I’m quick to admit that Nicaragua wasn’t my jam. The places that I went, weren’t as scenic or as friendly as some of the other countries throughout Central America. And damn, was I uncomfortable! Especially in Granada. I did my research on Granada before I went, but nothing prepared me for how a solo female traveller is treated in this particular area of Nicaragua.
I would never judge other countries about their culture, however the way I was grabbed, touched, yelled out to, hissed at and even had one man run his fingers through my hair, cannot be excused as culture. Being a blonde solo female traveller in Nicaragua, I was definitely a minority to say the least. I of course, did not do anything to encourage this behaviour. I found it difficult and extremely uncomfortable. All of this did put a damper on my stay here. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have. For all you solo female travellers out there passing through Granada, the best advice I could give you – IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE! It goes without saying, do not encourage these men. Even down to a small eye roll can make it worse!
When I did my research on Granada before I left, I don’t know how many times I read to wear long pants and cover the legs up, as to not encourage these men. Boobs are ok, knees and ankles not so much. I totally agree, however it is fucking hot in Granada. Yep, not just hot – fucking hot! Where I come from in Australia, it’s tropical and hot all year round. But Granada is something I have never experienced. I felt like I was trapped in some vortex in hell where the fire just doesn’t die down! Seriously, it’s that hot! So, wearing pants as recommended by many other solo female travellers, is just insane! I couldn’t do it! I wore cool long flowing skirts and one day, I just had to go out in shorts. Honestly, it didn’t matter what I was wearing, I got just as much attention wearing shorts as I did a long skirt.
Aside from getting hassled at all angles in Granada, I was able to enjoy some of the sites. The architecture in this small city is beautiful and if you can stand all the unwanted attention, walking the streets can have you uncovering colourful buildings and some surprisingly cute cafes.
Granada Cathedral & La Merced Church
The Granada cathedral is just beautiful. Located right on the edge of the Central Park, you won’t miss the bright yellow beauty. Inside is nice, although most cathedrals I visited through Central America are all equally as nice. It can feel same same if you have visited a few other cathedrals along the way. It is still worth a quick look inside.
After walking around the La Merced Church at least 3 times, I must of looked like a sad lost little tourist, as some friendly locals pointed out the tiny entrance up to the bell tower. It costs 120 Cordobas ($5) to get up to the bell tower. I thought this was steep until I got up there and discovered the breathtaking view. The 360 degree view is completely diverse, mountains one side, Lake Nicaragua another side and views travelling as far as the eye can see across the small city. The bell sits at one side of the viewing area and you’re not actually allowed to ring it, but oh my gosh is it ever tempting!
Laguna De Apoyo
This was a much, much needed escape from the streets of Granada. Laguna De Apoyo is roughly a 15 minute drive outside of the hustle and bustle of the city area. There are many companies that do day trips to Laguna De Apoyo. I paid 350 Cordobas ($15) for a round trip to the lake. This got me a lounge chair, a drink, and unlimited use of kayaks and paddle boards at Apoyo Resort and Spa. Make sure you get your butts into the water! It is so gorgeous and surprisingly really warm.
Va Pues Nicaragua Tours
The Las Isletas – Electric Boat Tour & Zopango Island is only 2 and half hours worth of gliding through the scenic and beautiful Lake Nicaragua. This tour was sweet and simple. If you’re only in Granada for a day or two, I would take the time to once again escape from the city and the see quieter side of Granada. I loved seeing the local fisherman hand fish with such skill in their tiny fishing boats. It was one of those moments, that have you thinking everything you have at home, you take can take for granted. The wild life was incredible. Especially the birds you spot. The birds you see on this tour are just beautiful! I don’t hide the fact that I am going to be one of those old ladies that totally goes bird watching! I am always a sucker for a good view and this tour provided the prettiest I saw through Nicaragua.
Walk The Streets
Whilst I felt extremely uncomfortable in Granada, and I hated the way I was harassed when I did walk around, the bright side was, I didn’t necessarily feel unsafe. And I do think that a walk around the city is a must. You will discover cute little boutique shops with surprisingly fashionable handmade clothing, markets, street food and hidden book stores.
Where I Stayed –
Right next door to the famous party hostel of Granada, The Bearded Monkey. I chose to stay here purely because I felt I needed somewhere quiet and a big private room for $12 a night was perfect for a rest from dorm rooms!
Where to Eat –
A little on the outskirts of the main city area, but so worth the walk! It’s is simple healthy homemade food at its finest. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, its when you go in that you find a nice relaxing place to eat and sip on your kombucha. They do lunch and dinner special for $5 and the servings were huge! Make sure you try the vegartian chilli. YUM!
I don’t know what these guys are putting in their food, it was amazing. The menu was basic healthy sandwiches, salads, wraps and smoothies. It was on the pricier side and a little out of budget if you are being tight. Well worth it though!
Note: Thank you to Va Pues Tours, for providing me with The Las Isletas – Electric Boat & Zopango Island Tour! All opinions of my experience are written honestly, and as always, are entirely my own!
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