Best Things to do in Granada, Nicaragua with Teens

If you’re planning a family vacation, Granada, Nicaragua, might be the perfect destination. There are plenty of fun things to do with your teens in Granada, and even younger kids will love these activities! I’ve included some exciting options that older kids will especially enjoy. 

Best things to do in Granada Nicaragua with teens

Granada is a city with a rich history, vibrant culture, and beautiful natural landscapes. There are so many hands-on and engaging activities to try that your teens are sure to love. Whether exploring the city’s historic landmarks, taking an exciting boat tour, visiting an active volcano, or ziplining through the trees, there’s something for everyone in Granada.

Is Granada, Nicaragua Safe?

Granada, Nicaragua, is a stunning city and I wanted to address safety concerns as Nicaragua in general has a bad reputation. When I travel I try to focus on the people and the places I visit and try to stay away from politics. The people in Nicaragua are so friendly and nice and Nicaragua is such a beautiful country and when it comes to tourist safety Nicaragua is pretty safe. Granada is considered one of the safest cities in Central America, with a low crime rate compared to other cities in the region. I am from Guatemala City, and I travel there every year with my kids for summer and Granada felt very safe. 

Best things to do in Granada Nicaragua

During my recent trip with my teenage daughter we had such an amazing time that we can’t wait to go back. Despite being two women traveling independently we felt safe and welcomed by the locals. In fact, we felt safer there than we do in the US. We rented a car without safety concerns. We even got lost a few times due to the Waze app, but the local people were exceptionally friendly and helpful. We never felt unsafe.

Avenida La Calzada in Granada, Nicaragua

However, it’s always wise to stay vigilant and cautious, as you would in any city. Keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded places, and avoid walking alone at night in areas you’re not familiar with. By taking these simple precautions and staying aware, you can make the most of your visit to Granada and ensure a safe, enjoyable experience.

Is Granada a Good Destination for Families?

Granada is a perfect destination for families, offering a blend of accessibility, affordability, and diverse attractions suitable for all ages and interests. I personally chose Granada for a family trip with my 18-year-old daughter, who is on the Autism spectrum and has mobility issues. We have been to Antigua Guatemala so many times and my daughter loves it so I knew she would enjoy Granada as well.

Things to do in Granada Nicaragua for families

What we liked about Granada was its small-town charm, which made it easy to navigate and explore without feeling overwhelmed. Despite my daughter’s mobility challenges, we found plenty of activities to enjoy, both within the city and in its vicinity. One of her favorite experiences was taking a tranquil boat tour around the Isletas de Granada, where she could immerse herself in nature while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

The culinary scene in Granada provided endless delights for my daughter, who loves food. With so many affordable yet delicious dining options, we could indulge in tasty meals daily without breaking the bank. The affordability of Granada allowed us to stretch our budget further, enabling us to stay in a spacious Airbnb with a private pool near Parque Central for a fraction of the cost of accommodations in other destinations. The convenience of having such comfortable lodging within walking distance of the city center added to the overall enjoyment of our trip. We had a fantastic time in Granada and would recommend it as a family-friendly destination.

Brief History of Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua, is one of the oldest American cities, dating back to 1524 when Spanish conquistador Francisco Hernández de Córdoba founded it. Granada became a crucial hub for Spanish colonial power in Central America, with many conflicts and attacks throughout its history. Despite being destroyed multiple times, the city rebuilt and preserved its stunning colonial architecture, earning it the nickname “The Jewel of Nicaragua” and referred to as “La Sultana.” Often likened to Antigua Guatemala, Granada boasts colorful colonial buildings, picturesque streets, and charming plazas that exude a similar old-world charm.

   History of Granada Nicaragua for travelers      

Today, visitors from all over the world can explore Granada’s historic streets, marvel at its well-preserved architecture, and learn about its fascinating past through its museums, cathedrals, and landmarks. The city’s rich history is evident in every corner, and it’s easy to see why it’s such a cultural and historical gem in Central America. 

How to Get to Granada

When it comes to Granada, Nicaragua, you have several transportation options to choose from. If you’re flying in from another country, the nearest airport is Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA) in Managua, just an hour’s drive from Granada. From the airport, you can take a taxi or book a shuttle service to Granada. My recommendation would be to get private transport from the airport to Granada as this is the fastest way and it’s quite affordable too. We decided to rent a car as this option offers flexibility in exploring the region. 

Buses are convenient and affordable for those already in Nicaragua, with regular services running between Managua and Granada. If you’re looking for a more comfortable and direct way to travel, private shuttle services can take you directly to Granada from other popular destinations in Nicaragua, such as San Juan del Sur or Leon.


Best Things to Do in Granada, Nicaragua, for Families with Teens

After our trip to Granada I wanted to share the best things to do in Granada for families with teens. These activities are great for families with younger children or solo travelers too.

Visiting Granada with my teenage daughter has been in my bucket list for a while. A few years ago I took a one day tour from Costa Rica to Nicaragua and we spend a couple of hours in Granada. I’ve wanted to return ever since and always thought it would be the perfect destination for my daughter. We explored the city’s highlights, from its awe-inspiring cathedral to its stunning natural wonders. Here are some of our favorite moments from the trip:

Discovering the Magnificent Catedral de Granada

Our first stop was the Catedral de Granada, a grand cathedral in the city’s heart. The interior was breathtaking, with towering columns, intricate stained glass windows, and ornate altars. Climbing to the top of the bell tower was a highlight, with panoramic views of Granada and the surrounding landscape providing the perfect photo opportunity.

View from the Catedral de Granada Nicaragua
View from the Catedral de Granada Nicaragua

Exploring the Islets of Granada

A boat tour of the Islets of Granada is a must-do! The diverse flora and fauna that call these islets home were captivating, from lush mangrove forests to vibrant bird species. We even got to hop off the boat and explore some of the islands up close, immersing ourselves in the natural beauty of this unique ecosystem. Spotting exotic wildlife was an unforgettable experience that connected us with nature.

Things to do in Granada Nicaragua for families
Exploring the Isletas de Granada.

Exploring at Mombacho Volcano

For adventure-seekers, we recommend hiking through the forests of Mombacho volcano where you can also zipline. Soaring through the cloud forest treetops offered adrenaline-pumping thrills and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. My daughter was initially apprehensive but quickly embraced the experience, laughing and cheering as we zipped from platform to platform. The knowledgeable guides ensured our safety, providing expert instruction and encouragement that put us at ease.

Hiking Mombacho volcano Nicaragua
Hiking Mombacho volcano Nicaragua


Learning About Nicaragua’s History at the Museum of San Francisco

The Museum of San Francisco offered a fascinating glimpse into Nicaragua’s rich history, with exhibits showcasing indigenous artifacts, colonial-era art, and religious relics. We spent hours exploring the museum’s halls, soaking up the fascinating stories of Nicaragua’s past. Every exhibit offered a new perspective on the country’s cultural heritage, from intricately carved wooden sculptures to colorful murals depicting scenes from Nicaraguan history.

Learn About the History of Cacao and Create Your Own Chocolate at the Choco Museum

Visiting the Choco Museum in Granada, Nicaragua, and taking part in the Bean to Bar workshop was an awesome family activity. Situated in the heart of Granada’s historic area, the museum offered an exciting journey into the world of chocolate-making. When I walked in, the sweet scent of cocoa filled the air, making me eager to learn. During the workshop, we got to be hands-on with the process, from roasting and grinding cocoa beans to making our own chocolate treats. With the guidance of friendly instructors, we not only learned about chocolate’s history but also had a blast creating our delicious goodies. It was a memorable experience that brought our family closer while enjoying the flavors of Granada. 



Climbing to the Top of the Bell Tower at Iglesia La Merced

The climb to the top of the bell tower at Iglesia La Merced was steep but well worth the effort. The breathtaking views of the city’s colorful rooftops, the sparkling waters of Lake Nicaragua, and the towering peaks of nearby volcanoes were unforgettable. It was a unique perspective on the city and its surroundings that we’ll cherish for years.



Relaxing at Laguna de Apoyo

Laguna de Apoyo was a welcome reprieve from the bustling streets of Granada. The tranquil shores of this volcanic crater lake were surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs. We spent hours swimming and soaking up the sun. For those seeking adventure, the lake offered opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding.

Laguna de Apoyo in Nicaragua
Laguna de Apoyo in Nicaragua


Exploring Avenida La Calzada

Exploring the vibrant streets of Avenida La Calzada was an unforgettable experience. This pedestrian street comes alive in the evenings, bustling with locals, tourists, musicians, and street performers. We couldn’t resist the temptation to stop for a delicious ice cream sundae at Pops, which I highly recommend. Suppose you’re looking for the perfect place to eat in La Calzada. In that case, Nectar is a great option, offering an extensive menu with a kids’ menu. Everything we tried, including some traditional Nicaraguan dishes, was delicious. You can sit at the tables outside and people watch or choose the inner courtyard for a more relaxing dinner. 

La Calzada in Granada Nicaragua
La Calzada in Granada Nicaragua

Where to Eat in Granada, Nicaragua

One of the most unexpected things about our trip to Granada were the amazing restaurants! We got to explore the diverse culinary scene and indulge in a delicious journey tasting Nicaraguan and international dishes. When it comes to where to eat in Granada there are so many options to choose from, including street food stalls, charming cafes, and upscale eateries. Because Granada is so affordable we focused on eating at nice restaurants during our trip, it was great to be able to enjoy great quality food at charming restaurants for a fraction of what you pay for eating out in the US.

If you’re looking for the best restaurants in Granada  here are some of our favorite: 

  • Nectar: Situated on La Calzada, it’s vibrant and cozy. I adore the mix of Nicaraguan and international dishes. The tostada salad and jalapeño chicken were so so good!
  • Bocadillos Tapas Kitchen & Bar: Tucked in Hotel Casa San Francisco, it’s quaint yet lively. Their small dishes were bursting with flavor, I loved the . The warm bread pudding was the perfect ending.
Where to eat in Granada Nicaragua, Bocadillos Tapas & Kitchen Bar
Bocadillos Tapas Kitchen & Bar in Granada Nicaragua
  • The Garden Cafe: It’s a peaceful oasis amidst the city bustle. Fresh ingredients make their salads and sandwiches delightful. It’s a serene and charming place to dine, no wonder it’s a favorite.
  • Pita Pita: I was surprised by this fantastic Middle Eastern restaurant in Granada! The courtyard view was lovely, and the shawarma plate was and a hit. Their watermelon mojito? Refreshing!
  • Cafe de Arte: A cozy cafe with a garden view and an artsy vibe. Their waffles and Nicaraguan breakfast options are simply amazing and so affordable. The ambiance is perfect for starting the day on a positive note.
Best restaurants in Granada, Nicaragua. Pita Pita middle eastern restaurant
Pita Pita middle eastern restaurant, Granada, Nicaragua
  • Kathy’s Waffle House: A great spot for breakfast and the AC is a huge plus! The blueberry waffles were mouthwatering, and the colonial church backdrop added charm.

Where to Stay in Granada, Nicaragua: Best Accommodations for Families

When it comes to accommodations in Granada, you will find they usually fall into one of two categories: small hotels in historic colonial houses that have been remodeled or vacation homes. There are no large hotels or resorts. 

Best Airbnbs in Granada, Nicaragua
Miskitu Casa, Airbnb in Granada, Nicaragua

Best Boutique Hotel for Families

The Hotel Secret Garden is my favorite boutique hotel in Granada. With its serene and welcoming atmosphere, spacious rooms and a lush garden setting it provides a relaxing retreat from the bustling streets of Granada. Families can enjoy the refreshing pool, and common areas with tables, comfortable chairs and board games. Breakfast is included and although the choices are limited breakfast is made to order and served on tables viewing the pool.  

Secret Garden Hotel in Granada Nicaragua, where to stay in Granada
Secret Garden Hotel in Granada, Nicaragua

The personalized service and warm hospitality of the staff made us feel right at home during our visit and we love the bright decor of the spacious rooms which have been recently renovated have air conditioning. For more information be sure to read my full review of Secret Garden Hotel in Granada, Nicaragua.

Great Vacation Home for Families in Granada

We stayed at Miskitu Casa Boutique Airbnb and loved it. With multiple air conditioned bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and inviting open areas surrounding the private pool, this Airbnb offers lots of space for families to relax and unwind after a day of exploring Granada. 

Miskitu Casa Boutique, Airbnb in Granada, Nicaragua

Its central location, just a few blocks from the Parque Central, allows easy access to the city’s attractions, shops, and restaurants, making it an ideal choice for families who want to experience the vibrant culture of Granada firsthand. 

No matter where you stay I recommend that you choose accommodations with AC and a pool. Granada can get really hot during certain months of the year and not all hotels or airbnbs have AC. We visited in March for my daughter’s spring break and the extreme heat in the afternoons made it difficult to plan activities outdoors so we planned most of our outdoor activities for the morning and relaxed in the pool during the afternoons. Be sure to check out my full review for Miskitu casa boutique Granada, Nicaragua.

Other Great Central American Destinations for Families

7 Awesome Things to do in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is often overshadowed by its more popular neighbor,Costa Rica. Because of its troubled political past, Nicaragua hasn’t been the top choice for travelers. However, this Central American country, despite its history, has become a safe and affordable destination. It boasts a vibrant culture, fascinating history, beautiful beaches, tasty cuisine, and plenty of thrilling adventures. Nicaragua is still relatively undiscovered by large crowds of tourists, offering authentic travel experiences for those seeking to immerse themselves in a new culture and enjoy untouched nature.

Active crater of the Masaya volcano in Nicaragua.
Standing on the edge of the active crater of the Masaya volcano in Nicaragua.

Best Things to do in Antigua Guatemala With Kids

Antigua Guatemala, a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in colonial history and culture, is one of the most popular destinations in Guatemala. While Antigua offers plenty of exciting experiences, it can be challenging to find kid-friendly options. That’s why I have created a list of the best family-friendly activities in Antigua suitable that are perfect for children, teens and adults alike.

Antigua Guatemala
Antigua Guatemala, view of the Catedral from the Parque Central

Best Things to do in Lake Atitlán with Kids

Lake Atitlán is one of the most popular destinations in Guatemala and a great place to visit with kids. The breathtaking views framed by volcanoes, the quaint towns, and the colorful Mayan culture make Lake Atitlan an ideal destination for families. So, if you’re looking for the best things to do in Lake Atitlán with kids, you will find here lots of options! This article includes all our favorite things to do around Lake Atitlán with kids, from Panajachel and Santa Catarina Palopó to smaller towns like San Antonio Palopó.

Father and children at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
Best things to do in lake Atitlán with kids.

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

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