This our definitive list of Great things to do in Granada with kids! Granada is Papa Traveller’s home town and while we’ve not yet lived in Nicaragua with the kids, we do visit family often. Therefore, each of these places come as ‘tried and tested’ as insiders, and therefore these a really the best things to do in Granada with Kids!
Take a horse carriage ride
What kid (or adult for that matter) doesn’t like be jogged about in an old fashioned horse carriage through gorgeous colonial streets? Granada is amongst the prettiest colonial cities in all of Latin America and it’s an enjoyable ride! The carriages gather in the main square of Granada, and our Little Miss always picks horses that have the prettiest ribbons. For bonus educational points, the carriage ride is also a great history lesson.
You can also do a walking tour of Granada, including visiting the bell tower of La Merced, but plan to do it very early in the morning or you won’t get far on little legs.
Like the other Choco Museums in Peru and Guatemala, this is a great place to visit with kids! Why? Because we all love Chocolate! As part of our #worldschooling plans with kids, we like to mix educational and fun – and the Choco Museo does this perfectly with their Bean to bar workshops. Also, Granada’s Choco Museo is located in a gorgeous 5-patio mansion in the historic centre deliciously named, “Mansion del Chocolate”
3. Follow the Gigantona
Though certainly put on for the tourists these days, children are entranced (or petrified) by the enormous dancing Gigantona and her entourage, including loud drums. When little Miss was a toddler she was petrified… by the time she was 5 she followed the show down the popular Calzada street captivated. It helps to know some history for when you encounter the show: A huge dancing doll (people on stilts) the Gigantona represents a tall white Spanish conquistador woman, El Enano Cabezon is a small and dwarf like intelligent mestizo with a big head that can control the Spanish woman with the drums. The locals like this because it represents the local population controlling the Spanish, and represents the ongoing discomfort between Latinos and gringos.
4. Enjoy the Garden Café.
Hands down, the restaurant we return to with kids over and over is Garden Café. A great fresh menu, a garden to play in, a book exchange and kids play corner: you can’t ask for more. We don’t want to turn you off other places (we have eaten in quite a few) but for consistent good food and happy kids Garden Café wins for us.
5. Swim in the hotel pool.
Nicaragua is HOT. Seriously hot! And if there is anything that will fray nerves and leave kids in tears, it is the heat. Enter the swimming pool. Even if you are on a tight budget you MUST factor in a swimming pool nearly every day. (For us, having a hotel with a pool is a “must.” Our kids are so much happier when they have had a good swim and so are mum and dad. If you don’t have a hotel pool both Hotel Granada and the Cacao Club Pool (same location as Choco Museo) allow access for the day. (It is not particularly cheap, so plan to spend the whole day)
6. Swim in a Volcanic Lake
Kids will love a day trip to the Laguna de Apoyo! (Apoyo Lake) This is another full day escape from the heat of Granada, with beautiful views and a cool breeze. Generally set yourself up at one of the lakeshore hotels or restaurants, and get free kayak, tube or Stand-up Paddleboards included in the price. Then paddle out on the lake, swim to the pontoon or enjoy some delicious food. Note: for those with littles/ new swimmers, the lake gets deep & cold REALLY fast; and extra care should be taken when visiting with small kids.
7. Take a Boat Ride
The local isletas (little islands) were formed when Volcano Mombacho blew its top many eons ago. An outing to the isletas is a refreshing way to escape the heat of the city and see local birdlife and monkeys. Older and active children might prefer to explore via Kayak.
8. Climb up Mombacho Volcano
Ride to the top of this Volcano in an old army truck and get awesome views. There a several walk trails around the top of the volcano and with views of the crater; probably best appreciated by tweens and up. Also, everyone loves the zip line located at the base of Mombacho Volcano!
9.Walk by the Lake
Do as the locals do and go for a walk along the Malecon of Lake Cocibolca. You can check out the playground equipment in the area called ‘Turismo’ but so far we have felt it was a bit seedy/ shady and haven’t played on it. (Disappointing, as there is only two playgrounds in Granada that we have found: Turismo and Parque Sandino, which is decrepit.)
10. Eat an Eskimo.
Not literally; the local Nicaraguan ice-cream is called “Eskimo” and is creamy and delicious. Sitting in a sweltering ice cream parlour enjoying an Eskimo is a typical Nica thing to do!
11. Local Food
While there are plenty of foreigner or tourist restaurants in Granada (see Garden Café above) there are two restaurants that local kids love; as we visit Granada to see family, we always make a visit to these two, which get thumbs up from our kids and the locals
- Tele Pizza, seriously great pizza
- Tip Top; fried chicken with an indoor playground. Useful if the kids are looking for something that reminding them of home.
Depending where you fall on the ‘street food with kids’ our two Nica favourites are:
- Hot Dogs. They make good ones!
- cross Latin America, Quesillos are quite different depending on the country. In Nica Quesillo is made from a thick corn tortilla wrapped around soft cheese, pickled onions, and a sauce of sour cream or liquid cheese and vinegar.
Want to know more about Granada with Kids?
We are working on a number of posts about our experiences with kids in Granada, Nicaragua!
Family Friendly Hotels in Granada
Awesome Adrenalin Activities for the Active Family
5 places in Nicaragua that kids will love
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