Granada, Nicaragua’s oldest city and steeped in collonial history, it draws the majority of tourists to Nicaragua that use the city as their base whilst vacationing here and has a large expat community which adds to the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere.
We only spent a day in the city, whilst on our car buying expedition, but we visited the Chocolate hotel and museum (free entry) and enjoyed an all you can eat buffet breakfast which I would highly recommend! The breakfast buffet included eggs made to order, pancakes and waffles as well as Gallo Pinto (traditional dish of rice and beans), Maduros (ripe fried plantain), Cheese, Fruit, Bread, Tortillas, Granola, Yogurt, Tea, Coffee and Juice.
With our bellies full we went for a walk around the city and then booked a boat ride on the lake. There are many small islands on the lake, most are private, with some lovely houses on them.
The main draw for this boat ride is to see ‘monkey island’ a small island inhabited by Capuchin monkeys, a colony established here after some pet monkeys were abandoned by their owner. These monkeys are used to human visitors (although you don’t get off your boat) and come to the edge, as some tour operators encourage you to bring some fruit to feed them. Be wary though these are still wild animals! The monkeys appeared pretty quickly and unfortunately, the first one to appear had something wrong with his face, he appeared to lack the majority of his upper jaw on one side, this disappointed us , as this island and it’s inhabitants are an important tourist attraction and they should be cared for. Despite this we enjoyed seeing the monkeys and the array of wildlife around these islands and the boys loved their boat trip!
On returning to our hostel, The Barrel, in Guanacaste, we spoke with the owner Leslia about our concern and Leslia informed us that she was due to attend a Nicaraguan tourist board meeting and would raise our concerns. We were later informed by Leslia that action was taken, this monkey was suffering from a virus and sadly, had to be euthanised, but other monkeys were treated and regained full health. What a fantastic result for the colony! Animal welfare is always a concern and as tourists, we have a responsibility to question concerns and help eliminate their suffering and more importantly not fund it.
So if you head to Granada one day, take a boat trip on the lake and see the wildlife and let me know how the monkeys are doing!