A Day Tour of Las Isletas in Nicaragua

 

One of Many Isletas on Lake Nicaragua Near Granada

Las Isletas are located just southeast of the beautiful colonial city of Granada in Nicaragua. Many guidebooks differ in their numbers of the islands that range anywhere between 300 and 365. No matter what the actual number really is, there are a large number of them and one fact is true: they were created more than 10,000 years ago from a huge explosion by the Mombacho Volcano that still dominates the skyline.

Today, many of the isletas are privately owned and its residents range from families of local fishermen who live in makeshift homes to lavish mansions primarily used as a temporary escape for the wealthy. Several even include small hotels, cute restaurants and small nature reserves. Although there are a number of reputable tour companies that provide groups a general boat tour of the area, one of the best ways is to explore the islands is to go with a group of friends and hire a private boat that can break away from the usual and rather boring circuit.

The Puerto Asese Near Granada, Nicaragua, with the Mombacho Volcano in the Distance

While in Granada, my suggestion is to  take a taxi to Puerto Asese (the small wharf just outside of the city of Granada) and find one of the smaller boats sitting at the docks. Several docked boats post hand-painted signs offering private tours but most of the time the eager owners who are hungry for business will approach visitors anyway. The wooden boats are easily recognizable: they each seat approximately eight passengers, have a single outboard engine and have some type of roof or canopy to block out the sun.

The fees range between $15US and $20US but make sure to question the rate if it is much more than that. Once the deal is settled, sit back and relax on the wooden bench and enjoy the views. One of my favorite moments after leaving the wharf is when the boat first enters the open waters of Lake Nicaragua and the Mombacho Volcano looms on the horizon.

After catching your breath and hopefully snapping a few pictures, ask to stop at a few of the islands to do a little exploration. Try to avoid the private ones, especially the ones where an attractive home is located. My suggestion is to travel to the ones that are covered in plant life that actually look uninhabited. Those usually include plenty of wildlife and perfect locations on the shores where you can see a variety of birds and monkeys living in its trees. On my last tour, out boat stopped at five different islands where we saw everything from herons and cranes to communities of monkeys oblivious to our cameras.

For those who wish to spend a whole day on one of the isletas, a great recommendation is the Hotel Isleta La Ceiba. It is located on two small islands (connected by a footbridge) and it is well worth the visit even for the afternoon. My immediate impression was that it was once a thriving location that welcomed day-trippers and celebrities who wanted to get away for the night. For example, there are photos of Don Francisco (a well-known celebrity from the Univisión television network) smiling and shaking hands with the owners at its grand opening.

One of My Favorite Spots at the Hotel La Ceiba in Nicaragua

The hotel includes 10 private and comfortable cabins with plenty of outdoor sitting areas as well as a swimming pool with views of the Mombacho Volcano. Best of all, it offers lunch and dinner with specials such as fresh fish (direct from the lake)  and a reasonably priced bottle of Flor de Caña Rum, which is one of the best in the world.

I stayed overnight and found it to be a beautiful oasis where the friendly staff offered me good food, clean guest rooms and fun water activities such as kayaking. One of my favorite places on the island was in a hammock on the edge of the water where I could see the palm trees swaying in the breeze as the fishing boats quietly glided by the shore.

Overall, my private boat tour made the trip to Granada that much more exciting and interesting. Not being one for the large group tours, this was definitely the way to do it.

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~ by JHN Writer on February 27, 2011.

2 Responses to “A Day Tour of Las Isletas in Nicaragua”

  1. yeah nice

  2. […] section at Suite 101, one of the top online magazines based in … Read the original post: A Day Tour of Las Isletas in Nicaragua « Of Foreign Lands and People Share and […]

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