Thursday, September 8, 2011

Granada (Nicaragua)

Founded in 1524 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Hernández de Córdoba (for whom Nicaragua's currency is named), Granada was one of the first cities on the mainland of the Americas. It's pretty, too. The colonial architecture helps. I also suspect there must be some kind of municipal law that no building can be painted less than three bright hues.

Boat tours of Las Isletas in Lake Nicaragua leave from Granada regularly. The 365 small islands were formed when nearby Mombacho Volcano blew its top long, long ago. You can even buy one for yourself. The lake was warm and remarkably peaceful. This must be why the rich and powerful of Nicaragua build luxury complexes on some of them with infinity pools and basketball courts. One even had a helipad! I wonder what they must think of their decidedly poorer neighbors, a few of the locals who still make their living with a well-cast fish net.

Granada is also a great base for exploring the area. At about 1300 m, Mombacho Volcano is home to a cloud forest. We didn't get to see a sloth. Quite possibly the boisterous tourists, blasting Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" from their iPhone on the trail, scared them away. See-through butterflies and bromeliads like bird-of-paradise were still around. I even caught a fleeting, shimmering blue glimpse of a gorgeous morpho butterfly. ¡Toma!

Lower down on volcano, zip-lining was offered for another view of Mombacho. After suiting up in the protective gear, we got to see - and hear - howler monkeys before heading up. I felt some trepidation doing an extreme sport without Rich, especially after the guides asked us if we wanted to do tricks. I opted out of the upside down variations, but "Bouncing Seat" and "Superman (with the guide)" were good fun. Really, "Wheelbarrow Race" would probably be a more apt name for the latter. Despite the rain starting to come down, "Bouncing Superman (solo)" made for a great ending!

No comments:

Post a Comment