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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Nicaragua Part 11

    Thursday, August 24, 2017
    Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua

    A tourist boat cruises through Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    A tourist boat cruises through Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    A cannon at the Fort of San Pablo in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    A cannon at the Fort of San Pablo in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    A large turtle shell at the Fort of San Pablo in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    A large turtle shell at the Fort of San Pablo in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    A view looking out from the top of the Fort of San Pablo in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    A view looking out from the top of the Fort of San Pablo in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    At 11:30 am, I joined three other guests from the Hostal El Momente on a two-hour boat tour of Las Isletas de Granada, an archipelago of 365 islets. (Hey, that’s one for each day of the year!) Located just a few kilometers south of the city of Granada in Lake Nicaragua, the islets were formed 20,000 years ago when the nearby Mombacho volcano got ultra pissed and blew much of its cone sky high. Mr. Gravity then grabbed ahold of it, broke it apart into tiny pieces and splattered it all back down into the lake around the Asese Peninsula.

    Jaws lurks at the Fort of San Pablo in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua. A few sharks actually live in the lake.
    Jaws lurks at the Fort of San Pablo in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua. A few sharks actually live in the lake.

    The Fort of San Pablo in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    The Fort of San Pablo in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    The guide for our boat tour of Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    The guide for our boat tour of Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    “Composed of volcanic rock, most of the islets are now covered with vegetation and are rich with bird and other animal life. Even sharks from the Caribbean sea migrated up the San Juan river and live in the lake. Many of the islets are occupied. Some are privately owned by wealthy people–both foreign and Nicaraguan–and contain mansions and vacation houses, as well as hotels and shops, while others are occupied by indigenous people, many of whom are fishermen.”–Wikipedia

    An abandoned house in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    An abandoned house in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    Monkey Island in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    Monkey Island in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    People enjoy kayaking in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    People enjoy kayaking in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    As we cruised down the lake past numerous islets, our guide gave us a detailed lecture on the history of Granada and the islands. Our first stop, lasting 20 minutes, was at the diminutive Fort of San Pablo, which was built (along with a second fort on the other side of Granada) by Spanish conquistadors in 1784 to help protect the city from pirates. Our second stop was at Rock Island, a hostel, bar and restaurant that takes up almost a whole tiny islet. There, we relaxed for 40 minutes in wooden chairs by a funky blue swimming pool, where a pleasant cool breeze eased me into a nice nap. American and British light pop and soft rock from the 1970s is on constant rotation at this place.

    An iguana suns itself on a rock in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    An iguana suns itself on a rock in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    Kick back on Rock Island in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    Kick back on Rock Island in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    A thatched roof hut in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.
    A thatched roof hut in Las Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua.

    A horse-drawn carriage in Granada, Nicaragua.
    A horse-drawn carriage in Granada, Nicaragua.

    For our third and final brief stop, we paused in the boat for a couple of minutes at Monkey Island, where we fed three monkeys that survive on the fruit that tourists throw to them. On the way, we also spied several different bird species and a big iguana sunning itself on a rock. So, if you ever find yourself in Granada, Nicaragua, you should definitely take a boat tour of the islets. Even better, if you’ve got arms like Popeye, rent a kayak and do it yourself.

    Words and photos ©2017 Arcane Candy.

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