Guest Book

Vista Mombacho Guest Information

Guest activities


There are a lot of activities in the Granada area. Some of these change from time to time so it is impossible to list them all. The best source of information is found on our website, which is updated often.

Grocery Stores

If you step out the front door and turn left and go 4 blocks there are two supermarkets. One is Colonia on the left and across the street is La Union. Colonia is locally owned and La Union is part of Wal Mart and there are some things that are not in common with both stores. The supermarkets are modern and is the best place to purchase meats, poultry and fish as they have better inspection than the open air markets.



These are small mom and pop stores that are very near the apartments. They sell a multitude of items that you may not wish to go to the supermarket for such as potato chips, soft drinks, tooth paste and the like. Think about them as a smaller version of a convenience store you would find back home.


The closest is Santa Rosa which is ½ block straight ahead from the front door. They have almost all medications that you would find at the pharmacies in the center of town. They also have a few employees who speak limited English. Most medications are available there but some are only available at the larger pharmacies downtown.

Mombacho Volcano and nature walk

The Mombacho Volcano is one of the most famous volcanoes in Nicaragua due to several factors: its location just 10 km from the Granada city, its access infrastructure and, above all things, the mystical cloud forest that occupies much of its sides and top.

The ride uphill only is an adventure by itself. Whether it’s your own car or the truck you’re using, the incredible steepness of the volcano guarantees a spectacular ride. You will see coffee plantations and later on the cloud forest next to the single lane road. The views are also spectacular from here.

When you arrive at the end of the road (at 1,200 mts) the temperature will probably have dropped significantly and the humidity will be high. It’s always windy, so be sure to bring an extra sweater. After the 20-30 minutes ride you will find a tourist center on the top of the volcano. The Mombacho reserve is well run by the Cocibolca foundation, and offers more to tourists than many other tourist attractions. The tourist center illustrates this. You will find plenty information about the volcano and its flora and fauna. The tourist center houses maps, photos, models, souvenirs, and more interesting material. There is also a cafeteria where you can get a small meal and drinks. You can also find a guide to hike the volcano.

The Mombacho volcano has four craters. All of the craters are covered with cloud forest. This type of forest is only found on one other spot in the Pacific, and that is on the Maderas Volcano in Ometepe. On the Mombacho volcano, you can walk around one of the craters, or hike around several craters. Besides lots of different trees and plants that thrive because of the cloud forests humidity you can also observe howler and white face monkeys, as well as snakes, deer, reptiles, birds, and insects. There are several endemic species living on the Mombacho. The Mombacho salamander is the most extreme endemic species: the little salamander can only be found on the Mombacho volcano!

Masaya Markets, new and artesian

There are two markets in Masaya, a city about 20 miles away. Getting to the market from the apartments couldn’t be easier, or less expensive than a “chicken bus,” which is an experience in itself. The bus passes in front of the apartments every 20 – 30 minutes. You can wait inside and ask the doorman to tell you when the bus is coming. The payment for the fare is easy. Just have a seat and at some point there will be a person going down the aisle collecting money. If in doubt as to the amount just see what other people are paying. The only real exceptions I have ever seen in extra charges was a backpacker who took up two seats with his backpack and was required to pay for both.

The bus will have painted on the front “Masaya” and “Granada.” They have to go slow around the corner so it is easy to catch a ride. The fee is about 50 cents per person. Once in Masaya the bus will enter the corner of a large parking lot where you will depart. Go to the right of the main market and enter near the center. This market is patronized by locals as well as tourists. On the left side from where the bus stops is the fresh food section which may have everything from fish to beef hearts. Best to enter the other side where you will find an assortment of clothing, art, and souvenirs.

As you exit the market turn left and go across the bridge and about 5 blocks you will find the artesian market. It is much cleaner and has wider aisles. The prices may be a bit higher and often times you will find higher quality products. My personal suggestion is to check the market where the bus lets you off first and then go to the artesian market where you can better compare prices and quality as well as selection. You will be returning to the first market to catch the bus home so you can have that second opportunity to make purchases.

It’s best to first take a look around and get informed before buying something. Being well-informed will also strengthen your bargaining position in this market. Although the products are friendly priced it is surely possible to get some discount if you buy more than one item from the same vendor.

You can grab a bite in the small dining corner inside the markets or step outside for some more options. Among the products sold are wooden dishes, tiny rum bottles (Flor de Caña), Nicaraguan t-shirts, leather products, local paintings, and more artisan products.

Returning to Granada is easy. Just look for a yellow bus that says “Masaya Granada” on the front. You may need to wait a few minutes but usually not long for departure. Vendors will board the bus selling soft drinks and snacks. The bus will reverse the route and will pass in front of the apartments. As you make the turn and see the apartments go to the front and indicate to the driver or the ticket agent this is where you want off.

Masaya Volcano

NOTE: the park may be closed to the public due to recent activity. This is subject to change at any time

The Masaya Volcano National Park comprises an area of 54 km² and includes two volcanoes and five craters. The volcanoes have erupted several times in history, and were feared by both the indigenous people and the Spanish conquerors. The Spanish baptized the active volcano “La Boca del Infierno” or “The Mouth of Hell”. They planted a cross, “La Cruz de Bobadilla” (named after Father Francisco Bobadilla), on the crater lip in the 16th century in order to exorcise the Devil.

The eruptions have had a dramatic impact on the surroundings. Rocks and volcanic ashes still cover the area surrounding the volcanoes. The nature is rough yet peaceful. Different types of vegetation appeared after the eruptions. The park is also inhabited by many different kinds of animals. The park’s wildlife includes coyotes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, deer, iguanas, and monkeys.

Visitors can peek over the edge at the Masaya Volcano, and look into the impressive crater, which is continuously emitting smoke and sulfur gases. From this central crater it is possible to start hiking to other craters or viewpoints. Be sure to walk a bit up to get a view of the smoking volcano and the fascinating surroundings. There are several trails that lead to other great views, other craters, or to the Tzinaconostoc Cave in which hundreds of bats house. These special trails vary in distance between 1.4 and 5.9 kilometers and are all guided, with prices between C$10 and C$20 per person. Each trail takes between 1-1½ hours.

An interesting and well-equipped visitor’s center is located halfway up to the volcano. The center provides information about the Masaya volcano, but also about the other volcanoes in Nicaragua and related geological processes. Visitors can also learn more about the flora and fauna of the park.

Night Tour

Another spectacular activity is to undertake a nocturnal tour. The Masaya Volcano National Park offers this tour every day from 5PM until around 7.30-8PM. The tour starts right before sunset, with a visit to the cross (La Cruz de Bobadilla) overlooking the volcano and the surroundings. Next is the observation of Green Parakeets that come back to the volcano to roost. These birds have somehow adapted to the sulfur smoke from the volcano and actually live within the crater. During the day the birds are out finding food, but around sunset they return to their nests. The birds can often be seen returning to the volcano during the tour, but the arrival time varies every day so the sightings are not guaranteed.

The second attraction is to watch a large number of bats depart massively from their caves, another great natural spectacle! These bats can also be seen in the caves during daytime, but only at night do they leave their home en masse.

Next is a visit to an underground tunnel which was formed by lava streams. Equipped with flashlight and helmet, visitors can enter the tunnel and observe the interesting rock formations. The tour ends with a visit to a viewpoint that provides the possibility to actually look inside the crater mouth of the volcano, observing the red, glowing lava! This crater opening, which was recently formed (at the end of 2006), is located deep down in the crater and can only be seen at night, when the red glow of hot lava lights the surroundings.

Practical Information

The entrance fee for a regular visit is C$100 for foreigners and C$30 for Nicaraguans. The night tour has a price of US$10 per person. Minimum group size is 6, maximum size is 40 people.

Important: for the night tour reservations should be made at least one day ahead. Flashlights and masks are provided by the park; visitors should bring water and solid clothing. Transportation is not included in the price but can be arranged on request. There are several tour companies in Granada that can make arrangements for you.

The park is open every day from 9:00AM until 4:45PM for regular visits. It is located on the highway to Masaya (Carretera Masaya), kilometer 23.

The park lies less than half an hour away from Managua, and ten minutes from Masaya. From the entrance of the park it is five kilometers uphill to the Masaya Volcano, located at the center of the park. Visitors can drive uphill themselves or ask a taxi driver to drive to the crater. Hiking uphill is another option, but it takes a while and the road is steep, so a good condition is necessary.


When the Mombacho Volcano erupted thousands of years ago, it threw huge rocks into Lake Nicaragua. As a result of this violent eruption 365 islets were formed in front of Granada. The islets differ in size between a hundred square meters and over one hundred hectares. The wild nature, resident birds and visitors and the day-a-day routine of the local families make it an ideal place for a boat ride or kayaking around the lake.

The small islands, in Nicaragua called Las Islatas, serve different purposes. There is a community of about 1200 people living on the islets. Most of the people living here are fishermen. Other islands accommodate hotels or luxurious houses (some of them can be rented). There are also uninhabited islets with only some palm trees growing on it.

At the wharf of Granada there are many boatmen who offer a boat ride to the islets. You can slowly pass by the islands and catch a glimpse of the immensity of Lake Nicaragua. The birdlife around the islands is abundant. You can see cormorants, herons, parrots, hawks, vultures, and many other birds. The lake also houses lots of fish. Sweet water shark once crowded the lake, but this unique animal is nowadays threatened with extinction and barely ever seen. You can see the huge Mombacho Volcano arise right next to the lake.

Taking a boat ride to the islets of Granada is a fun, relaxed way of exploring Central America’s biggest lake. The price for a one-hour boat ride is about US$20 (about 12 people fit in the boat). The price may change with the price of gasoline and other factors. Speak with someone at the reception area at the apartments about the Isleta tours. We have a person who will pick you up and return you for about the same price as trying to get there yourself.

Zip Line or Canopy tours


The Mombacho Canopy Tour provides visitors with a wonderful opportunity to try their hands at something new and to view the Mombacho Volcano from new heights. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate in the tour and there are no age restrictions. Everyone is given a zip line that is attached to their harness, so no matter what happens you will be safe.

There are many tour operators that will provide you with superb package that lasts for the whole day (approximately eight hours). The actual tour of the canopy lasts for about an hour and a half, but you will also be taken around the reserve, given the coffee-farm tour, a horse ride and a bird watching hike. All this provides visitors with the full Nicaraguan experience.

If that sort of thing is not your style and you only want to do the canopy tour, you can also arrange your own tour. Before you start the actual tour the guides that have been assigned to your group will show you what to do with the zip line and also explain other more exciting options, such as the “Superman” and the “upside down” which are two options you can try if you feel you can handle it.

The road you will need to take for the canopy tour goes through the El Progreso coffee mill where the whole 1,500-meter course has been set up. The course is made up of a total of fifteen platforms and one twenty-five meter long rope bridge that hangs shakily in mid-air making for a wonderful adventure. The canopy platforms are attached to the large trees that grow on the reserve and from there you can get a wonderful view of the surrounding areas as well as the Mombacho Volcano and Lake Cocibolca.

Visitors should also take the time to look at the treetops and at the branches above them – it is often surprising to see the incredible array of delicate orchids and ferns that grow so high up there. At the end of the tour your guide will radio for transport so that you can be collected and taken the twenty-three kilometers to the Cuttire Farm and the Biological Center.

There are several tour companies on Calzada and other parts of town that can speak with you about trips around town or to nearby villages. Inquire at the front desk for more information.

Art classes

It started with a love of coloring and drawing from the tender age of 4 into a passion that spans the ages. Of course, genetics has played a part as well receiving talent from both parents, Bernard and Sylvia Sopinski. With encouragement from my parents I continued my studies even though work came first for many, many years. As recreation and therapy, I continued to take courses in art finishing with classes under the renowned artist Andy Braitman in Charlotte, NC.  The Braitman studio was the inspiration for the Centro de Arte in Granada wherein all a person had to do was bring themselves and all would be provided for. Centro de Arte is located on Calle Calzada in Granada, Nicaragua. The studio is the main floor and garden area of GPS property management services. It provides wonderful light and a continuous stream of people from all over the world. We offer painting classes in oil, acrylic, watercolor and pastel. Drawing is also offered with an occasional model for life drawing. All paints, brushes, palettes and such are ready for your use. Canvases are available for purchase and come in a variety of sizes. I believe that there is an artist in each and every one of us, just waiting to be discovered. My style is more in the line of impressionism/expressionism but I encourage the artist to find themselves in their work. Many come to learn others just to paint in the wonderful environment. Whatever is your stage….stop by and partake in the experience.  Talk with Amy Bushnell.