Granada, one of the oldest cities in Central America, is a riot of color, steeped in history and small enough to navigate on foot. Whether you trudge the city cobblestones in search of culture and fine food, glide through the water on a day trip to Las Isletas or zip-line through the shaded forest of a coffee plantation on the slopes of the Mombacho volcano, the best place to stay is in the colonial center. Here, elegant mansions converted into stylish boutique hotels offer a window into the storied past of Granada.
If you need more cobblestones, they have them in some of the showers at this elegant hotel, a block from the central plaza and iconic mustard-yellow cathedral. Walls are painted in arty pastels, floors feature checkerboard tiles, and rooms are simple but spacious. An upper terrace has a hammock with a view over the red roof tiles. The main attraction is the large shaded pool in a palm-fringed patio, a blissful escape from the mid-day scorchers.
Named after Nicaragua’s most famous poet, Rubén Darío, this baroque hotel is in the heart of the action on La Calzada. Rooms with balconies at the front have views of the street life below, the cathedral, the volcano and the lake but can get noisy at weekends. For a quieter night, choose a room overlooking the lush gardens of the central patio. A plunge pool tucked in an inner courtyard is a lifesaver when temperatures soar.
One of the most popular hotels in Granada, and perfectly positioned on the central plaza across from the cathedral, this neocolonial mansion is tastefully decked with a mixture of dark antique furnishings and bright splashes of contemporary art. The comfortable rooms are fresh and uncluttered, and breakfasts are served in a shaded patio. The swimming pool, flanked on both sides by tall palms, is long enough for laps.
Run as a social enterprise that pumps profits into education projects to help local kids, this is a hotel “con corazón” (with a heart) and with oodles of colonial character. Rooms are simple but clean, and a pool out back is big enough for a refreshing dip. Hang out in the hammocks in the inner patio, or play a game of chess using the checkerboard tiles as a board. The friendly staff can help organize local tours and advise on volunteering opportunities.
Welcome to fashionista heaven. Beloved by magazine editors, this trendy boho bolthole was cooked up by New York restaurateurs Jean-Marc Houmard and Yvan Cussigh as a chic home from home. There are four-poster loungers arranged around the plunge pool in a palm-filled central patio, and the rooms are decorated with a funky mix of tribal art, loud modern paintings and antique curios. Away from the main drag on a quiet street, this is a place to escape and dream.
A place to practice your yoga moves, this boutique hotel in a modern Spanish colonial-style building is tucked away a few blocks from La Calzada. Rooms are decorated with local handicrafts, and five come with a kitchen. You can get a massage, have a spa treatment or splash about in the plunge pool. The health-conscious ethos extends to the breakfasts, made with organic ingredients from the area.
On a corner opposite the chunky bell tower of the Iglesia La Merced, this classic Granada mansion offers luxury at an affordable price. Original features include a swooping staircase in pink marble and an open-air pool that takes up almost the whole inner patio. Simple but elegant rooms have tiled floors, large comfy beds and a coffee maker stocked with premium local beans. Balcony rooms look over to the church and up to the forested heights of Mombacho.
Across from the Museo Convento San Francisco, this airy bed and breakfast is close to all the central attractions and tastefully decorated with bright Nicaraguan paintings. Rooms have high ceilings and cool floor tiles, and ensuites are large. The central pool makes the most of the patio space for a refreshing wake-me-up on hot afternoons. A kitchen open to guests is a bonus if you’re on a budget, and staff is helpful.
With lush tropical gardens, a patio with a kidney-shaped swimming pool, and another with a fountain, this stylish colonial house is tastefully decorated throughout. The best rooms have large beds, hand-painted floor tiles and high ceilings. Breakfast is included, with eggs cooked to order and Nica staples such as gallo pinto (rice and beans). On a quiet street within easy walking distance of both the central plaza and the lakeshore port, it makes a tranquil base for exploring the city.
Featuring bright, modern interiors, funky furniture and string lights, the Selina stands out from its traditional colonial hotel neighbors and is squarely aimed at hipsters seeking a photo-worthy vacation and digital nomads looking for long stays and comfortable co-working spaces. As in other Selina properties across Latin America, there is a mix of millennial-friendly dorm rooms and private suites, with shared kitchen facilities and a hang-out area by the pool. Located on the central plaza, it has a young, fun vibe.
You can relax by the pool or swing in a hammock as you plan your next move at this restored colonial house. A short walk from the cathedral, it has simple but comfortable rooms with high ceilings and tiled floors. Climb the stairs to an upper balcony for views of the Mombacho volcano. Cooked breakfasts are generous, with Nicaraguan staples and a selection of exotic tropical fruits.
Just a block from the busy bars and restaurants of La Calzada, this affordable, family-friendly hotel has two stories of rooms around a v-shaped pool and a leafy garden. Rooms are simple but spotless, and an upper terrace has atmospheric views over the roofs to the dome and towers of the cathedral, especially when it is illuminated at night.
If you’re looking for a five-star experience we’ve got a list of the best luxury hotels in Granada, Nicaragua – bookable through Culture Trip.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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