Granada

Granada is lovely. I ended up spending 7 days there doing yoga, wandering by the lake and enjoying Hostel Oasis (my favourite of the trip so far!) Here are a few of my highlights:

Yoga at Casa Lucia

Casa Lucia has to be Granada’s loveliest hotel. I found out about the yoga class there with a quick “yoga in Granada” Google and was thrilled to find twice daily classes for $5 including mat hire. The classes happen on a beautiful outdoor yoga deck in the Lucia garden and if you take the evening class they’re candle lit. The teacher Melanie was great. I tried lots of cool new things with her (including King Pigeon, something I never thought I’d be able to do!) and the classes were pitched just right to be accessible for beginners while offering enough substance for regular practitioners. I’d love to stay in the hotel! The morning yoga session is included with your stay and they serve breakfast afterwards on the terrace.

Volcan Masaya twilight tour

This was my first attempt of the trip to see lava. I booked with Leo Tours add they were the first company I walked past and they gave me a discount if I went that evening. It ended up costing $22, pretty good to see an active volcano!

The tour started at 4pm when we met at the office to be driven to the Masaya crater. This took about an hour and on arrival we were given 20 mins to look around and take photos before our guide arrived to show us around. It was very cool, you’re at the edge of the crater a the sun is setting and every so often as the wind blows the smoke away you can look straight down into it

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The clouds of gas are pretty thick and I recommend that if you’re given a gas mask, use it! We were told we could leave ours in the car but I existenced a nasty feeling in the back of my throat while I was breathing around the crater and by then it was too late to go back.

Unfortunate you can’t see lava here, the guide told us a ledge from which you used to be able to see it collapsed a few years ago. I was happy anyway, I live volcanoes! We climbed a bit higher to watch the sunset and the guide told us more about Masaya and the surrounding volcanoes. Apparently they’re connected in a line all the way down the Americas and if they all went if together they’d wipe out the whole continent he also pointed out the now dead crater of a volcano that used to be active here. It was huge!

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After sunset we walked to some nearby caves to watch the bats that live there heating out to feed. This was incredible, there were hundreds of them flying overhead. The your guide encouraged us to use our flashes to take pictures, I really wish I hadn’t as I’m not sure this is good for the poor bats! Otherwise I loved this tour and thought the Leo did a good job of arranging it.

Laguna Apoyo

This your was organised by hostel Oasis which has a sister hostel (Paradiso) at the lagoon. I went on a whim as a girl I’d met earlier told me she had a great day there. I’m so glad I did! The day trip costs $12 and you get to use the Paradiso facilities including lockers, kayaks and very comfortable deckchairs. They were incredibly well organised with someone meeting us on arrival, showing us around and giving us tab cards for drinks. The lake is beautiful and has a nice cooling breeze which was amazing after the great of Granada. We spent the next 4 hours alternating swimming with drying of on the deckchairs and trying out the very nice and reasonably priced restaurant. I was so sad when it was time to leave, I wish I’d spent the night there!

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Brunch buffet, Chocomuseo

I intended to head her for brunch then do the chocolate making workshop. Unfortunately I ate too much brunch and the last thing I wanted to do was make chocolate! The buffet cost $7 (including tax) and included local options (rice and beans, fried bananas, cheese and tortillas) as well as fruit, yoghurt and anyway eggs. You could even get pancakes or waffles if you wanted! It was great value.

Kayaking

Another whim which I did on my last morning in Granada. One of the girls in my dorm had arranged it and after some trepidation (I’m not a good kayaker, I went on a couple of school/guide trips as a teenager and was always the one who got stuk in the reads!) I decided to go for it. I’m so glad I did, the lake and islands are so beautiful it was like I’d fallen into a dream. In those 2.5 hours I saw more wildlife close up than I have on whole days of boring rainforest boat rides. Our guide was great and the company was so much fun. The highlight was the assistant guide (who was on his first day, bless him!) capsizing his kayak, being unable to get back in and having to push it to shore so that the main guide could help him back in! You can see the islands by boat but we saw several go past and I was so pleased to be in the kayak getting up close rather than on the noisy boats. By the end I was so tired as my arms are very weedy. I was incredibly proud of just making it back to shore after 15 minutes paddling open water and also happy to discover I’m not totally awful anymore (just very slow). It was a great morning and I’m so glad the girls convinced me to sign up.

General wandering around

If you can deal with the heat you can spend a happy day just looking at the city. Here is what I mean:

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Traditional funeral carriage

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Sunset

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Down by the lake

Accomodation

I ended up staying in 4 different places as everywhere was crazy busy. I had a couple of favourites: La Mexicana which had a friendly owner, fairy lights, a private room for $14/night and home made Greek yoghurt at 20 cordobas a pot. I left after 1 night thinking I’d find something better. I did not.
Hostel Oasis was where I finally got to stay a few nights after 3 days of moving every night. For $10 a night I got a comfortable bed with a fan right next to me, all you can eat pancake and banana breakfast, a well equipped kitchen, free filtered water, tea and coffee all day (and actual milk for the tea)!, good wifi and a tv room.  There was also a strictly enforced 11pm silence time and a swimming pool! It really was the best big hostel I’ve stayed in and was incredibly well organised. I miss it!

Eating

Go to Pita Pita. I had the falafel and chicken breast pitas. They were both huge and delicious.

I also liked Cafe Sonrisas. The waiting staff are all hearing impaired and the money for your meal goes towards helping them. They were all super smiley and the food was nice and well priced.

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