Zentraveler hangs in Granada, Nicaragua!

Talk about history, old buildings, and romance— Granada has it all! After landing in Managua, Nicaragua, we headed by bus to Granada, which we established as our base, while exploring the other areas of Nicaragua. If you ever wanted a piece of history— Granada is an excellent place to explore the culture and its people. It has many ornate churches, beautifully restored colonial buildings, tree lined streets, and has a central square like all Colonial cities were laid out, with their Spanish influence throughout Central and South America.

We checked into the hotel Alhambra conveniently located on the central square. After taking a relaxing swim in the pool we went out to dinner. Soft guitar music filled the room as the waiter brought us the menu’s to look over. The name of the restaurant is: “Restaurante Mediterraneo” located on Caimito Street, just east of the central square. They serve Spanish cuisine in a romantic atmosphere that evokes the splendor of a refined Granadan home, which is probably what the place was before it became a restaurant. Yes, they had real tablecloths, fresh flowers on every table, and even served you pitchers of water. The waiter was polite, extremely efficient, and made you wonder how nice it must have been to be on vacation back in the 1800’s when things were slow, but geared around service and customer satisfaction. The eating experience and food was superb. It made you appreciate the dinner that much more as you felt you were in the process of reliving history. If I was handing out 5 stars for a restaurant they would get a five star plus.

The next morning we took a horse and buggy (locally called a diligencia) to the edge of lake Nicaragua, where you pass by many open air restaurants fronting the lake. We hired a local, colorful, homemade motor boat to travel around the scenic islands. As we moved across the vast body of water, our boat captain explained, there are 365 islands rising up through the lake— formed millions of years ago by volcanoes. School children were paddling toward Granada as we weaved between the islands. A huge avocado tree leaned over the water on a vacant island with hundreds of green, ripe avocados— ready to be picked.

While we were at dinner we overheard several American gringos talking about purchasing a small island to build a house on. One of the islands is owned by the high priest from Nicaragua and many of the romantics and adventuresome folks have already staked their claim by purchasing their dream island. Foreigners can own land in Nicaragua. If interested use one of the reputable Real Estate companies to make your purchase.

Out of nowhere and through a undecodeable water maze the boat captain took us to a eco-lodge built right on the water. You could pick your fresh fish from a netted area built into the eco-lodge and have it served to you for lunch. It can’t get any fresher than that. If you want to be a part of the green ecotourism circuit— this is the perfect eatery and sleep-over. As if wildflowers, exotic tropical birds, the water passing almost underneath your bed wasn’t enough to get your creative juices flowing—- it’s those jungle noises that keep you on your toes as you drift off to dreamland.

Visitors to Las Isletas may feel like they are actually on a South Sea island. Islands are separated by ponds and the isletas are separated by canals where firshermen, seated patiently on Indian rafts, wait for a bite.

Our boat captain arrived at 12 noon the following day and took us on a different route on the way back to Granada. Lake Nicaragua is the largest lake in Central America. It is a magnificent lake structure and is one of the few lakes in the world that has fresh water sharks. The lake is full of fish and is the breeding grounds for the large tarpon that are caught on rod and reel on the Colorado River in Costa Rica. It is hard to fathom how large Lake Nicaragua really is: Lake Nicaragua is the 2nd largest in Latin America (falling a few square meters short of Lake Titicaca shared by Bolivia and Peru) at 8,264 km2 and is home to over 400 volcanic origin islands, including a dual volcano island that is the largest lake island in the world and three distinct archipelagos. Lake Nicaragua is separated from the Pacific Ocean by only a 17 km wide strip of land, but drains into the Caribbean Sea by means of the Rio San Juan’s 190 km length.

So there you have it— if you want a beautiful Colonial city in the Americas that is reasonably priced why not plan a tip to Granada, Nicaragua. While staying in Granada, you can go to language school, do a walking tour of Granada, explore the lake and it’s nearby native indian villages, live with the artists on thir own island, and maybe even like it so much you decide to move there. Most of the war-faring is over and Nicaragua has realized that tourism and having a stable government is where it is at.

QUOTE: “Those who awaken never rest in one place.
Like swans, they rise and leave the lake.
On the air they rise and fly an invisible course.
Their food is knowledge.
They live on emptiness.
They have seen how to break free.
Who can follow them?”

– Buddha in the Dhammapada——–dailyzen.com

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: What Food Is a Prized Family Heirloom? A West Indian stew, consisting of meat, fish, vegetables, and highly seasoned spices, is considered a family heirloom. The family stew pot, known by the natives as pepperpot, is never completely emptied. Some of this good Caribbean stew is always left in the pot as the beginning of the next stew. Mothers bequeath their stew pots to their daughters, and some of these highly prized examples have been simmering a hundred years or more!—–bigsiteofamazingfacts.com

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Our Coral Reefs! The real responsibility for sustaining our coral reefs falls to all of us. You could start as a volunteer, a teacher, or just get involved via the internet. The reef needs your help.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: It’s all in zee travel! Now get moving you bunch of tree sloths.

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