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With no shortage of activities to fill your time in Granada, visiting the Isletas in Lake Nicaragua is one thing that you simply CANNOT MISS! Truly, this was one of the absolute best things that we did during our stay to Granada, and all of us would happily go again and again.
What Are The Isletas in Granada?
The Isletas are a series of small islands that are located just off the shore of Granada in Lake Nicaragua. These stunning little islands are formed from the ancient volcanic eruption of Mombacho, and there are now over 365 of them scattered across the lake.
Many of these Isletas are inhabited and the people living there often make their living as fisherman and travel to and from the city by boat. Some of them are tiny, while others are large enough to fits sprawling vacation estates.
Ways to Visit the Granada Isletas
One of the best things to go in Granada is to tour the Isletas. Most people choose to do that by motorboat. Having been passed by many motor boats on our trip, I’m telling you that a motor boat trip of the Granada Isletas is NOT the way to go. The motors are incredibly loud and smell terrible, both of which are quick ways to scare off any and all wildlife that you could possibly see. Not to mention that they’re not very relaxing!
The best way to experience these amazing islets is to rent a kayak or canoe! You can find rental spots along the shore in Granada where you can rent a boat or go on a guided tour. Neither of which is very expensive, though I do recommend going with a tour guide, since we learned SO MUCH about the area. Our tour guide grew up on one of the Isletas and knew TONS about the area, wildlife, and culture so it was great to learn from him. He was a native Spanish speaker, but also spoke excellent English.
What To Expect on A Kayak Tour of The Isletas
One of our main objectives of our kayaking tour was to see nature and wildlife, so our guides recommended that we start as early as possible. They picked us up at our hotel (round trip transportation was included in the price of our tour) right at sunrise so that we could be on the water early.
After a quick safety chat and getting equipped with paddles and life jackets, we were ready to go.
While the motor boats in the the Granada Isletas were speeding along in the wider channels, we were able to meander through the smaller waterways to see a quieter view of life in the Isletas. The views were absolutely STUNNING!
Being able to kayak through the trees and right up next to the wildlife was stunning.
The kids especially loved when we found a few islands full of monkeys. One had howler monkeys there and several others had white faced capuchin monkeys. The capuchins all were very defensive at first and were hissing at us with barred teeth, but once our guide got out a banana to give them, a peace offering as he said, they relaxed and went back to having fun swinging in the trees.
After about an hour and a half, we stopped at an old fort. This was a great spot to get out and stretch our cramped legs and to stretch for a bit. Our guide explained the history of the fort to us, and we loved seeing some of the historic remnants like the cannons there.
There was a family selling snacks at the fort, but our guide had fresh coconuts for us as well as watermelon and bananas so we were perfectly happy with what we had.
After stopping at the fort, we had the option to continue along the smaller waterways, or take the more direct route back to shore where we started. Wanting a change of pace, we opted to take the direct route, which was fun since we got to experience some of the waves of the lake and got a great view of the city of Granada as we paddles back to town.
Cost To Kayak The Isletas in Granada
Kayaking the Isletas is a very affordable thing to do in Granada. We went with Vladimir Kayaks and they charged $20 for adults and only $15 for kids, with kids 6 and under free. This was a total of $100 for our large family. To rent a kayak would be $10 per person, which would have cost $60 for our family. For a bit extra money, it was worth having a guide to explain the areas to us, and an English guide was a great bonus as well. I would highly recommend Vladimir Kayaks! You can find out more information about Vladimir Kayaks here.
What To Take Kayaking
When it comes to packing for your kayak excursion, there are a few items that are essential. A waterproof camera is perfect if you have one (we used our Go Pro since the new version has excellt video stabilization), but if you don’t have one, a waterproof phone case with a lanyard you can wear around your neck would be perfect. You don’t want to miss capturing those precious moments and stunning scenery!
Bug spray is a must especially in the morning and early evening- no one wants to end the trip covered in itchy bug bites, and the bugs can get thick out there! Sunscreen will help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, and having a hat on hand can help keep you feeling cool during when the sun starts to beat down on you. You’ll also want to bring a bottle of water with you as you’ll likely get thirsty along the way.
Where To Stay While Kayaking The Isletas?
There are so many great places to stay for a kayak trip to the Isletas. Check out our other articles for the top recommendations for family friendly stays in Granada, luxury stays in Granada, and where to stay in Granada on a budget.
Our biggest advice it so not be too far from Parque Central since that’s where most of the activity in Granada takes place. You don’t need to stay right on the water for your kayak trip since taxis are abundant and cheap to find.
Best Time Of Year To Kayak The Isletas
While Granada has good weather year round, our guide recommended that the best time to go is from December until June. This is when the weather is drier and you’ll be less likely to encounter big rainstorms. In the rainy season, you’ll be more likely to see caiman as well, which I’d prefer to avoid completely! I would also suggest going early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat and to see nature at its most active.
How to Get To The Isletas
Most of the boat tours and kayak rentals are located just south of Granada on the waterfront. It’s only a couple of kilometers south of town and is an easy walk, or a short taxi ride to get there.
All in all, kayaking The Isletas is an amazing experience and one that I highly recommend! Whether you’re looking for a peaceful getaway or an adventure full of wildlife, The Isletas has something for everyone. So grab your gear and get ready to explore! You won’t regret it!