Masaya Nicaragua – Nature, Culture, Shopping. A Day With The Lot!

Masaya Nicaragua

We have said it before, Granada has so much to offer within a short distance from the historical centre.

Imagine a day trip that ticked all the boxes, or at least catered to the whims and interests of everyone in your group! There is a day trip from Granada to Masaya that does just that.

  • You want to get up close with a live, smoking volcano without having to do a 1500 meter vertical climb?- Tick!
  • Fit in some local shopping?- Tick!
  • Have lunch overlooking one of the most beautiful lakes in the country?- Tick!
  • Get a first-hand taste of local culture and crafts dating back to pre-Columbian times?- Tick!!

All of this in one day, with the afternoon still free to explore Granada.

First Stop – Masaya Volcano

A short drive out of town and we arrive at the Masaya National Park.  Masaya Volcano is not as steep as most volcanoes in Nicaragua, but by no means less dramatic. Described by the Spanish as the gates of hell, Masaya is the most accessible active volcano in the country.

An easy drive to the top, park the car (not too close!) and you are looking straight into the gates of hell. Masaya has a complex system of active craters, the two main ones are accessible from the road provided by the national park and on most days will be spewing volcanic gases from their depths.

If this is something you have never experienced before, the sulphuric gas literally takes your breath away, in turn limiting the time you should spend up there. None the less, this is a live volcano experience available to anyone with transport without having to spend hours clawing your way to the top.

Masaya Volcano view from the top. Masaya Nicaragua

Standing on the rim and staring into the crater of an active volcano is a once in a lifetime and very humbling experience. There is also a night tour of Masaya that gives you the opportunity to walk through the lava tubes to see different species of bats and the unusual parrot that lives amongst the gases in the inner rim of the volcano.

Looking into Masaya Volcano - Masaya Nicaragua

 Next Stop – Masaya Local Artisan Markets

Shop to your heart’s content at the Masaya market. Ceramics, woodcrafts, jewellery, cigars, leather, & the popular Masaya hammocks. There are loads of great local artisan products to be found here. Don’t be scared to barter a and like the many who make the special trip just to shop, you may walk away with a good deal.

Masaya Markets Nicaragua

Hand woven hammocks are a Nicaraguan specialty, as are the woven beach chairs. This is definitely the place to get them.

Masaya Nicaragua

 Had Enough Shopping? Time For Lunch And A Spectacular View.

Once you have shopped your entire baggage allowance, time to grab something to eat. Head out to the serene town of Catarina, known for its nurseries and flowers. Its town center sits high above the crater lake of Laguna de Apoyo. Locals come to spend Sunday afternoon picnicking or having lunch at one of the many restaurants sitting high above the spectacular lake.

Masaya Nicaragua

Last Stop For The day – San Juan de Oriente For A Ceramics Class.

We head out to the pre Columbian town of San Juan de Oriente renown for its ceramics. Here there is a school dedicated to keeping the traditional art alive. Starting with clay sourced from a local quarry, they will lead you through the processes of making these beautiful ceramics that are unique to this region.

Masaya Nicaragua

Baked in these wood fired kilns that reach incredibly high temperatures, similar to those produced by volcanoes makes these ceramics incredibly durable.

Ceramics School of San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua

Every process in making these ceramics uses natural products and is done completely by hand. It is a wonderful initiative to see schools dedicated to keeping the traditional skills and art alive. This is the vision and passion we have seen throughout this country.


Check Latest Accommodation Rates for Granada Nicaragua

Tierra Tours in Granada run day trips from Granada to Masaya daily at 8.30am. Cost is approx $35 USD pp depending on numbers. Duration approx 6 hrs.

Tours include transportation, entrance fees and bilingual guide.

Other Things to Do In Granada Nicaragua

Take a Tour of the Old Town

Take a cruise around the Isleta’s on Lake Nicaragua

Visit Mombacho Volcano for a hike and some zip lining.

While we received a media rate for this tour courtesy of Tierra Tours, as always, all opinions expressed in this review are our own and have not been influenced in any way.

Masaya Nicaragua



  • Tours are such a great way to explore a new area! If I ever make it to Granada I’ll definitely look into this company. And I never turn down an opportunity to go shopping =D

  • I am not a great fan of tours, but there are some areas in the world where I wouldn’t even set foot outside of a guided tour. It seems you had a great time in Nicaragua and even did some good shopping. Great pictures.

  • Nicaragua has been on my list but I didn’t know how close you could get to the volcano. Great pictures. Thanks for the vicarious (and easier) climb.

  • Masaya was the very first city I went to in Nicaragua and experienced my first homestay. I couldn’t believe how kind and warm my homestay family was and I loved Masaya (except for the insane humidity!) I have such fond memories of that place and I’m glad to see you guys enjoyed it as well. I feel like Masaya always gets looked over, well Nicaragua in general does when compared to Costa Rica or Panama but it’s an amazing country as well and so beautiful!

  • I visited the volcano via public transport and then hitching my way up with some of the rangers up to the crater, great fun! 🙂 I’m still amazed on how they let people so close to the rim with all these sulphuric gasses! 🙂

    • Els, it is kind of crazy isn’t it, but also kind of awesome that you can visit the rim of a live volcano like that. It opens the experience to those who may not ever have it otherwise. We climbed Conception (1610 meters) and this method was a lot more civilized and forgiving!;)


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