Click the picture of the wave if you’re interesting in renting a “Surf house” in Nica
(2007) We flew into Managua and arranged for the hotel car service to take us directly to Granada. We learned after that the Hotel Colonial’s transportation was outrageously expensive. For 2 of us the charge was $50. If you plan on making this trip contact Oro Travel they charge $28 for the same service. As disappointed as I was with the cost of the hotel service I must say this is a good place to stay. The cost for a double was $75 a night. The rooms were clean but the best part was the pools. They have 2 pools with a swim up bar. Drinks here are also expensive at about $4 for a rum and coke. We didn’t eat at the hotel but next door is Euro Café, which has great coffee and pastries for a light breakfast. The owners are extremely nice and attentive. After a hot day exploring the area the hotel pool is the perfect place to unwind. We did spend one night at the La Gran Francia for about $120 (a balcony room) including breakfast. The rooms were huge and clean but the pool was in the middle of the lobby. It wasn’t a place you’d just sit around.
Our favorite restaurant was El Zaguan. The food was excellent. For meat eaters the mixed grill is wonderful. We went there twice. The Mediterraneo was ok. It was expensive. For great brucetta and good pizza the place is across the street from Zoom’s I cant remember the name but it says pizzeria.
Granada is a great place to take day trips from. There were a lot of warnings about the roads and driving we didn’t rent a car this trip but we will if we go back. The roads aren’t great, but they are fairly empty. A four-wheel drive would be a good idea because there are many dirt roads that will take you to out of the way places. We found Oro travel and Amigo travel (right next door to the Colonial) to be helpful and accommodating. The trips are arranged just for your party but you pay per person.
One trip we took was to Volcano Masaya and Lake Apoyo. There wasn’t much to Masaya. You walk around the smoking crater and there is an easy walk around the other volcano. If you only go to visit one volcano and you like to hike I would suggest Mombacho. The lake is beautiful. The water is a clear blue unlike Lake Nicaragua. There are a few hotels on the lake for inexpensive to luxury. The hotels have restaurants but there is not much else around there. It’s a good place to relax in the sun and swim.
Our other day trip was Mombacho and the zip line. On the way up the volcano you stop at a coffee plantation. Mombacho has 2 trails to hike. 1 is the easiest and it takes about an hour. It is not a hard hike if you are ok with stairs but it is beautiful. The other hike you can only do if you hire a guide. It can be COLD at the top of Mombacho you should bring a windbreaker or sweat shirt and of course a bottle of water. After the hike we were taken down to the zip line. It was fun. (I think this trip was about $40 per person)
We hired a private taxi to take us to San Juan del Sur. The cost was $50. You can get there for a lot less. There are signs in the square for the express bus service I think it was about $15 for this trip. We stayed at Piedras y Olas (Pelican Eyes). This is considered the luxury accommodations in the city. It is an easy walk into the “city” but you must be able to climb stairs to stay at this resort. It is built in the side of a mountain. We paid about $120 a night. I was told we were lucky to get a room by just walking in. So reserve if you plan to stay there. The two pools are nice with a great view of the ocean below. The rooms are decorated nice but we had ants and very little hot water. The grounds are pretty but it is the staff that makes this place so wonderful. The service was as good as any 5 star resort. Breakfast is included!!! Eat the breakfast the menu is wonderful eggs benedict, stuffed French toast and rolls that I wish I could have brought home. The food was exceptional.
We also found a great Italian restaurant O Sole Mio. I do not recommend the pizza it is bland but the pasta and the sauces were terrific. For after dinner drinks we enjoyed the patio at Big Wave Dave’s the prices are low and the atmosphere good for hanging out. We were not impressed with Bar Timon. The service wasn’t good and the food was just ok.
We spent a day on a private boat where we went to the secluded beaches and had a great lunch on the surfer’s beach. The beach in town is muddy and the water is mucky. The beaches we went to had beautiful sand and that wonderful blue water. (I don’t have the price we were guest of others)
The only other place we explored was Ometepe. We took the ferry from San Jorge for $3. (you can pay on board) I was glad we didn’t have a car because I could not imagine trying to drive it onto this ferry. The island has a nice laid back vibe. But if you plan on hiking one of the two volcanoes be prepared. The easiest hike is 5 hours and I hear it’s not easy. Make sure you have the right shoes.
We stayed at Finca Playa Venecia. The cabins are clean and cost $40. There is neither TV nor hot water. There is not much near the hotel. The restaurant is on property and it is inexpensive. The owner rents horses. You may want to bring a travel game or something to entertain you at night. The beach there is small and the water didn’t seem too swimable.
We visited Playa Santo Domingo this was a great beach. There are a bunch of hotels on the beach here. We had a wonderful lunch at Villa Paraiso. We wanted to stay there but the rooms were booked. If you stay on Playa Santo Domingo you could probably walk to a wonderful swimming hole. It is on private property and costs a dollar to enter. We returned to San Jorge and for $30 we had a private driver take us back to Granada.