We pulled the kids from school early and still didn't manage to leave town until 3 (we really need to work on our time-management-pre-packing skills). Wait! I guess that's not too bad since we decided to go (or that we had to go), book a hotel and figure out how to cross the border the morning of.
We crossed. We parked (at the Alamo rental car spot for $6/day). We got stuck in traffic. Luckily the kids were overly-tired-delirious mode and freak-outmelt-down mode. Thank you baby Jesus.
The reason for traffic... We had to wait for the pilram carts to pass. They are ox-pulled cards that start arrive two weeks before Holy Week They come from different places and our cab driver said there are more than 500 that get together at a meeting place. They travel S L O W L Y and are inspired by a passionate religious devotion. I think the long line of carts travel four days to reach their destination: the Popoyupa sanctuary for an open air mass where the goal of the pilgrims is to show thankfulness and faith to the image of Nuestro Señor del Rescate de Popoyuapa (Jesus of the Rescue), whom they acknowledge for previous miracles that happened in their live. This tradition is said to be over 100 years old.
I'm not really sure if I understood entirely what the driver was telling us, but all I know is it was pretty cool to witness such a strong devotion to anything so traffic - take that - you can't get us down!
We check in to our hotel (most rooms were booked elsewhere) and since we basically landed on a NOLA feel street with tons of music we hit up an eatery and rocked the scene until midnight. Please kids - don't make us regret that on Saturday.
We walked around the city, grabbed coffee from The Garden Cafe, took a carriage ride (2 options: a city tour or city and lake tour for only $25 for the family), hopped on a boat (straight from the carriage ride for only $25 for the whole family) and toured the isletes, ended up in a small car/cab with 8 people (price was included in the boat tour apparently) and they dropped us off at the central park next to the Cathedral of Granada. We walked to Iglesia La Merced in hopes to climb the bell tower, however our babes were too small. All was meant to be because then we were able to join a St. Paddy's day parade around the city ending up at Hotel Plaza Colon for cocktails.
- Tribal Hotel (no little ones)
- Hotel Colonial
- Hotel Plaza Colon
- Los Patios
- Hotel Gran Balcon
- Hotel La Gran Francia
- Hotel Casa Consulado
- Hotel Colonial
- Casa Uzma
- Hotel Boutique Adela
- Hotel Estrada
- Hotel Xalteva
- Casa Xanadú
- La Islita Boutique Hotel
- Mansion de Chocolate
- Backpackers Inn
- Selena Granada
- Mombacho Volcano (trails, canopy, cloud forest)
- Masaya Volcano (active + also check out the artisian market)
- Boat ride or kayak the isletas of the lake ( 1 or 1/2 hour tours)
- Carriage rides in the city
- Climb up to the bell tower of Iglesia La Merced
- Choco Mueseo
- Kathy's Waffles
- Calle de Calzada (food, shopping & entertainment / the street where Dario is located).
- Alternate Transport vs Taxi (for bigger families) in Nica: Viajes Expresos
Edgar José Solari (Propietario) 8503-0626 / 8679-7783 email@example.com. "Viajes expresos a toda Nicaragua, Viajes Turísticos, Aire acondicionado, Discreción total, Puntualidad, Seguridad y Confort, 24 horas."
- Transportation to the border in Costa Rica: Dervin Suarez 8813-9675
- Many of the hotels will arrange for pick-up as well.
Other Nicaragua Suggestions (thanks Bev)
- Finca Mystica
- Hacienda Iguana
- San Juan de la Isla
- Mukul (Auberge)
- Morgan's Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge
Thanks to my friend Lazy Lizzy for some tips & tricks and surprisingly being at the border when we arrived. Whew!