HIT LIST: Destination 2013. Where will 2013 take you? Associate Editor Alex Pasquariello has some suggestions. He studied new flight routes, investigated cultural goings on and hotel openings, and distilled the results into ten winning destinations. Find your favorite new beach, city and wilderness here.
WHERE NEXT? Back at work and dreaming of your next adventure? Jetsetter Editor-in-Chief Kate Maxwell shares her tips on where and how to travel in 2013.
Downtime in Granada, Nicaragua
Jetsetter correspondent, Paige Penland, shares her tips for exploring the cobblestone streets of Nicaragua’s Granada — home to the restored mansion, Hotel La Bocona.
Explore See the city in the cool of the morning, when the remarkable light brings out the best in ancient adobes and churches. Behind the thick walls of Granada’s old colonial mansions are beautiful hidden courtyards; stop for breakfast and a strong coffee at the Garden Café (Calle Libertad y Avenida Cervantes).
A Day on the Lake Take a horse-drawn taxi from the park to Granada’s breezy, volcano-gray city beach on Lake Nicaragua. There are restaurants here as well — try Villas Mombacho or Puerto Asese for guapote, or rainbow bass, served whole, the local specialty. Or just hire a motorboat or kayak to explore the 365 Isletas de Granada, a serene and jungled archipelago stretching into the sea, with water birds, elegant mansions, humble fishing abodes and a Spanish fortress dating from 1784.
Lunch in the Park Grab a seat on Parque Colón, Granada’s shady central park, where you can enjoy the city’s specialty, vigarón. A pile of mashed yuca (manioc) is topped with tangy slaw and a pork rind, served on a banana leaf alongside a fresh fruit drink.
Swim in a Crater Lake Just outside Granada, Laguna de Apoyo is a clean, blue crater lake fed by effervescent thermal springs, dramatically ensconced in steep-walled, protected forests filled with howler monkeys. A handful of hotels right on the water offer day passes, allowing you to enjoy their docks, hammocks, and food service all afternoon.
Shop Just north of Granada, Masaya Old Market is packed with fine Nicaraguan handicrafts including hammocks, leatherwork, ceramics and more. Or, Granada’s best shopping is around the Central Park and La Calzada; don’t miss Exopiel, with exquisite handbags, and Olé, offering unique, high-quality Nicaraguan arts and crafts.
Dine on La Calzada Granada’s main thoroughfare and entertainment district is La Calzada, a pedestrian area lined with restaurants, cafes, and bars that pour into the streets with bistro-style seating, patrolled by musicians strumming guitars, dancers making the rounds, artisans hawking their wares and travelers telling tall tales. Take a seat at any of dozens of venues, all serving Nicaragua’s famous Flor de Caña rum, relax and enjoy the show.
Or elsewhere… If you aren’t up for another evening on La Calzada, there are more relaxed restaurants to enjoy. Favorites include El Zaguán, specializing in grilled meets and mariachi music; romantic Mediterraneo, with Italian cuisine; and Imagine, serving healthier fair.
Sunset from La Merced Climb the bell tower of the oldest original church in Granada, Iglesia de la Merced, for the city’s finest sunset.