Touring Granada with VaPues Tours

My daughters and I were comped two VaPues tours in Granada in exchange for social media promotion and this blog post, but all opinions expressed here are my own.

On day three in Granada, the three of us had two tours planned with VaPues Tours. I had emailed them weeks in advance, and they helped us pick from their selection of tour options. The folks at VaPues were super easy to work with and our tour guide, René, was extremely knowledgeable about Granada history, architecture and ecology.

René picked us up at our hotel that morning at 9 a.m. for our city tour. Our horse-drawn carriage was beautiful. René explained that the VaPues horses are stabled most of the day and only come out once a day for the carriage ride — unlike the poor horses that sit around Granada’s main park all day with their drivers in the hot sun trying to drum up business. VaPues Tours horse-drawn carriage

girls in carriage
Maya and Madison ready to see the colonial city of Granada
carriage ride
View from our carriage at the start of our tour

Our carriage took us all over Granada from downtown to the lake and then to all the main sites in town. René shared with us so many interesting facts about Granada — past and present — that I can’t even begin to write them all here. Instead, I’ll just share some of my photos from the tour.

old church in Granada
One of many old churches in colonial Granada
Lake Nicaragua
Selfie at Lake Nicaragua, a huge fresh and salt water lake
bell tower
Madison helped me overcome my fear of heights long enough to enjoy the view from a church bell tower at Merced church. Perhaps the most beautiful church in the city, this landmark was built in 1534.
Madison in bell tower
Madison taking in the spectacular view from this old church bell tower.
bell tower selfie
Bell tower selfie
giant hammock
René took us to a hammock-making place that is run by mostly deaf people. It’s also a coffee shop.

We also saw San Francisco church and convent, Xaltera church and the old city walls.

After our 3-hour city tour, we were hot, tired and hungry. The girls went for a swim in the hotel pool while I walked to a pastry shop I had read about. The walk was much longer than I anticipated, so by the time I got back to the hotel, my feet regretted my flip flop choice. The girls and I dug into the bag of assorted pastries. Huge disappointment. They were bland and stale. But our drinks were cold, and that was enough. rum drink by the pool

René picked us up at 3 p.m. in a van to drive to Lake Nicaragua for the boat tour through Las Isletas, 360 small islands, located in the lake. The sky turned cloudy like a storm was imminent. The air turned cool and so refreshing. We strapped on life jackets and away we went.Maya on boat tour of Lake Nicaragua

boat tour
How does René hold so much information in his head? Seriously — an awesome tour guide!
boat tour
Lake Nicaragua’s many tiny islands have residents — from people living in huge mansions to indigenous people living off the land.

 

The lake tour stopped on one of the many islands. This one holds an old Spanish fort covered with mango trees.
The bad weather stayed in the distance and provided us with an amazing view of Lake Nicaragua.
Madison poses with storm in the background
beautiful birds on Lake Nicaragua
One of the many beautiful birds living on Lake Nicaragua
swimming cow
Did you know that cows can swim?

Our two tours with VaPues Tours were a highlight of our trip for sure.

We ended our last full day in Granada with dinner at Nectar, a restaurant owned by the same people that run Bocadillos (where we ate the night before). I ordered a traditional Nica meal, and the girls had nachos and quesadillas. We split a yummy chocolate cheesecake for dessert. dinner at Nectar

The days in Nicaragua seem to last for 34 hours instead of 24. Not sure how we crammed so much into one day without it seeming crammed. It was so lovely.
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