Granada is the capital of the Granada Department in western Nicaragua. It is Nicaragua’s sixth most populated city, with an estimated population of 123,697 (2012). Granada has traditionally been one of Nicaragua’s most significant economic and political centers. It is steeped in colonial history, as seen by its architecture and structure.
Granada, purportedly the first European city in continental America, was established in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba. Unlike other towns that claim the same distinction, Granada was not only the site of the conquest, but was also a city recorded in the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Castile in Spain’s official records.
Granada is also known as La Gran Sultana, owing to its Moorish and Andalusian aspect, in contrast to its sister city and historical adversary León, which is more Castilian in style.
Granada – Info Card
|POPULATION :||• Municipality 117,569|
• Urban 105,171
|TIME ZONE :|
|AREA :||205 sq mi (531 km2)|
|COORDINATES :||11°56′N 85°57′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.5%|
• Female: 50.5%
Tourism in Granada
Granada is Nicaragua’s oldest colonial city and Leon’s eternal adversary. It is situated on the Lago Cocibolca’s northwestern shore. Its vibrant colonial architecture, fascinating history, and relative safety make it a popular tourist destination. It is Nicaragua’s most expat-populated city and one of the most “developed” tourist destinations, both of which will be readily obvious to the visitor, particularly in comparison to other Nicaraguan cities.
Newspapers such as the New York Times have recognized Granada’s restaurants internationally. There are several restaurants in Granada, including Café Espressonista, Ciudad Lounge, Pita Pita, Garden Café, and Café de los Sueos. In recent years, Granada’s culinary industry has evolved to include both local and foreign dishes, while also promoting farm-to-table sustainability for local farmers and producers. Granada’s economy continues to expand in large part as a result of its rapid growth as a tourist destination for its colonial architecture, natural beauty, and, more recently, as a cuisine destination.
Granada, dubbed La Gran Sultana from her muslim-influenced Spanish moniker, is one of Nicaragua’s oldest towns and one of the first European colonies in the Americas. Granada, which was a prosperous town throughout the most of the colonial era, has always been and continues to be a conservative city. Granada was assaulted by pirates multiple times throughout its early history as a (kind of) “Caribbean Port,” linked to the ocean by the lake and the Rio San Juan. However, the assault that had the most devastating effect on the city was perpetrated by an American.
However, the town rebounded and became the dominant cultural and political power in the nation for the following thirty years, until liberal general Jose Santos Zelaya assumed control. You may still see remnants of Granada’s former richness and power in its colonial mansions and cathedrals. And practically every corner of downtown still has a memorial to some past president or other who was born here.
Granada is a conservative town, and the governing Sandinistas are not as popular – to put it mildly – as they are in León, contributing to their continuous rivalry. Today, however, Granada is also well-known for garnering prizes from American publications as one of the apparently most liveable cities on the planet, and many retired Gringos have established Granada as a second home. Numerous colonial homes and even some tiny islands just outside of town on Lake Nicaragua are still available for sale, so inquire with the locals if you want to stay long term and have the appropriate funds on hand.
While the Gringo influence is greater in Granada than in most other parts of Nicaragua, the city has retained its beauty and continues to draw visitors, residents, and expatriates alike.
Geography of Granada
Granada is situated on the shores of Lake Nicaragua (a.k.a. Lake Cocibolca), the twentieth biggest lake in the world.
Granada is the capital city of the Department of Granada, which is bordered to the north by Boaco and Managua, to the east by Masaya and Carazo, and to the south by Rivas. The same department is crossed in the north by the River Tipitapa, which links the Lake of Managua to Nicaragua. Additionally, it is home to three volcanic lagoons: Manares, Genirzaro, and the renowned Apoyo. Apoyo, which is shared with the Masaya Department, is Nicaragua’s biggest volcanic lagoon. Granada is a year-round fairly warm city, with temperatures that are quite close to those of Managua. This is because the two cities have a similar terrain, being next to a lake and surrounded by steep hills. Granada has an annual rainfall of roughly 1,100-2,100mm.
The greenery that surrounds Granada reflects the city’s climate. Around the Mombacho volcano are both dry and wet woods. Additionally, the volcano is home to a diverse assortment of animals. Additionally, the lake is home to a variety of species, both marine and freshwater. It is the world’s only freshwater lake with sharks (Nicaragua shark). The lake’s fishing is fairly excellent, with commercial and recreational fishers often catching guapote and mojarras, as well as sardines. Nicaragua has prohibited the fishing of Nicaragua sharks and sawfish due to population reduction.
Other significant cities and villages in the Granada area include Malacatoya, El Paso, El Guayabo, Diria, Macatepe, El Guanacaste, Nandaime, and Diriomo, dubbed the “last city of witches” by national media. Mombacho volcano is Granada’s highest peak (1,345 m); the now-dormant volcano ejected the majority of its cone into the lake, creating the 365 Islets of Granada, from which the volcano offers an incredible perspective. On a good day, it is also possible to view the Ometepe and Zapatera Islands. This later island, the second biggest in Lake Nicaragua, is also a dormant volcano. It is a national treasure, well renowned for the pre-Columbian sculptures and idols discovered on the island during the Spanish conquest and currently on display in the Convento San Francisco Museum.
Granada is home to several beaches on Lake Nicaragua, which are particularly popular during Semana Santa (“Holy Week”).
Economy of Granada
Granada has a rich history of business, particularly in the lumber, gold, and silver industries. Granada’s economy continues to expand as it develops as a tourist destination. While Granada is still Nicaragua’s sixth biggest city, it is well-known for maintaining some of the country’s best colonial-era architecture. For many years, a real estate boom was ongoing, with many Europeans and Americans acquiring and remodeling properties in the region for retirement or vacation purposes, and numerous international realtors opening offices, but the trend halted in 2007. Due to the earlier increase in real estate prices in Granada and other regions of Southwestern Nicaragua, investor focus has shifted to Northern Nicaragua, namely Matagalpa, Leon, Corinto, and the adjacent beaches of Leon and Corinto.
Museums have been established, and new hotels and restaurants are springing up at a rapid pace.
Though Granada is now heavily reliant on tourism, the municipality still has good agricultural area. Within its borders, a significant amount of organic coffee and cacao, cattle, plantains, and bananas are produced.