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Colourful and colonial, Nicaragua's Granada is a city that will take centre stage in your travel snaps. But with markets to browse and a café culture that spills out onto the streets, it also has a convivial bustle that a picture just can't capture. Set on the banks of Lake Cocibolca (also known as Lake Nicaragua), it has plenty of places that appeal to adventurous travellers, including active volcanoes to climb and jungles to trek through.
Choose from hostels in Granada housed in converted colonial residences, or with a pools in the courtyard. Some Granada (Nicaragua) hostels organise yoga sessions or serve free coffee all day long (to keep you awake after sipping on Toña, the local beer, till late the night before). You can pitch up in a treehouse, a hostel decorated with striking murals, or a building that sits right on Laguna de Apoyo beach, just outside town. There are female-only dorms and rooms with an en-suite, and most have shared kitchens and communal spaces.
Travellers who want to stay central should make their choice of hostel around Calle la Calzada – also known as The Walking Street. This boulevard is renowned for its candy-toned buildings and international vibe. You'll find quieter spots a few streets out with more of a local flavour – without being too far from the sights. Prefer to be surrounded by nature during your time in Granada? Keep an eye out for hostels near Lake Cocibolca or beside the dormant Mombacho volcano.
When it comes to things to do here, Granada's centre is more than worth a wander. It has three grand churches – Iglesia de Guadalupe, Iglesia la Merced and the Catedral de Granada on the iconic Parque Central. No visit is complete without exploring the surrounding landscape. Granada sits between two volcanoes, with Mombacho ideal for hiking to coffee plantations found in verdant plains, and you can make a kayaking trip to the islets on Lake Cocibolca.
If you're flying in, you'll arrive at Augusto C Sandino International Airport in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. From there, you can take a bus (these leave every half hour) or you can take a taxi. The journey takes about an hour. As for getting around the city or countryside, taxis are affordable – but make sure to agree a price beforehand. You can also ask your hostel to organise a ride for you.