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Everything revolves around the central plaza (known as Parque Central or Parque Colón), and the sunlit cathedral that overlooks it will be your first and lasting impression of the city. The best hotels are located around this lively tree-lined plaza. Calle La Calzada runs along the northern side of the cathedral in an easterly direction toward the lake and the dock. This street is pedestrianized and is where you'll find many of the city's most touristy restaurants and cafes, along with some hotels. Its vibe has become a little tacky in recent years, but it's always lively. Calle Atravesada is a narrow, busy, commercial street, running north and south, 1 block west of the plaza. Volcán Mombacho rises to the south, and the easterly lake has a scruffy waterfront and departure point for Las Isletas, known as Complejo Turístico Cocibolca.

Visitor Information

Intur (Calle El Arsenal; tel. 505/2552-6858) is 1 block from the cathedral and a half-block behind the Casa de Leones. It is open Monday to Friday from 8am to noon and 2 to 5pm. Here, you will find a good map detailing all the city's historic buildings. The website www.granada.com.ni gives an excellent pictorial display of the city, but little else.

Tour Operators -- Vapues Tours, in the blue house next to the cathedral (tel. 505/2552-8291; www.vapues.com) is one of the city's main agencies, and it organizes everything from transfers to flights to local tours. Tierra Tour (Calle La Calzada, 2 blocks east of the cathedral; tel. 505/2552-8723; www.tierratour.com) organizes excursions to Masaya and Ometepe Island, as well as kayaking excursions on Lago de Nicaragua and canopy tours. Nahual Tours, 1 1/2 blocks east of the cathedral (tel. 505/8988-2461; www.nahualtours.com) organizes regular boat tours of Las Isletas that cost approximately C300 and can also arrange transfers. Oro Travel (Calle Coral; tel. 505/2552-8103; www.orotravel.com) is a multilingual operation that can provide help with just about every excursion in the area. Zapatera Tours (Calle Palmira and La Cancha; tel. 505/8842-2587; www.zapateratours.com) offers 1-day tours to the seldom-visited Zapatera archipelago. Prices start at C880 per person per day, with an overnight option camping on the islands. The owner, Kevin, who also runs Imagine restaurant, also offers a mountain bike tour around Mombacho and Masaya and volcano climbs.

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.