Personally, I think it’s too hot to camp here in
Granada, Nicaragua. Also, we’re in the jungle. My advice is: don’t camp in the jungle. There are bugs that come out at night the size of a coffee saucer. You’ll see tarantulas that really don’t bite but that have a 4 – 6 inch leg span.
Granada is in the topics. Camping is a very European-American pastime, so there are no campgrounds here in Granada. There’s no KOA. You don’t see people pulling trailers and pop-up tents. That doesn’t exist here. It’s not comfortable to camp here.
The Nicaraguan culture is not a camping culture, not like the US. In North America in the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, “camping” was how many of us lived. Over time, we became more affluent and lived differently, so we started to go camping. By contrast, in the present in Granada, if you look at how the poor Nicaraguans live, they are already doing what we would call “camping”. Camping isn’t a sport here in Nicaragua. Camping, for a lot of the population, is just how one lives.
The hiking in Granada, however, is great. There are mountains, streams, rivers and volcanoes. The hiking in Granada is fantastic. If you live in Granada, Nicaragua and you want to go hiking, there are several alternatives.
From the center of Granada, if you walk a quarter mile east, you will hit the 10th largest lake in the world, Lake Nicaragua. From there, you can either turn left or right; north or south. Turning north, the road is basically a dirt road and follows the lake for 20 miles. Turn south and you’ll go into a touristic zone that becomes very rural very quickly.
If you were to leave the center of Granada and walk for 15 minutes west, you will have exited the city and you will be in the country and be able to walk about 4 miles of country dirt roads that go to the western shore of the Laguna de Apoyo, pictured here.
If you wanted to take your car, you could drive 15 minutes outside of Granada to Mombacho Volcano. You can park your car on the highway and walk up, or you can drive into the park itself, park your car, and then hike all sorts of nature trails with and without guides.
While you don’t need a guide to go hiking, it’s sometimes good to have a guide because there’s so much flora and fauna you cannot identify, its good to have someone with you who can point these things out.
It seems like so many of the Nicaraguans know holistic health and know the medicinal purposes of lots of the flora, so even if they’re not a guide, even if they’re not a holistic healer, perhaps they’re just a young Nicaraguan you may see on the street or in the mountains, he will know what plants and what herbs will cure certain illnesses. The Nicaraguans all seem to still retain a lot of the holistic, medical knowledge that lots of us have lost due to the popularity of modern pharmaceuticals. In the States, if you’re sick, you see a doctor and take a pill. If you’re still sick, you take another pill. Here in Granada, they may boil an herb or take the bark of a particular tree and rub it on your wound. So, it’s good that you can learn some of these holistic and healing properties of some of the flora. (Note: I don’t mean to imply that you can’t get good healthcare in Granada. Nicaragua has first rate, modern healthcare, too. Please see my answers on this site in that section.)
A few times when I’ve been hiking or just walking through the woods with a Nicaraguan, they will stop me quickly because they will see something that I don’t. Sometimes, for example, it could be a poisonous snake or perhaps just a monkey in a tree. They all seem to be very observant. Once again, you don’t need a guide, but I would recommend one.
In Granada, Nicaragua, we’re living in a situation that’s a lot like the US in the 1930s and 1940s, so there’s a lot of “country”; there’s a lot of open spaces. My traffic jam in Granada on any given day is a horse cart or an ox cart or cattle trying to cross the road. It’s not 20 car pileups. My traffic jam in Granada is like a traffic jam you would experience in the United States in the 19th
century or the early part of the 20th
century, nothing like present day LA, Boston, Houston or Phoenix, Arizona on a Friday night. That doesn’t exist here.