Granada, Las Isletas and Mombacho
Granada was founded in 1524 and much of the colonial architecture is still preserved, despite attacks from pirates, earthquakes and fires. Place yourself at a café in the central plaza and enjoy the atmosphere. Then walk some blocks away to the newly renovated monastery San Francisco, it was also founded 1524. The monastery is now a museum. Among other things they have some remarkable statues of stone from the Indian cultures that populated Nicaragua before the entry of the Spaniards.
Granada is situated at the northwest corner of the Nicaragua Lake, the largest lake in Central America and the 10th in the world. Just south of the city there is a wonderful archipelago. It consists of 365 small islands that are said to have its origin from when the volcano Mombacho exploded a long time ago. The upper part flew off and fell down into the lake. These islands are now covered with vegetation and a tour by boat gives you an amazingly relaxing feeling. On several islands there are small restaurants. Go ashore on an island, order fish and tell the boat to pick you up some hours later. Sit down at a table with a cool beer, look at all the birds and enjoy the tranquillity.
Take a look south, while you are sitting with your cool beer waiting for the food. There the volcano Mombacho is piling up high above the lake. The upper part is a cloudforest with a lot of orchids and other flowers, facilitating an exuberant bird life. It is possible to go with a car half the way up. Thereafter a hike that takes the life out of your legs awaits you, but it’s worth it.