We have said it before, Granada has so much to offer within a short distance from the historical centre.
Imagine a day trip that ticked all the boxes, or at least catered to the whims and interests of everyone in your group! There is a day trip from Granada to Masaya that does just that.
- You want to get up close with a live, smoking volcano without having to do a 1500 meter vertical climb?- Tick!
- Fit in some local shopping?- Tick!
- Have lunch overlooking one of the most beautiful lakes in the country?- Tick!
- Get a first-hand taste of local culture and crafts dating back to pre-Columbian times?- Tick!!
All of this in one day, with the afternoon still free to explore Granada.
First Stop – Masaya Volcano
A short drive out of town and we arrive at the Masaya National Park. Masaya Volcano is not as steep as most volcanoes in Nicaragua, but by no means less dramatic. Described by the Spanish as the gates of hell, Masaya is the most accessible active volcano in the country.
An easy drive to the top, park the car (not too close!) and you are looking straight into the gates of hell. Masaya has a complex system of active craters, the two main ones are accessible from the road provided by the national park and on most days will be spewing volcanic gases from their depths.
If this is something you have never experienced before, the sulphuric gas literally takes your breath away, in turn limiting the time you should spend up there. None the less, this is a live volcano experience available to anyone with transport without having to spend hours clawing your way to the top.
Standing on the rim and staring into the crater of an active volcano is a once in a lifetime and very humbling experience. There is also a night tour of Masaya that gives you the opportunity to walk through the lava tubes to see different species of bats and the unusual parrot that lives amongst the gases in the inner rim of the volcano.
Next Stop – Masaya Local Artisan Markets
Shop to your heart’s content at the Masaya market. Ceramics, woodcrafts, jewellery, cigars, leather, & the popular Masaya hammocks. There are loads of great local artisan products to be found here. Don’t be scared to barter a and like the many who make the special trip just to shop, you may walk away with a good deal.
Hand woven hammocks are a Nicaraguan specialty, as are the woven beach chairs. This is definitely the place to get them.
Had Enough Shopping? Time For Lunch And A Spectacular View.
Once you have shopped your entire baggage allowance, time to grab something to eat. Head out to the serene town of Catarina, known for its nurseries and flowers. Its town center sits high above the crater lake of Laguna de Apoyo. Locals come to spend Sunday afternoon picnicking or having lunch at one of the many restaurants sitting high above the spectacular lake.
Last Stop For The day – San Juan de Oriente For A Ceramics Class.
We head out to the pre Columbian town of San Juan de Oriente renown for its ceramics. Here there is a school dedicated to keeping the traditional art alive. Starting with clay sourced from a local quarry, they will lead you through the processes of making these beautiful ceramics that are unique to this region.
Baked in these wood fired kilns that reach incredibly high temperatures, similar to those produced by volcanoes makes these ceramics incredibly durable.
Every process in making these ceramics uses natural products and is done completely by hand. It is a wonderful initiative to see schools dedicated to keeping the traditional skills and art alive. This is the vision and passion we have seen throughout this country.
Tierra Tours in Granada run day trips from Granada to Masaya daily at 8.30am. Cost is approx $35 USD pp depending on numbers. Duration approx 6 hrs.
Tours include transportation, entrance fees and bilingual guide.
Other Things to Do In Granada Nicaragua
Take a Tour of the Old Town
Take a cruise around the Isleta’s on Lake Nicaragua
Visit Mombacho Volcano for a hike and some zip lining.
While we received a media rate for this tour courtesy of Tierra Tours, as always, all opinions expressed in this review are our own and have not been influenced in any way.