“Granada, I’m falling under your spell…” Harry Belafonte, 1955. Granada, Nicaragua became our first love affair with Spanish Colonial towns during our visit in 2005. Today, eleven years later, it remains a jewel of Central America and is even more compelling than it was over a decade ago. Situated on the banks of Lake Nicaragua, a giant fresh-water inland sea, Granada is host to a beautifully colored collection of well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture including numerous churches and hotels with gorgeous interior courtyard gardens.
The homes range from very modest to large elaborate corner buildings impeccably restored to historic standards. A comfortable central park has pedestrian streets radiating out with one running clear down to the lake.
There are a number of hotel and restaurant choices in a range of prices including several with international cuisine.
Colorful horse-driven surreys drive the streets with both tourists and locals carrying people and goods around the town. It’s not unusual to see plain, flat horse-driven carts as well hauling construction materials or vegetables here and there.
There are a number of tourists but not overwhelmingly so. By far most of the people are Nicaraguans.
There are cultural events with plays, music and even ballet and the art scene is well represented.
We met American 84 year old artist Tony Kulusic who lives in Granada and paints daily. Tony was an industrial designer who studied art at the Chicago Art Institute and designed the Whirlpool logo in the early 60s (his least favorite work.) He invited us to see a new hotel that’s almost completed which features a huge collection of his work. He advised us that in considering a place to retire and live it’s critically important to have something to do. “Having a place with a beautiful view will only take you so far. That view becomes like wallpaper after a while!” Point well taken Tony.