Granada felt like the Nicaraguan equivalent of Cuba. Lots of colourful, beautiful and unique buildings and architecture. We stayed at a boutique hotel called Tribal Hotel which was super funky. It’s brand new and the design, layout, fresh colour scheme and furnishings were all spot on. I wish we could have stayed longer, two days just wasn’t enough. It’s like a tropical oasis. We were served breakfast each morning and, after 9 weeks of travelling by this point, they were by far the best hotel breakfasts we’d had.
We had a great dinner at Espressonista. It’s a cute little café/bar/shop with a homely feel. The furniture is mismatched and funky with a bohemian style.
We also ate at El Zaguan which has lots of menu choices but it’s most popular for its steak dishes. It’s not the cheapest restaurant but the food was good. It’s a bit like a sports bar (NRL was playing on all screens) so it attracts a lot of tourists, I didn’t see any locals dining.
Villas Mombacho is a nice seafood restaurant with a picturesque view, it sits on a large lake. It’s famous for whole fish dishes so it’s a perfect place for seafood lovers (but caters to non seafood lovers like me too).
After lunch at Villas Mombacho we took a boat ride around the lake which took about an hour, it’s so peaceful on the water so it was nice to just slowly potter around and see some smaller islands. People live on some of the small islands in very basic housing, other than that there’s not a huge amount to see besides lots of greenery and glassy water.
San Juan is the party town of Nicaragua. It’s famous for ‘Sunday funday’ which is an excuse for all hostel goers to start drinking at 2pm until the early hours of morning, hopping from hostel to hostel and ending up at a beach club. It was interesting to witness (fairly sober) to say the least!
The beach in San Juan isn’t anything special but you can do day trips to nicer beaches with good swell. We went to Playa Hermosa (meaning beautiful beach) which is a nice beach to go for a day trip. There are plenty of hammocks, you can hire surfboards, there’s a bar/restaurant and lockers to store your belongings for the day.
Some nice restaurants/cafes I’d recommend are:
Simon Says– nice garden café with lots of healthy food and drink options.
Salud– GREAT breakfast choices. I loved the Pitaya bowls and the smashed avo (For $3 you get ALOT of avo)
Dale Pues– Yummy American style restaurant.
Kiss me– A well designed and funky little ice-cream shop
Buddha’s Garden and Falafel were recommended to us too but we didn’t have time to try these, the menu looked delicious though.
In San Juan we did a night Turtle Tour because it was sea turtle hatching season. It was such an amazing experience. We saw close to one hundred baby turtles making their way to the water and could assist them. We had to be careful with our phones and flash lights because they’re very sensitive to light so it was hard to get any good photos. We saw turtles laying their eggs along the beach, our guide dug a hole so we could see the eggs coming out, sometimes 5 or 6 at a time. We both love turtles so it was well worth the late night expedition!
We stayed for 3 nights in Maderas which is probably too long (unless you’re an avid surfer). It’s a great place to relax and unwind but other than the beach their isn’t too much around. Our hotel was great though so it made the 3 days worthwhile. We stayed at Arte-Sano which is about a 10 minute (very scenic) walk to the beach. It includes a pool, nice common area and a view of the beach. We barely had to leave. There are a couple of hostels and basic restaurants at the beach and you can hire surfboards which is what we did in the mornings. We chose to eat all meals at our hotel, the food was amazing and it was a much nicer area to eat and relax!
Tribal Hotel |