Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu September 10 2015

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  • A Cruising Couple | September 10, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    5 Reasons To Love Granada, Nicaragua

    5 Reasons To Love Granada, Nicaragua

    No visit to Nicaragua is complete without a visit to Granada. The quaint colonial city is one of the oldest cities in the Americas; it’s also as lovely and romantic as could be. What’s better, Granada is surrounded by abundant nature and promises outdoor lovers plenty of thrills. So whether you want to eat world-class sushi, boat around the lush islets or climb to the top of a volcano, you’re bound to leave Granada with the memories of a lifetime.

    Ready to learn more? Here are the top five reasons why we love Granada:

    1.The Architecture


    One of Granada’s inherent charms is the city’s well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture. Pastel colored buildings line the streets like crayons stacked in a box. Many of the buildings have been restored to display their former elegance, yet there remains a feeling of traveling back in time. Don’t miss the 16th century Iglesia de la Merced, also one of the best places to get a bird’s eye view of the city and its buildings—you’ll notice plenty of red-tiled roofs, courtyard gardens and baroque details.

    2. The Small-Town Feel

    Granada Nicaragrua

    Granada might be one of the most developed tourist destinations in Nicaragua, but it still boasts a small town feel. Locals congregate in rocking chairs on the sidewalk to enjoy the cool evening nights. Children play soccer in the park, enjoying the public spaces. Take a drive with the only female horse carriage driver in the city and, after hearing countless greetings yelled back and forth across the street, you’ll quickly realize everyone really does know everyone else in Granada.

    3. The Cuisine

    Granada is easily one of the most delicious places we’ve traveled to, in large part because of the extreme diversity of food.

    We recommend splurging on delicious sushi, hand-rolled by a native Japanese now calling Granada home.

    For more local flavors, head to Central Park and order vigaron from any of the stalls. The dish features yucca, pork rinds and cabbage salad. It’s delicious and filling, and will only set you back about two dollars. Be sure to wash it down with Cacao, a mix of chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla and milk.

    4. The Surrounding Activities

    Ziplining Superman Style Nicaragrua

    One of the best parts about Granada is that it makes an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding region. Head to the Masaya Volcano to get up close to an active volcano. Shop for artisan products at the Masaya market. Go hiking or zip lining through the Mombacho Volcano National Reserve. Kayak through the lush islets on Lake Nicaragua. The list of possible adventures goes on and on!

    It’s possible to take public buses to many of the destinations, but we recommend hiring a private driver. Not only will you save a ton of time, the drivers love to help you practice your Spanish and share their insider tips to their country.

    5. The People

    Old Men In Rocking Chairs

    Nicaraguans are easily some of the kindest, most hospitable people we have ever met. It sounds cliché, but we were regularly struck by the sincerity of the Nicaraguan people. Speaking Spanish does go a long way, so be sure to pick up a language book if you aren’t proficient enough to have basic conversations.

    We found the locals in Granada to be particularly friendly and kind, often going out of their way to offer us directions, explain a particular food, or simply wave and smile as we passed by.

    If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay in Granada, we recommend the boutique Hotel Xaltera. The fully equipped condos are extremely comfortable and well decorated; the pool is the perfect place to take a dip during the hot afternoon hours; and the staff is extremely knowledgeable about what to do in the surrounding area.

    Hotel Xaltera Granada

    Living in Costa Rica, we will surely be visiting Granada again. It’s the perfect destination for romance and adventure, our two favorite things.

    Have you visited Granada? What did you like about the colonial city?

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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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