I love to write about all that Granada has to offer visiting families searching for safe adventures abroad. Granada is a unique city that consistently hosts positive immersion experiences for both kids and adults alike. As we parents know, a foreign trip or temporary move abroad is only going to be successful if everyone involved can relax and enjoy themselves in a new environment. An important attraction of Granada Nicaragua is that a family can create a safe comfortable base here that balances well with the daily new experiences and challenges of a different culture, language and way of doing things.
With children’s happiness in mind (and therefor all of our happiness) these are my essential reasons why Granada should be on your radar for your family’s best travel experience abroad.
Safety. Nicaragua has the lowest incidents of violent crime in Central America. Nicaraguans by virtue of their own compassionate culture are very anti-violence and are often stunned by what they hear about in terms of crime outside their own borders. While theft is a more common and accepted part of life, Nicaraguans would never standby to let gangs, cartels or thugs ruin their beautiful country or neighborhoods.
Kid-friendly culture. Extended family is the center of life in Nicaragua and each generation is essential to its completeness. Children are ever present, adored and included in all family responsibilities, daily life and recreation. Traveling children and their families are considered natural and most welcome additions to the social fabric in Granada.
Excellent bilingual schools. Granada hosts several bilingual schools that are accustomed to integrating international students with local Nicaraguan students and providing not only an outstanding education but a fantastically affordable immersion experience for the Spanish language and Nicaraguan culture. Our pick is Granada International School for their attention to STEAM projects, English/Spanish fluency, and their admirable scholarship program.
Affordable comfortable rental homes. Granada is a renter’s paradise! Abundant affordable home rentals abound throughout the city for periods of just a few days up until a year in the form of colonial homes or condos, most with swimming pools and maid and gardening services included.
Walkability, local transportation. Granada is a walkable town with many of the city’s sites, home rentals and amenities located together in the colonial historic district. Cars are not necessary on a daily basis but can be easily rented at Budget or Alamo in town. Taxi fares are set at 10 cordoba (33 cents USD) per passenger to go most anywhere in Granada.
Friendly government. Nicaragua relies greatly upon its tourism for hard currencies and national income. A tourist visa for 90 days is easy to acquire and renew for several years before immigration begins to ask more probing questions. Families that plan to spend a year or two in Granada simply travel back and forth across the border every other three months to update their statuses.
Sports and activities. Families that plan for extended stays will find that there are plenty of after-school activities available either through a school (like Granada International), a league, a community or cultural center (like Casa Tres Mundos). Kids can participate in chess, art, basketball, baseball, Tae Kwon Do, dance, theater, music, yoga and plenty more.
Supermarkets and restaurants. Granada has several supermarkets with a wide selection of familiar products, and hosts restaurants throughout the historic center that produce cuisine from around the world. You’ve got your pizza, your pita shawarma, the samosa, your local fritanga… Imported foods will obviously cost more but local foods especially from the market are very inexpensive.
Green space. I personally love that there are some really stunning natural spaces around Granada including the waterfront of Lake Cocibolca a few blocks from the city center (which by the way has been much improved in 2017), the nature reserves around the nearby volcanoes with natural swimming holes and the Cocibolca Jockey Club.
Volunteer opportunities Granada is home to many well-established volunteer organizations that welcome visitors who wish to provide support and needed skills to their efforts. Families that plan for extended stays often appreciate the structure that volunteer hours build into the day, particularly if kids are in school. Read more about volunteering here.
Intrigued or convinced? If you are just starting to get your sight set on Granada as your next meaningful family reconnect or immersion destination start here to find out more details on what you need to know to plan that dream into reality for your family.