Iglesia de la Merced | Granada

Behind the run-down facade of Iglesia de la Merced is one of the most important churches in Granada. And its clock tower offers the best view of the city.
Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua
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When I first saw the crumbling facade, it reminded me of some of the earthquake ruins in Antigua, Guatemala.

But behind the facade is a living, breathing church, and one of the most important in Granada.

It’s located about three blocks west of Parque Central and dates to 1539. But, along with many of Granada’s landmarks, it has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times in the centuries since. The current facade, looking in need of some repairs, dates to the 1780s. More damage in the 1850s led to the interior being rebuilt in 1862.

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Stained Glass Window at Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Stained Glass Window at Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Altar at Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

The Clock Tower

A highlight of Iglesia de la Merced is its bell tower. You can climb to the top, where you’ll get 360-degree views over the rooftops of Granada. To the east is the Cathedral of Granada and Lago Nicaragua. To the south is Mombacho Volcano. In all directions are the tiled rooftops of the city.

As you go up you come across the exposed ropes for the church bells. Nearby are signs, in several languages, asking visitors quite emphatically not to ring the bells, a sure sign than mischievous tourists have done just that.

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

View from the Clock Tower at Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Bell Tower at Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

View from the Clock Tower at Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Bell Tower at Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Mombacho Volcano, Granada, Nicaragua

View from the Clock Tower at Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

What to Know Before You Go

  • There’s no entrance fee to the church itself. Tickets to climb the bell tower are $1 (or whatever the equivalent in cordobas is at the current exchange rate). Buy tickets from the counter just inside the door at the base of the tower.
  • The clock tower closes at 5:30 PM.
  • The climb is short but very steep, up a tight spiral staircase.

Where to Next?



Travel Advice for Nicaragua

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Nicaragua (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Nicaragua here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Nicaragua here.

Guidebooks for Nicaragua

If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Nicaragua. Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.

Lonely Planet Nicaragua 5 (Country Guide)
  • Kaminski, Anna (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Lonely Planet Nicaragua (Country Guide)
78 Reviews
Lonely Planet Nicaragua (Country Guide)
  • Lonely Planet Nicaragua
  • Lonely Planet (Author)
The Surfer's Guide to Costa Rica & SW Nicaragua
  • Surfers guide book to traveling in Costa Rica
  • Offers plenty of helpful hints

Travel Insurance For Your Trip to Nicaragua

I never travel without travel insurance, and I've run into several situations where I've had to make claims. I consider it essential.

But shopping for travel insurance can be a pain and confusing. Thankfully, there are some travel insurance comparison sites that show you a wide range of plans, make it easy to compare coverage, and can save you money at the same time. And the coverage can be much better tailored to your specific needs than the checkbox offering at travel booking sites or through your credit card.

These are some good places to shop for travel insurance for your next trip to Nicaragua :

Hopefully, you won't need it, but if something goes wrong, you'll sure be glad you have it!

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