Sometimes you meet a place, and for some reason, you don’t know why, but it just feels right. You like the look and feel of it. You sense in your body that it’s a good place for you to be. This happens to me when I travel sometimes (and so does the opposite). You never know how you’ll like a place until you arrive. People may rave about a place, but sometimes you arrive and it’s not at all for you. It’s always a toss up. After seeing Antigua, Guatemala and León, Nicaragua, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about seeing Granada. I knew there were some cool things to do there, but I wasn’t sure how much I would like it after realizing that the smallness of Antigua and León bored me a bit. They were cute, but they were not places I could have stayed long term. But in the case of Granada, I fell in love with this beautiful colonial city, and I am sad I spent only two nights there (less time than I spent in either Antigua or León). I don’t know what it was about Granada, but I could have stayed there for a little while. But, who knows, maybe I will go back one day to spend some more time getting to know the city. It was beautiful, colorful, bustling, vibrant. The people were kind and generous. It was one of those places that felt right for me to be. Unfortunately, having a time limit means I can only limit a certain amount of time to places, and I can’t always stay for as long as I would like. I got a flight home from Lima in October…gotta make it down to Peru at some point. And there is so much to see in between.
One cool thing I did in Granada was take a little carriage and boat tour. I was walking around the city by myself and a driver offered the tour to me so I said “Why not?” and went for it. We took a horse and carriage through the city down to the water, and then I got on a boat and received a tour of the tiny islands speckling the side of Lake Nicaragua closest to Granada. I mean really tiny islands. Most of them are bought by wealthy Nicaraguans or foreigners and they’ve built their own vacation homes on these islands (which came to exist because of the nearby volcanoes).
On one of the islands lived a small family of monkeys. This one below was the mom and she was pregnant! They were very cute, but I was skeptical of their placement on this tiny lake island so I asked the boat driver if they were native to the island or if they were brought there. He confirmed my suspicions and stated that they were taken from the mountains, probably just for the use of this boat tour. And that made me sad. 😦
And below is a view from the lake of one of the local volcanoes, its monstrosity hidden underneath the clouds.
While in Granada, I became friends with two Swiss girls who were staying in my hostel. We had all heard about Treehouse Nicaragua, a literal treehouse hostel in the woods that also threw great parties on the weekends. On Friday night, the three of us walked to Parque Central, waited for the free shuttle, then hopped up in the back of the truck bed with the others heading to the Treehouse. It was dark, the moon was full and bright, while I stood in the back of the truck holding on to the rail (there wasn’t room to sit). While the truck drove the 20 or so minutes to the Treehouse, I felt like I was flying. The ride, simple as it was, felt exhilarating. Because I was in Nicaragua. Because I was on my way to a treehouse party in the woods. Because the moon was out. Because I was with good company. Because I would never get the chance to stand up in the back of an open truck bed on a highway in the United States, and I felt like a bad ass. Oh, when you travel, magical things happen.
Treehouse Nicaragua was indeed a good time. Imagine a giant treehouse in the jungle…with a bar…and a DJ…with some hammocks…and beer pong…with shaky canopy bridges through the trees… If you can picture that, you can understand why it was a fun place to be. Since I was “going out” I didn’t bring anything with me except some cash, so unfortunately I don’t have my own pictures of the place. But you can use your imaginations. 🙂
The next morning, slightly hungover, I said goodbye to the lovely Swiss girls, then caught a chicken bus to San Juan Del Sur! See ya later Granada.