Off to Managua

Managua Travel Blog

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Hotel Dario in Granada
Saturday November 1st
So we headed off to O’Hare Airport in plenty of time with Cathy and Cindy’s dad Milt at the helm and checked in without any complications.  Since we used Frequent Flyer points for the flights, our route was somewhat circuitous involving two puddle-jumper flights, first from Chicago to Memphis and then Memphis to Miami followed by the flight to Managua.  The Embraer planes are small and none to comfy but compared to the sixteen hour Delhi to Chicago flight last year, no big deal.

We landed in Memphis and decided to get into the Central American swing of things by having Bloody Mary’s and Beers at the Memphis airport.  After a brief layover, we took off for Miami where we managed to grab a quick lunch and a beer before taking the flight to Managua.
Hotel Dario Courtyard in Granada
  Unfortunately, once again on the flight to Managua, the movie was Swing Vote (there seems to be a pattern here – hopefully on our return once the election fervor has subsided there will be something more entertaining than a lame-ass Kevin Costner film…) so I spend the whole time messing around with photos on my laptop.

Immigration in Managua was a breeze and as soon as we exited the airport, a nice old guy with a sign with Cindy’s name on it found us and whisked us off to Granada.  Whisked might be a bit of a euphemism as he was quite the cautious driver.  The road from Managua to Granada is pretty good and, even though it was early evening, we could see lush vegetation and a nice moon over the lake.  Much of the drive was scented with the smoky smell of sugar cane and whatever else burning – it’s amazing how simple smells like that can be so intoxicating in one place and not in another.
Cathy and Robb at Hotel Dario
  I can’t really think of a time in the States that the smell of a pile of smoldering vegetation, plastic, etc. made me happy but it instantly happens here.  It’s also kind of funny how, when we are travelling in the third world, we tend to analyze things less than at home and just go with the flow (like getting in a beat up old car with a stranger who doesn’t speak English and heading out into the countryside on dark, deserted roads…) It’s all so fun!

Anyway, the drive from the airport at Managua to Granada is only about 45 minutes, the last part of which we actually got to see a bit of pretty, colonial Granada.  After winding through the streets we ended up on a pretty, brick paved street Calle la Calzada that had hotels, bars and restaurants on either side of the street with stalled traffic everywhere (mostly because locals in cars were stopping to talk with their friends imbibing at the local bars).
Nectar Cafe in Granada
 

We meandered down the street and pulled up to the Hotel Dario which is a beautiful, up-scale hotel with high-ceilinged rooms with A.C. and paddle fans, a really nice wooden balcony overlooking a garden/fountain area and small balconies over the street with great views of everything including the Granada Cathedral.  It is one of the pricier places in Granada at about $90/night but since this is a short vacation relative to our jaunts over that last few years, it doesn’t really matter for a few nights.  Good call Yolanda! (but just to be clear, get me on sabbatical again and we are back to our $25-40/night budget!)

It ends up that pretty much everywhere in Nicaragua, you can pay in Cordobas (the national currency) or dollars which was good since we stupidly forgot to change any money at the airport.
Tona Beers!
  After settling into our cushy accommodations, we headed out for a walk on the street and ended up plopping down into some chairs right on Calle la Calzada at a bar/restaurant called Nectar for some refreshing cocktail beverages and snacks (which ended up being dinner…)  Cindy tried a Nica Libre which is really just a Cuba Libre but made with Nicaraguan Rum instead of Cuban rum, Cathy and Robb opted for a pitcher of Sangria and I felt obligated to try the “national drink” of Nicaragua called the Macua which is a Guava and Rum drink that was a little to girly for me.  Robb and I then sampled the local brews, Victoria and Tona ultimately opting for the Tona as our beer of choice.  The food at that place was just OK, really just appetizers, but we were too lazy to venture much further, instead deciding to sit street-side and watch the hordes of break-dancing Nicaraguan kids performing (and asking for one dollar of course…)

We did wander up to Parque Central, the main square in Granada where we cautiously walked around the somewhat dark and deserted park.  Not much was going on there, nor did it look all that great a place to be at night so we headed back towards the water and casually walked back up to Hotel Dario and crashed in order to be ready to check out Granada in the morning.

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Hotel Dario in Granada
Hotel Dario in Granada
Hotel Dario Courtyard in Granada
Hotel Dario Courtyard in Granada
Cathy and Robb at Hotel Dario
Cathy and Robb at Hotel Dario
Nectar Cafe in Granada
Nectar Cafe in Granada
Tona Beers!
Tona Beers!
Managua Hotels & Accommodations review
Luxury in Managua
As usual, we used Hilton HHonors Points to stay for free at the Managua Princess Hilton so the "value" aspect of this review may not be accurate (alth… read entire review
Managua
photo by: swhayden