Saturday, January 9, 2010


Although arriving in beautiful, colonial Granada and being able to stroll around, eat well, see the lake, etc. was enjoyable, we´ve decided to recommend to the next delegation that they skip the city altogether and head straight to Ometepe. Here is what my friends in Mexico would call ¨gringolandia¨: English spoken everywhere, terrible American music playing, pricey international restaurants, lots of hippy types in the streets... Though it´s been a good time to bond and plan ahead, we´ve gotten very little out of our day here, and absolutely no Spanish practice. Also, things are expensive here! I´m glad we´re going out to the island today, though getting there will be a long and sweaty experience. First we have to bus to Rivas, then taxi to the port San Jorge to catch a ferry to the island, then take a bus to the city nearest our hostel, then hike a few kilometers to arrive.

We´ve been using our time together also to reflect on what we´ve learned to far, including sharing our ¨lightbulb moments¨: what really made a lightbulb go on over our heads. These ranged from religion as a powerful motivator for activism to a country being in debt as analagous to a sharecropper who is always in debt and never can own his own land. A couple overarching questions came out of our talk, questions that we´ll have in the back of our minds for the rest of the trip: How do you get people to care? How does change happen?

We´ll post again soon from the beautiful volcanic island!


  1. English spoken everywhere, terrible American music playing, pricey international restaurants, lots of hippy types in the streets... Though this may feel true of the half mile Calle Calzada and 100 metres in either direction it is certainly not true of the other Granada off of the preserved centre. West of Iglesia La Merced, South of Calle Nueva, north of Calle Corrales you'll find nothing international or english. Inside the preserved colonial centre it is certainly more international, like Times Square in NY or La Place de Concorde in Paris but, to have only seen those areas one would not say they have "seen" NY or Paris. Leave your guidebook, bring your spanish, there is much more to Granada, it has its own cuisine, music and culture but, "you" have to leave the centre. I hope you give Granada another chance for you to see it.

  2. We do not claim at all to have "seen" Granada! If you have suggestions of more meaningful activities there, especially ones that fit with the themes of our trip, please please let us know!

  3. Alice, what is the theme of your trip? Maybe there are some activities I could recommend. If using and practicing spanish is the goal, the nearby communities of Diria, Diriomo and Catarina are a quick bus ride from your stay in Granada. If a deeper cultural understanding is what you're looking for, then nearby Niquinohomo, birthplace of Sandino might be a place to start or the community of Masaya. Even within Granada, off the Calzada is a world apart. The cemetery, the fortress, parque Xalteva, parque Sandino... no tourists, no english.