Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Mon July 04 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | July 4, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    48 Hours in Granada

    48 Hours in Granada

    Though small in size, the quaint colonial town of Granada, Nicaragua boasts colonial charm, a long history and abundant natural attractions. One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Granada warrants a visit on any trip to Nicaragua. If you’ve only got 48 hours, here are the highlights you won’t want to miss:

    Day One

    Get your adrenaline pumping first thing with a morning zip line at the lush Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve. While we've been on a few zip lines (we currently live in the “birthplace” of the canopy tour, Costa Rica), Mombacho is the only place where we actually saw monkeys jumping from branch to branch as we glided through the treetops! Depending on the weather, it’s possible to get epic views of the Mombacho Volcano as well as the Cocibolca Valley. Whether you’re traveling with children or simply a kid at heart, this is sure to please.

    A Cruising Couple Ziplining in the Mombacho Volcano Reserve Granada Nicaragua

    Next, head to the active Masaya Volcano, where you can witness the sulfur spewing from the crater below. You can get a group tour to drive you to the crater's edge, but we recommend taking a taxi so you can study the museum and walk around the peak at your leisure. Alternatively, try a night tour to the volcano where on occasion visitors can see glowing lava from the volcano’s crater.

    READ MORE: Outside Of Granada: Off The Beaten Path

    Masaya Volcano Granada Nicaragua

    Once back in the center of town, it's time to get a sense of Granada’s historic colonial zone. But first, grab an order of vigaron from any of the stalls in the main square of Plaza Colon. The delicious traditional dish features yucca, pork rinds and cabbage salad. It pairs perfectly with the classic beverage of Cacao, a mix of chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla and milk.

    Central Park Granada Nicaragua

    It’s easy to walk Granada in its entirety, but for a more romantic experience, try a horse carriage ride with the city's only female driver. Highlights include the three most prominent churches: Convent of San Francisco, Xalteva Church and Iglesia de la Merced; the latter is where you can get the best bird's-eye view of the city. Our carriage driver explained the history of each stop in full detail — in between shouting many greetings to each and every person we passed by.

    Horse Carriage Tour Granada Nicaragua

    Finish your big day with a reward at the ChocoMuseum Shop. Here you'll find a large selection of Nicaraguan organic chocolate. They also provide Bean-To-Bar workshops and full-day chocolate tours where you can visit a cacao plantation.

    Day Two

    Rise and shine, it's time to head to the bustling Masaya market. Here you'll find everything from toys and trinkets to hand carved wooden bowls to exotic fruits. You never know what souvenirs you might pick up along the way.

    Market Granada Nicaragua

    After you’ve meandered around the market, take a boat tour through the green islets on Lake Nicaragua. The Islets were created thousands of years ago when the Mombacho Volcano had a massive eruption and threw huge rocks all around Granada. As a result of this explosion, 365 islets were formed just off the coast in Lake Nicaragua. Today, over 1,000 residents live on the islands. Most of them are local fishermen, although there are some hotels and luxury houses interspersed. If you'd like to explore at your pace, you can rent a kayak instead.

    Isletas Granada Nicaragua

    Wind down the afternoon with a tour of the Mombacho Cigar Factory. Even if you're not a cigar aficionado, Nicaraguan cigars are legendary, even said to rival the legendary rolls of Cuba.

    READ MORE: 5 Reasons To Love Granada, Nicaragua

    The tour takes you through the fascinating process of picking out the tobacco to baking it to rolling up the final product. Of course at the end of the tour you have the chance to appreciate all the hard work that goes into making a Nicaraguan cigar by sampling it for yourself. Pair it with a glass of aged Nicaraguan Flor de Cana rum and some great conversation.

    Lighting a Cigar in Granada Nicaragua

    If you’re looking for a hotel in Granada that stays faithful to the unique colonial style of the city, we recommend the boutique Hotel Xaltera. Combining timeless colonial design with modern conveniences, the fully equipped condos are as comfortable as they are elegant.

    Hotel Xalteva Granada Nicaragua

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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