Chronicle: Granada city and punta El Rayo tour
Louise Lakier | Mar 26, 2013
A view of the colonial city and the worker and nature hidden-side of Granada experienced by a Southafrican photographer.
I arrived in Granada just two weeks prior to joining Detour Viajes y Cultura to experience Granada's highlights on the Colonial City Tour. The itinerary of the tour had been extended to include a few stops in the city by bike before heading off to the Asese Peninsula for an optional swim at El Rayo, the final destination on the shores of the Isletas.
I passed by many of the locations countless times before on my way here and there throughout Granada. This time I would stop and take them in with an account of their significance and history from my Detour Guides. It was helpful to go through the Mercado with a group and someone to point me in the right direction. I am often overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle, the onslaught of sounds and array of things to buy. Laurent showed us the different foods and locally made goods unique to Granada and Nicaragua.
Our group had divided into two, spanish speaking and english speaking, once reunited we headed away from the market and popped into a small shop to see some shoe cobblers shining and repairing shoes. Next we visited La Merced, a church originally built in 1534, burned down twice by pirates and filibusteros and rebuilt in the Baroque and Neoclassical style. From the belltower we had an incredible view of the city, the churches, the claytile rooftops, the mercado, the volcano and lake Nicaragua all within our 360 degree view.
We strolled through the south end of Parque Central, past the Alcadia and the Catedral and headed back to Detour to change our mode of transportation. I appreciated that this tour was self-propelled and aimed to leave no impact. Detour Viajes y Cultura is recognized by the rainforest alliance for sustainable tourism. Cruising through the city now on mountain bikes, we rode past a gigantic fica tree, stopped to visit with the presidential car at the old train station and marveled at the antique fire truck parked at the Bomberos museum. An eye-opening tour through a shoe factory, had me counting the many steps it takes to create the detail in these hand cut and sewn shoes well known for their quality in the region. Without the access provided by Detour, I would never have known this factory was there. Atlast, it was time for lunch.
We lunched at Tio Antonio's, a cafe and hammock workshop, a place that will put a smile on your face and in your heart. Our Cafe Sonrio guides have overcome difficulties of speech, hearing or other impairments to earn an honest living here. Independent visitors and tours are always welcome. With full stomachs we were off on our mountain bike ride along the lake and the Asese Peninsula to experience the natural beauty of Nicaragua.
See the full photo coverage of the tour by Louise Lakier on this photo gallery.
Detour offers many different types of tours and combinations, visit their website for more information.
Louise Lakier is a Southafrican photographer and travel writer courently currently living and traveling in Nicaragua. Visit her website