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cordon Apr 27th, 2005 01:31 PM

Need Nicaragua Info
My husband, 2 daughters (20 & 23) are spending 4 nights at Morgan's Rock in Dec. We will be arriving in Nic 4 nights prior to our reservation and want to know if we should stay in Granada (Casona de los Estrada, La Gran Francia, or Colonial - which might be more appealing two the 2 kids?) or perhaps in the Laguna de Apoyo area (anyone know anything about Norome Villas & Resort or other in that area?) and do various daytrips from either location.

Additionally, any suggestions for specific daytrips or tours at Morgan's Rock or the other locations so that we don't duplicate and get to see as much of Nic as possible? We enjoy soft adventure and cultural things as well.

Many thanks.

laurie_ann Apr 28th, 2005 04:37 AM

We stayed at La Casona the night we arrived from US and then went to Morgan's Rock the next afternoon. I would highly recommend it for comfort and service. Another hotel you might look at is the Alhambra. It is right on the central square, the lobby was very elegant and it has a small swimming pool which might be good for kids. Others like La Casona are more like inns or B&B's while Alhambra seemed like a full service hotel. Granada itself is worth a day for the city, cathedral, market, lakefront, etc. We wandered around, saw part of a women's baseball game, watched families enjoy the beach, enjoyed a cold drink at a cafe on the central square, perused the market, etc. I would plan the day trips that you do, which could include the islands in the lake (hundreds of them), volcano, crafts town of Masaya, maybe coffee plantation, be arranged from Granada. MR has wonderful activities, all of them on their own property, from kayak, hike, horseback ride, massage, farm tour, fishing, and of course the pool and the beach. But, as it is about a 30 minute drive on the unpaved road in and out of the resort, it is less convenient for daytripping in and out, and you won't miss it with all there is to do right there. You might like to be in touch with the travel agent we used. (I don't usually book through an agent but "stumbled" on this one when I was trying to book the night in La Casona.) She is based in Costa Rica but does business also in Nicaragua. She is fluent in English. She booked our Granada hotel and our airport car service to get there. We corresponded by e-mail and also by phone. Patricia Alvarado,
[email protected] or
[email protected], Expediciones Tropicales & Amigo Tours, Tel: (506) 257-4171, (505) 552-4080, Fax: (506) 233-5284 // (505) 552-7677, You could also just wait and arrange day trips when you are there. There were several "eco tour" agencies with offices on the main street that runs from the central square to the lake which offer day trips. There was also a little agency on that street that gives hourly Spanish lessons which could be fun as an introduction to the culture. Also check out this article from Outside magazine which has other good ideas. Have fun planning your trip!

laurie_ann Apr 28th, 2005 04:45 AM

I read your post again and realized the "kids" were really adults, but the pool is still pretty, it's small, in the open air courtyard inside the hotel, but with plants and a waterfall.

cordon Apr 28th, 2005 07:17 PM

Thanks, Laurie_Ann, for the great reply. My biggest concern was the logistics of seeing as much as we could and you answered that beautifully. I'm ready to book the Granada hotel now!! I'm very interested in Casona but read so many great things about Gran Franica on this board that I still can't make up my mind. It sounded from the description that Casona is a little off the beaten track and very small. I read so many great things about Gran Francia on this board and believe it's larger and more centrally located. Sometimes my kids (yes, very grown up at 20 & 23!) like to wander so I'd like to be very central. So...I'm still unsure of which one to book. Can anyone out there compare the two hotels from personal experience??

cordon Apr 28th, 2005 07:21 PM

Laurie_Ann - Another question. Which activities at Morgan's Rock did you do that you thought were especially fun - or unique? Were there any that did not meet your expectations? Did you find that massages had to be booked in advance? Any other info you think is worth while sharing about the resort?

Also - thanks for the travel agent info.

laurie_ann Apr 29th, 2005 05:41 AM

In the day we had in Granada we saw all the hotels. La Casona is just around the corner from the central square. Gran Francia is too, but in the opposite direction. From the outside they appeared very similar, in old colonial homes, thick walls on the streetside, open courtyards inside. Granada is pretty small so it wouldn't make a difference really. Here's what I liked about La Casona: great bed (we had room 1 which has a king size bed, not that we really care as we have queen at home but it was a great new firm mattress), windows on 2 sides for breeze (it has air con if you want it, but MR doesn't and we thought it was better to get used to it and a treat from the freezing cold at home) and view of tile roof tops of the building, breakfast tables under the arcade facing the open courtyard, rocking chairs in a kind of library/living room, easy comfortable service, good value for the price (I thing $85 including breakfast and tax).

MR activities. Don't know about booking massage as I am not a massage person, but the cottage where they do it is pretty. We did an activity almost every day, but not every day, and liked them all -- kayaking in salt water estuary, horseback ride, fishing, night hike -- they post what they plan a day in advance and you sign up, places can be limited but the resort is just not that big, we were there Easter week and while it was full, including extra kids sharing bungalows with parents, they simply added a few extra sessions of activities to accomodate everyone. Nothing is that formal but everyone is so enthsiasic and friendly I'm sure you will be happy with the service. Our favorite activity I think was the fishing, not Miami style deep sea fishing, but Nica style fishing, small wooden boat, 3 fisherman and guide and 4 guests, your "fishing pole" is a piece of driftwood with a length of fishing line and hook attached, they cooked a little fish and traditional Nica coffee ("Toro" brand for strength) for breakfast, went up and down the coast and stopped in a place where we could snorkle a bit. We caught tuna which we then had for dinner. Great fun! If you are birders by any chance you will like the estuary kayaking, lots of interested species. On the hikes you can learn about insects, plants, animals and the general ecology, including what indigenous people use them all for (did you know you can break open a termites nest and rub the pieces on your skin for mosquito repellant?) On the horseback rides you can see more of the enormous farm they have and their reforestation efforts. It's a unique place.

cordon Apr 29th, 2005 02:21 PM

Thanks, Laurie_Ann. I wish I was going to Nic today. My family likes a little bit of everything so this sounds great. Sometimes it's hard to tell from resort descriptions what the activities will really be like. These sound terrific.The fishing excursion really sounds unique. I appreciate you taking the time for all my questions.

I've been in touch with La Casona and they couldn't be nicer. They seem to be a full service (tho teeny) boutique hotel - cute website with all the tours listed, etc. I'm sure it is a great choice.

jdezio Jan 10th, 2007 05:30 AM

Here's a good resource. Plenty of stuff to do in Granada.

jdezio Mar 3rd, 2007 12:15 PM

Just wanted to add another good nicaragua resource. I know the owner of the Magazine too, but a good place to get tourist info and read some unique articles...

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