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Ten Cultural Tourism Activities in Granada

A trip to Nicaragua would be incomplete without spending at least a couple of nights in Granada, one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas. Characterized by colonial Spanish architecture, this bustling city is full of culture and charm.

Looking for something to do in Granada, Nicaragua? Here are our picks for the top 10 cultural activities to enjoy in Granada, Nicaragua:


 

1. Eat Vigorón in Central Park

Adjacent to la Iglesia San Francisco, Central Park is easily one of the most recognizable places in Nicaragua. Kiosks line the corners of the park and serve up vigorón, a delicious local dish. Consisting of boiled yucca, pork rinds, cabbage slaw, vinegar, and chile, vigorón is full of local flavors. Grab a bite and maybe a Toña, sit back, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Nicaragua vigaron

Enjoy vigarón and a Coke in Granada, Nicaragua


 

2. Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride around Town

Horse-drawn carriages crowd the streets next to Central Park. Enjoy a sense of old-world whimsy as you meander down colorful streets and past all the main churches. Be sure to take in the local architecture and pace of life in Granada as you make your way around town.


 

3. Visit Iglesia San Francisco

Iglesia San Francisco is the oldest church in Central America. Climb up to the bell tower and treat yourself to stunning views of the city or explore the church museum, which houses many treasures including ancient statues from nearby Zapatera Island.

Iglesia San Francisco

Stunning view of Iglesia San Francisco


 

4. Stop byMi Museo

This collection of ceramics and statues cannot be missed. The museum is a fantastic introduction to ancient Nicaraguan culture and features discoveries from the Pre-Columbian era.


 

5. Roll your own cigar with Mombacho Cigars

This up-and-coming cigar maker can be found close to the central park. They offer tours where you can see the cigars being made as well as the chance to roll your own or try some of their varieties in the lounge. 

Nicaragua cigar

Making cigars by hand


 

6. Stroll through the Cemetery

It may sound a little creepy at first, but Granada’s cemetery is breathtaking and includes hundreds of decorative tombs and mausoleums.

Granda cemetar

Historic cemetery in Granada, Nicaragua


 

7. Visit Casa de los Tres Mundos

Casa de los Tres Mundos is a cultural gem of the Granada. The beautiful mansion always has something to do and often hosts poetry readings, art exhibitions, and movie screenings. Be sure to stop by to learn about upcoming events!


 

8. Tour Las Isletas

The ‘Isletas de Granada’ are 350+ small islands just off the coast of Granada in the massive Lake Nicaragua. The islands were formed by an ancient eruption of nearby Volcán Mombacho. You can take a boat ride, kayak, or paddleboard through the isletas to catch a glimpse of tropical birds and a unique way of life.

Nicaragua isletas

One of the 350 small islands in Lake Nicaragua, a short boat ride from Granda


 

9. Window shop on “Calle Comercio.”

This hustle and bustle street provides a true taste of Granada. Watch out for taxis, bicycles, and buses trying to make their way through. Vendors hawking street food, produce, bootleg movies, cell phones, and just about everything in between can be found here. Duck into the main city market if this street gets to be too overwhelming for you.

Get away from the tourists and shop with the locals on Granada's main commercial strip

Get away from the tourists and shop with the locals on Granada’s main commercial strip


 

10. Experience the nightlife of La Calzada.

Granada is a hoppin’ city, especially Thursday through Saturday. Nightlife centers around La Calzada, the main tourist street that runs east of Central Park, and spreads out throughout downtown as the night goes on. Whether you want to dance or just relax, there’s a place for you. Have fun but be careful as petty theft is common throughout the area.

Vibrant Nightlife in Calzada

Vibrant nightlife in Calzada


 

Interested in exploring the culture of Nicaragua?

Discover Nicaragua’s cultural hotspots with Pacaya Lodge and Spa. Check out our 3-, 5-, and 7-day full service Cultural Explorer packages here, or contact us to learn more about a Nicaragua culture tour.

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Introducing the artisans of Nicaragua’s Pueblos Blancos

Meet Francisco Flores, a wood sculptor from Masaya. Flores rarely starts a piece with an exact idea in mind. Instead, he lets the shades and shape of the wood guide his creativity. His go-with-the-flow strategy works well for him, and his creativity has already earned him two first place finishes in the National Artisanry Competition (2008 and 2009). In addition to crafting exquisite wooden sculptures and fixtures, Flores is currently preparing to tackle a second career in law. A brilliant sculpture and future lawyer, Flores is just one of many multi-talented local artists whose one-of-a-kind work will be featured in Pacaya Lodge & Spa.
pacaya-lodge-wood

These pieces of precious wood from Artesanias Kandy by Francisco Flores will soon become overhead lighting at Pacaya Lodge & Spa

To date, Pacaya Lodge & Spa has worked closely with a network of 16 local artisans (10 of whom live in La Meseta) to create all of the furniture, fixtures, and art on display in the lodge. Tables, chairs, wall art, hammocks, and just about everything in between are sourced from nearby artists. The artists’ outstanding craftwork is hard to miss and is definitely one of the highlights for guests. Incorporating local artwork into the lodge is one of the ways Pacaya hopes to provide a sense of culture and place for visitors. Another major goal of the initiative is to offer local artists the opportunity to showcase their work and make global connections. This mutually beneficial relationship between visitors and locals is something that Pacaya Lodge & Spa has already begun to foster and hopes to continue to grow over time. In addition to this goal, every piece of art displayed in the resort is meant to share a story about the area and the artist who designed it. Many of the artists who are featured in the hotel come from humble backgrounds and all continue to run their businesses out of their homes. These artisans are proud to show off their work and teach others about their craft. While some struggle to find raw materials and new equipment to keep their businesses running, the artists continue to find new and innovative ways to refine their work.
Nicaraguan artisan

Here’s Pedro Guererro, working on a home-built foot-powered pottery wheel. Who needs new technology?

Hearing their philosophies and learning how they approach their craft has been especially enlightening. World-renowned local San Juan de Oriente artist, José Ortiz Bracamonte, is responsible for this blog’s title quote: “Colors are like money, to be invested wisely or wastefully.” He was referring to the small dabs of gray in the painting below, and how they add context and a depth to the work, but his words speak to a much greater theme. Color is something to invest in! Culture, color, and artwork are all extremely important for supporting local development and fostering genuine connections. The integration of color and culture in a visitor’s experience lays the ground for more meaningful interactions and cross-cultural discussions.
Paintings by Jose Bracamonte

Wall art from José Ortiz Bracamonte

All of the artists are excited to share their incredible artwork and grow their businesses in the coming years. Their ultimate hope is to pass on their trade to the next generation of Nicaraguans. Pacaya Lodge & Spa couldn’t be more proud to be partnered with these outstanding artists. Check back soon to see in-depth profiles of all of the individual artists featured in the lodge. These profiles will be available both online and in the in-room magazine for guests. Also, stay tuned for the launch our signature the artisan tour, which will give guests the opportunity to meet the more wonderful artists in Masaya and Pueblos Blancos.

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A Luxury Resort with a Mission: The Story of Pacaya Lodge & Spa

casita

One of the 9 casitas at the resort.

The story of Pacaya Lodge & Spa begins with David Allman, a prominent real estate professional from Atlanta, Georgia. Ten years ago, David discovered Opportunity International, a micro-financing NGO that empowers local communities and businesses in over to alleviate poverty and promote long-lasting development. David was excited by Opportunity International’s commitment to sustainable development, and his colleagues encouraged him to explore potential projects in Nicaragua.

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