…a good option filled with history and culture is Masaya, located a few miles away.
Masaya’s first attraction are its handicrafts and cultural expressions, that is why it is known as “The cradle of the Nicaraguan Folklore”. The best craftsmen of Nicaragua are said to be in Masaya, you can find every type of souvenir in its markets. One of the most popular places to buy souvenirs is the old Handicrafts Market in the center of town.
Masaya is so folkloric, that almost every day there is some cultural expression going on on its streets: dances, music, street performances and religious processions. The central park is the best landmark from which you can start exploring this city and its indigenous features. People in the Monimbó village have kept the indigenous way of life to a high degree,living in a community governed by the indigenous patriarchs.
This city also provides a good opportunity to taste Nicaraguan gastronomy, you can do this in the Handicrafts Market, the Municipal Market or the Pedro Joaquín Chamorro plaza, near Monimbó, where there usually are women selling Nicaraguan delicacies. Besides the typical food, you can also find a dozen restaurants that offer different types of cuisine and a strip of bars also along the Malecón, an ideal spot to end an afternoon of shopping.
When you exit the city, on your way to Managua, you can find the Masaya Volcano National Park and the Masaya Lagoon, two places where the views are splendid. The volcano is comprised of two extinct craters and one active that is always blowing smoke, all three craters are surrounded by an extense dry forest. Unfortunately, the lagoon is not good for swimming, but along its shores some petroglyphs can still be found.
Masaya has a lot of commercial activity, there are many shops in the city center, and some sort of commercial activity going on on every house, from baking to working with leather, furniture, etc. To get to Masaya, besides a private taxi, you can take an Expreso bus from Granada that will drop you off by the road, and then take a taxi to the city center. Both fares are around US $1 each.
If you have been to Masaya we would love to hear what your favorite part of the visit was!