Granada (1 hour)

At the foot of the slumbering, forest-shrouded Mombacho volcano, the colonial city of Granada graces the shores of immense Lake Nicaragua. Founded by the Spanish conquistadors in 1524, Granada is the oldest settlement on the mainland of the Americas. The city’s lovely colonial architecture comes in every imaginable shade of pastel and is strikingly well preserved, brimming with historical lore of pirate attacks and filibuster adventurers.

As the epicenter of Nicaragua’s burgeoning traveler circuit, the city offers an ample assortment of attractions. From the turrets at the old fortress of La Polvora and the spires of the colonial churches of La Merced and Xalteva, catch a glimpse over the clay tile rooftops down to the lake for a virtual trip back in time. A leisurely ride in a horse-drawn carriage is an excellent way to explore the city and see its museums, handicraft shops, and art galleries. Some of the country’s finest cuisine can be savored at restaurants in the historic center. Rambling down to the waterfront behind the ochre hued cathedral, the pedestrian promenade of La Calzada is a fine backdrop for music, refreshments, and people-watching. Breezy, tree-shaded plazas serve as gathering spots for locals and travelers alike where one can experience vibrant Granadian street culture.

Las Isletas