Walking Tour: Colonial Explorer

  • Start Parque Central
  • End Iglesia de Xalteva
  • Length 2.5km; three hours

Begin at the fine Parque Central, pleasantly shaded by mango and malinche trees. The Catedral de Granada, on the eastern side of the plaza, was originally built in 1583 but has been destroyed countless times since. This most recent version was built in 1915.

On the park’s southeastern corner, the beautifully restored Hotel Gran Francia was formerly the home of William Walker. Head north to Plaza de la Independencia. The obelisk is dedicated to the heroes of the 1821 struggle for independence, while the Cruz de Siglo was erected in 1900 to mark the new century.

On the eastern side of this plaza is the Casa de los Leones, named for the carved lions on the stone portal, the only part of the original structure that survived Walker’s 1856 retreat. Rebuilt as a stately private home in 1920, it's currently home to Fundación Casa de los Tres Mundos, hosting art exhibitions, poetry readings and other cultural events.

Head one block east on Calle El Arsenal to check out the awesome facade of Convento y Museo San Francisco, best captured on film close to sunset. Don't miss out on seeing the priceless statuary in the cloisters. From here, head south on Calle Cervantes until you get to Calle La Calzada. Heading towards the lake, you'll pass Capilla del Sagrado Corazón, originally built as a fort.

Head back to Parque Central, where you can stop for a snack, a break and a spot of people watching on a shady park bench. From here, proceed west along Calle Real Xalteva, which once connected the Spanish town of Granada to its much older indigenous neighbor, Xalteva. Four blocks west of the Parque Central, you’ll pass Iglesia La Merced, considered the most beautiful of Granada’s churches.

The old indigenous neighborhood, now wholly assimilated, is marked by Iglesia de Xalteva, the attractive 19th-century church that houses La Virgen de la Asunción.