advertisement

The Mercado Municipal (open daily 6am-6pm) is a busy, sprawling hive of activity 1 block south of the central plaza. Here, you'll find everything from soap to sombreros, but it is dark and dingy, and slightly claustrophobic. Real shopaholics should take a morning and visit the nearby handicrafts mecca of Masaya. Galeria Istmo (Calle Atravesada, in front of Bancentro; tel. 505/2552-4678) offers the best in Nicaraguan art and design. Casa Natal, 1 1/2 blocks east of Calle El Caimito (no phone), sells handicrafts from all over Nicaragua, including woodcarvings from Solentiname and black ceramics from Jinotega. Casa de Antiguedades, 1 block north of Calle Arsenal (tel. 505/2874-2034; haroldsandino@hotmail.com), is a treasure-trove of antiques and is great for a morning browse. Fancy a smoke? Doña Elba Cigar Factory, 1 block west of Iglesia Xalteva (tel. 505/8860-6715), is a small operation producing 3,000 puros a day. Located in the family's home, you can learn to roll your own while sitting at an elaborate dining table engraved with a picture of the Last Supper. The factory also produces lovely cedar gift boxes with inset pictures of the Granada cathedral. The factory is open daily from 7am to 7pm. For English- and Spanish-language books and magazines, check out the Maverick Reading & Smoothie Lounge, 1 block west of Casa de los Leones on Calle El Arsenal (tel. 505/2552-4120).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.