I arrived in Granada and was not in good mood because I wasn't able to have the shower I had longed for all day (see my Granada hotel tip) and I can tell you that I was in even worse mood later on. I went to the bank and had all that security check. Had to open my camera bag etc. The queue was long and there was no A/C in the bank. The sweat was running down my forehead and back. Locals used papers as fans and must have noticed that this tourist was really suffering from the heat so they waved the papers in front of me. To me it seemed that nothing happened. People with piles of 10 cm thick or thicker went to the cashier who counted them over and over again. After an hour or so it was my turn and there I stood in front of the cashier, who politely in sorriful voice told me that they don't exchange travel cheques in that bank! He told me where I should go to have them exchanged. So I left that bank and walked to another, which had A/C. What a wonderful feeling it was. So again I stood last in the line queueing my turn. It took me half an hour to get to the cashier but did I get my money. Oh no! It would have been too simple if I had!!! The cashier told me that I needed to go to another desk first to ahve the paper work done and then come back to her. Fine! I went there and wondered why the guard couldn't tell me it when I arrived because I told him that I wanted to have my travel cheques exchanged. The woman at that desk was on the phone and didn't want to end it because of me, though finally did with what to me seemed to be very difficult. She did the required paper work and showed no friendliness at all. I got the papers and went back to the queue. A minute later or so the guard came to me and showed that I didn't need to queue anymore but could go straight to the cashier. So I got my money and it took only 1 hour and 45 minutes! Once I had my money my bad mood disappeared. After all I had to go through this kind of experience twice during my holiday, but the locals face it every day.
The area near lake Cocicolba is rather deserted and dark at night, and there has been some violent attacks there in the past.
It's pretty deserted and a little creepy during the day as well, in my opinion.
I was also told not to walk alone at night after 9pm, even in the center of town, although it didn't really feel dangerous to me. I guess the general rule is to stay around where there is light and people, like everywhere else.
Por Favor, cierra la tapa del Modoro despues de usarlo asi la energia positiva no se escapa!
For those who don't read spanish, translation:
Please, close the lid after using so that the positive energy doesn't escape!
El Tercer Ojo:
The Third Eye Cafe, Granada, Nicaragua
At time of my visit, in September 2007, water and electricity outages routinely occurred in Granada, with water and electricity generally discontinued from late morning to late evening. In my understanding, electricity outages were temporarily, due to maintenance of the City/country power equipment, while water outages were the standard. Granada is hot and humid all throughout the year, and that ends up resulting in a big hassle that a choice of a good hotel can only in part mitigate.
At time of my stay, though many hotel had electricity backup through portable equipment, many of them had capacity to power only common areas while guestrooms were left with no electricity. Other hotels had instead enough capacity to power in guestrooms lighting and fan but not airconditioning. I did not check top-end hotels and cannot say whether they have full-capacity backup. Other guesthouses had no backup at all.
As far as water is concerned, some hotels/guesthouses had backup, some had not, but provided upon request containers of filtered waters, just like the ones usually found in business offices for drinking water. Finally, other hotels/guesthouses provided no backup water whatsoever.
I recommend in choosing your accommodation to investigate your prospecting places' capacity in term of backup electricity and water. Insure they have at least a fan and backup capacity enough to power it. A room with windows to insure air circulation would also be adviceable. And backup water of course. In my first accommodation in Granada I was lodged in a room with no fan, no windows and in a place with limited backup electricity and no backup water (only water containers). It was 2 pm in the afternoon, it was hot like hell and the best thing I could do was leaving my room and going resting on a bench in the Central Square.
The enticing excitement of the live music Salsa clubs at the waterfront apparently can induce cause for petty robbery of tourists. Dress down and don't flash the iPhone. We were advised that even in daylight, we should exercise caution at the waterfront. Drunk, unemployed and poor--can be cause of concern anywhere. So, I only took this quick pic.
As well as in many other places in Central America, you will find in Granada, and in villages nearby, plenty of stray dogs wandering the streets. None of the ones I came across was aggressive or bothered me indeed, but many of them looked quite unhealthy. Be careful.
The "Mercado Municipal", the local open-air market, is located few blocks South West of the Central Square. Wandering the city center you will realize you are close to the market as you notice the streets getting more and more crowded and the tone of the neighbor changing. The market is attended mainly by not-wealthy local people doing their grocery and other routine shopping. It is indeed unlikely the average tourist will find anything worth to shop and eventually "El Mercado Municipal" will just provide a chance for local people and local life watching.
Some tourists will consider the market a dangerous area; it is indeed dirt, stinky and you certainly are going to see things that you may not like or you may just not be used to: people living in not wealthy conditions going through their daily life. I will not recommend to avoid the place though. I visited it in the morning hours, when bustling and packed with people, and, male traveler, I did not feel unsafe. It just depends on you: if you use common sense, the worst I would expect it will happen to you is, if you think you live in better conditions than they do, to standby for few minutes and reflect on how lucky you are.
The local market is dirty, dangerous, stinky and not worth it!!!! Well unless you want to become a vegetarian as you will see the most disgusting meat you have every seen in your life. We were literally trying not to vomit.
As is the overwhelming majority of this beautiful country, Granada is a safe place. Any given night you will see couples and women walking at night. But just like most places in the world one needs to keep their eyes open. Granada does a great job policing this city to keep it one of Nicaragua's favorite destinations for foreigners.
Recently visited Bucanero restaurant and unfortunately our bus was robbed and eight passports stolen along with many other items. From the local police, the state department and other information we discovered that the owner of the restaurant is part of a crime ring which has robbed several cars in the Bucanero parking lot. Beautiful view but recomend everyone stay very far away from this place. It is a real pity.
The most dangerous thing we encountered in Granada was the straight-edge shave Arnold got in on of the old'style barber shops on the west side of the plaza. Apparently the knife wasn't very sharp...so the barber took off the facial hair along with a few layers of skin! Arnold broke out in hundreds of little pimples all over his face! Fortunately, they only lasted a little over a week....OUCH!!!
Be wary of accepting any "help" such as to find a certain product or even advice about products. If you are obviously a tourist they expect to be paid for their assistance. We had to stand firm to reject such demands. However, if you have the cash and want to help the locals, by all means hire them for their advice or other help - just don't hire them to carry your packages or they may walk off.
In another part of the city, we stopped at a local restaurant for lunch, not aimed at tourists. The food was great, the owners very hospitable, even letting us use their family toilet. We found many of the locals very gracious. I would return. The heat can be oppressive so keep a water bottle handy.
The local market is well worth visiting. The food is cheeper and better quality than the Supermarket.
As well as providing a genuine experience of local life. I found all but one of the vendors gave us the correct price on the food and were business like but not unfriendly. No one was rude to us even when negociating for space in the narrow walkways.
You will be supporting the local economy where as food from the supermarket is often imported.
Of course be carefull, don't take too much money and keep it close. There is always the chance of being pic-pocketed in any crowded place.
It is dirty so avoid water in the walkways and wash your feet when you get in.
Of course always wash the veg off.
Go in the morning when it is quieter and cooler.
I felt it was compleatly safe. If your not sure about how much things should cost the check the Supermarket 1st.
If you don't want to rub shoulders with the locals. Stay in your hotel. This market is not different to any other in Central or South America if not safer.
I would pop along to have a look - it's not far from the main square.