Visiting families that reside inside the city of Granada often seek a recreational green space similar to something on offer at a public park back home. Publicly in Granada, the Cocibolca lakefront area called the Malecón is the most similar to that sort of recreational environment, although it really is only a strip of land that follows the lake with no wide open lawn area. The Malecón includes playground equipment, restaurants and some basketball courts. It is safe to use during the day and the city is doing a lot to make it a more attractive, maintained destination. On Sundays, it is a very popular hangout for Nicaraguan families.
Personally, we venture down to the Malecón maybe once a month to catch a fresh breeze and see the lake. For recreating, we much prefer the Cocibolca Jockey Club located at the rotunda at the entrance of the city proper. The CJC is where we go to when we need a break from the intensity of the city and especially the heat.
The club is a fantastic, family destination that is open from six o’clock in the morning until the restaurant closes in evening Tuesday thru Sunday. The property is enormous with almost a 100 acres to its credit and most of it is just beautiful open terrain. It feels quite a bit cooler at the CJC than even a few blocks away with more wind movement and plants, lawn and trees to cool the area.
The club’s facilities include tennis and basketball courts, a large swimming pool with changing rooms and showers, a small child’s swimming pool, soccer fields, playground, a race track which can be used for walking and a restaurant to keep everyone fueled. The restaurant prepares full meals, snacks, and cold drinks, and its staff are very kind and attentive. Having a fun swim in the late afternoon, followed by dinner served by the pool and quick showers takes half the battle out of the evening routine for parents!
The club has a monthly membership fee of $40 for the whole family which can be paused if you are going to be away. Just for access to an athletic-sized pool, I feel that this fee has an enormous value for our family. But we also use the race track for walking, the tennis and basketball courts and once in a while the soccer fields in the cooler hours. The club also allows us to bring a few guests, so play date opportunities abound!
It’s easy to try a month’s membership; there is no contract involved, so if it doesn’t work for you, there is no obligation to stay with it. Frankly, I feel that it’s like having your own private park. More families are beginning to join in these hot summer months, so it’s turning out to be a really nice social venue, as well.
There are some unique events at the club that you might attend. Club shareholders still meet to play polo and race horses, so the classic equestrian aspect of the Jockey Club is still very active. You will find that horses have an immense value to life in Nicaragua, whether for work or play and the CJC celebrates the very best of breeding in the south.
For more information about the club in Spanish you can check out the CJC website. I like the page on the history of the club that details who were the founding members, the 5000 córdobas that they each threw into the pot to get it all started in 1965, and the period of national confiscation by the Sandinistas for the site to be used as a military base. By the way, if you are interested in really becoming a partner of the Cocibolca Jockey Club those actions now cost $2,500 when purchased from the club, or somewhat less if you find a member who is willing to sell their share.