 10:01 AM

The four "upscale" hotels in Granada are the Alhambra, the Colonial, the Gran Francia and La Casona de los Estrada. One place I really like, whose rates are a lot less (about $30), is the Hosepdaje Italiano.

The place has a growing collection of great restaurants. Doña Conchi and Meditarraneo are old standbys, and my two favorites. The restaurant at the Gran Francia is wonderful too. The Hosepdaje Central is a lodging that caters primarily to the backpacking crowd, but they serve pretty good food and are open to the public.

Everyone goes to nearby Masaya to shop in the markets, but I'd suggest a visit to the small town of San Juan de Oriente to actually see the artisans at work and buy directly from them.

San Juan del Sur is the nearest beach town, near Rivas, just north of the Costa Rican border. It's about an hour from Granada.

sparklegem Feb 28th, 2004 05:03 PM

Hi Jeff,
Thank you so much for your reply! Could you (or anyone else) please tell more about Granada? I am thinking it is similar to Merida, in Mexico, but wondered what it is really like. I will be traveling with my daughter and wondered about mosquitoes and Dengue. Do you need to be extra careful about the food? Is it uncomfortably hot? Is crime a problem? Is it dirty? I feel funny asking these questions but I would like to know before we travel so far. Thank You!
Gem

sandy_b Feb 28th, 2004 06:34 PM

I went to Nicaragua last July and had a wonderful time. We went to Granada, Ometepe, and San Juan del Sur.

I agree with Jeff about the Hotel Italiano, we stayed there twice and loved it. It's a budget hotel but very clean, has bath w/shower, and friendly, helpful management.

I have typed up my journal and would be happy to send it to you if you'd like . . . just email me at [email protected].

Buen viaje,
Sandy (in Denton)

Jeff_Costa_Rica Feb 29th, 2004 08:21 AM

Granada is one of those "don't miss" places in Central America, and is full of colonial-era architecture. Most of the city's old houses are constructed around a central courtyard, and many have been converted into small hotels, restaurants and shops. (And many are houses too. Old Granada houses are the hot real-estate item these days.) Even the Hospedaje Italiano, which was newly constructed, I think about five years ago, was built in that same old Granada style. There's this real push for conserving and restoring what's old rather than tearing it down, as is sadly the case here in Costa Rica. It also helps that Granada was barely touched during the revolution and the Sandinista years, and so didn't suffer the damage that cities in the north did.

Yes, it's warm, and April is one of the warmest months in Central America. I think somewhere else on this board, you had indicated you've been to Costa Rica. Southern Nicaragua is much the same temperature as lowland Costa Rica.

If you're looking for a break from the heat, a great excursion is to go to the top of the Mombacho Volcano just outside the city. It's an extinct volcano whose top, at about 3,000 feet, is covered by cloud forest, and has a visitor center and trails for walking. The change in altitude makes it quite cool. Your hotel can tell you how to arrange an excursion up there.

I've always felt very safe in Nicaragua, and especially in Granada. People are out and about at night. A common nighttime activity among residents is to haul chairs out onto the sidewalk and enjoy the cool evening temperatures, and everyone will wish you a "Buenas noches" when you walk by. You still need to take the same precautions that you would when you travel anywhere, of course.

No, I wouldn't worry too much about cleanliness. Like I said, there are some great restaurants there that maintain high standards of food service and preparation.

sparklegem Mar 1st, 2004 04:12 PM

Jeff, thank you for all your tips. Do you think we are too late to get in on the real estae in Granada? Are things already bought up along the beach?
Thank You,
Gem


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