Wander through Granada's brightly painted streets and you'll catch glimpses of quiet inner courtyard gardens behind the impressive colonial frontages.
The Convent of San Francisco displays pre-Columbian treasures from Isla Zapatera, including large basalt Chorotega figures.
Horse-drawn carriages-the city's taxis since 1524-allow you to explore the city at a leisurely pace.
Five minutes from the city lie Las Isletas de Granada, a freshwater archipelago of 354 rocky islands in Lake Nicaragua. This water-bound community is a mix of ritzy weekend homes on private islands interspersed with some very humble permanent homes. Locals are mainly fishermen or caretakers of the luxury properties.
The area is a haven for birdwatchers, with osprey, cormorants, kingfishers, oropendolas, gnat-catchers, egrets, parrots and parakeets to be seen.