Granada is a beautiful colonial city located about an hour south of the capital city of Managua. Located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Granada is a vibrant, colorful city that offers many activities both in and around the area. If you’re only here for a short time, I suggest heading down to the waterfront to take a boat tour of Las Isletas (or Islets of Granada). Set against the backdrop of the dominating Mombacho Volcano and many other smaller volcanoes blanketed in jungle, you'll find yourself succumbing to spectacular views in every direction.
The Islets of Granada, a small archipelago made up of approximately 365 islands, was created when the volcano Mombacho blew its top into the lake thousands of years ago. Nowadays, about 1200 people make up the community that live permanently on this archipelago (there’s even a school on one island!) and there are some beautiful private islets that are home to vacation properties. Taking a boat tour is a great way to spot many different water birds such as herons, egrets and kingfishers; be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Howler and Capuchin monkeys swinging from the tree tops and caiman lingering in the water. Lake Nicaragua is also home to one of the world's only freshwater sharks! Also, visit the old fort of Castillo San Pablo for a sense of the area's history, which will give you a nice break to stretch your legs.
The boat tours can run for 1-2 hrs; there are a few yacht clubs that run tours and most tour agencies in town can set you up. I set out in late afternoon and enjoyed a nice breeze on the water while the late afternoon sun lit up the islands. While I didn't see any monkeys or caiman, I did see many different types of birds and enjoyed some great views of the sun setting. On a final note, it was quite a contrast to see the difference between the luxurious summer homes and the more permanent dwellings: it was immediately obvious who the locals were.