Granada, Nicaragua (May 2009)

After checking out the smoking Masaya Volcano / National Park on our second day of site seeing we continued south to the city of Granada (… we were told that it is supposed to be the country’s nicest city and a perfectly preserved colonial masterpiece … so I expect there will be plenty of tourists, or at least more then there are in Managua).

The city of Granada, rich in history and culture, is situated on the northwestern shore of Lake Cocibolca is Nicaragua’s fourth largest city and historically one of Nicaragua’s most important places both economically and politically.

 Colonial building along Parque CentralThe city has a strong colonial heritage, easily evident from the architecture and layout of the large Spanish built homes, businesses, churches and other buildings over looked by a picturesque volcanic background. It is one of the main destinations for most international travelers (except for people like us who come here to go to work in the Rain Forest :) regions) that come to Nicaragua.

Like most colonial cities in Central America, Granada is built around a main square (known as Parque Central) with many churches and cathedrals and other historic looking buildings. Located close to the Parque Central you will find Granada’s cathedral, city hall, banks, cultural centers, hotels, as well as many small shops and stands Street performers along La Calzadaselling traditional food, handcrafts and horse drawn carriages.

Parque Central is like the hub of the city’s social life and always full of activity. Everyday you can come here to find people selling their crafts, food (street food here was good, although I don’t really know for sure what it was I ate!) and other items, watch entertainers, meet others hanging around and also the young entrepreneurs that are after the tourists money providing just about any service from watching your car to showing you around.

One of the busiest avenues of the city starts on the left side of the Cathedral and runs all the way to the lake. It is bordered on both sides with large colonial houses, shops, restaurants and historical buildings. As you walk down the street you kind of feel like somebody special as all the shop merchants and waitresses try to persuade you to come into their little shop / bar or restaurant offering many specials or highlighting their gifts or items. ( Although very tempting, I managed to get through with out breaking the bank … ).

At Iglesia Guadalupethe end of the street is yet another large stone built heritage church (Iglesia Guadalupe), one that has saw plenty of damage over the years. This one was used several times as a stronghold during battles because it was close the water front. Not sure why all these churches have been destroyed and rebuilt so many times nor why a small town needs so many, just like many of other Central America cities there are numerous churches and cathedrals (and all within walking distance usually) most with very interesting architecture and history.

At Iglesia La Merced they allow you to climb (for a $1 donation … well worth it) the very narrow stair case of the bell tower onto the rooftop where you can get an amazing view of the city and see all the tiled rooftops and court yards of the buildings below. I could imagine that this steep narrow climb would not be allowed back in Canada (let alone walking on the roof top unsupervised) as I am sure it would be deemed un safe (or have many signs and alterations making it loose its rustic dare-ful charm), but in a country like this where people have “No Fear”, it is just the norm.

Beside the large yellow cathedral (yes it too was destroyed once … but has been rebuilt and looks pretty sharp as a backdrop to the busy Parque Central) there is a large cross like monument (that kids seem to like to play on …), I have been told us that there was a time capsule buried underneath it containing common artifacts and personal belongings of the 19th century. .. Bell tower steps of Iglesia la MercedMaybe I will come back with my shovel later and see if any gold was buried with it.

Now as nice and quaint as a place like this can be one can only walk around, eat local cuisine and admire the architecture, people and churches for so long … therefore when a young lad came up to us offering us a boat tour of Archipielago las Isleta we took him up on it.

Granada borders on Lake Nicaragua, the counties largest fresh water body (no where as big as our Great lakes but none the less very large). He promised us that on the tour we would see where some of the richest in the country live, see some historic forts and buildings (yet more architecture …) and perhaps see some the local wild life and nature such as birds, fish, monkies etc. Very exciting to some I sure but more so a nice change from the typical colonial like sights (it was also much cooler on the lake then it was in the city – witch was nice).

Continue to the Next stop on the tour …


View from the bell tower of Iglesia la MercedGranada Cathedral

Art work in Iglesia la MercedLooking north along La Cazada

Continue to the Next stop on the tour …

Site seeing in Managua, Nicaragua (May 2009)

So unlike most of my jobs that I normally get sent on, this particular one has provided me with an abundant amount of free time due to some security / customs issues involved with our survey gear (fortunate for me, not so fortunate for our company), so I have had amble time to explore the city and it’s culture. Some of the things that I explored were …


Nicaragua Trip (May – June 2009)

After visiting every province of Canada and almost every state in the United States during the past three years, I have finaly embarked upon my first international trip (not including USA travel …), Location Map of Managua, Nicaraguato the country of Nicaragua, the largest state in Central America bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south.

This is a Helicopter based LIDAR acquisition job surveying for the construction of a hydro dam to be built in the inner central-east part of the country and involves a few stops in various places with the first stop in the city of Managua, the capital Nicaragua and also the largest urban center of Nicaragua, located on the southwestern shore of Lake Managua. The city has a population of about 1,680,100 million people and it is a very busy place to explore.

After arriving in the country and Street in Managua, Nicaragua leaving the Managua airport towards the hotel, a person can easily get the wrong impression about this city as the drive goes through a pretty poor lower class district with numerous run down buildings, lots of people on the streets etc. But as you slowly make your way into the core of the city you find that Managua has plenty to offer and although may appear somewhat behind the times quite often (compared to North American standards), it still has all the modern features that one would expect from a major city like shopping malls, hotels, casinos, restaurant chains and much more.

The city of Managua has experienced the rise and fall of many political powers throughout it’s history and has also suffered some devastating earthquakes over time both of witch are evident in the urban surroundings. Currently it is the economic, political, commercial and industrial center of Nicaragua with plenty to offer it’s people and visitors.

What has made the trip even more interesting for me is my lack of knowledge of Spanish, the Metrocentro mall in Managuamain language spoken here (I was told that there was plenty of English speaking people, if so I have yet to many of meet them yet … ). But just like many of my jobs working in Quebec and other non English based such areas, I have still managed to get by even though a lot of the time I have no idea what people are saying to me (just keeping it real…). On the other hand it is a great way to learn a new language and I have come a long way, since I first arrived here. So expect more blog postings from this interesting travel opportunity.

Read more about my Nicaragua Trip or check out some of my other travel locations