Iglesia La Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

La Merced at Sunset

La Merced tickets

Pay to climb the bell tower at the staffed gift-display case at the tower base inside the church. The cost in Feb 2013 is 20 cordobas or 1 USD.  You’ll be issued a ticket/receipt – mine just happen to look different from one visit to the next.

Granada is a colourful and vibrant city but there aren’t many places to get a sweeping view since the buildings aren’t very tall.  As far as I can tell, the two places for a view are (1) La Pólvora/Xalteva and (2) La Merced.  I never made it inside la Pólvora, so I’m still not sure where the viewpoint is, but I did make it inside la Merced church and I would definitely recommend the trip up the bell tower to any visitor to Granada.  I liked it so much I went up twice!

The bell tower is open approxiately 10am to 6pm.  The first time I visited a little after 10am.  The climb up the tower is short but 1/2 the steps are a tight slightly-dizzying spiral staircase without even enough space to pass someone.  Once upstairs, there isn’t exactly room to hang out, but the area is large enough to find some personal space and you’ll be able to walk along all four sides of the wraparound balcony.

My first visit was nice, but when I happened to pass by a few days later, I realized that a sunset visit is the way to go.  It wasn’t any more busy at sunset then my daytime visit and the quickly changing sky is always a sight to behold.  I missed it but the bells are rung at 5pm.  If you have the time/patience, give yourself a full hour up there and you’ll be able to watch the bells rung and the sunset.

La Merced Sunset Friday

The time on the church tower was 15 minutes early during my visit. I have no idea why this is/was the case, just don’t set your watch by it!

If you’re interested in learning more about Iglesia la Merced in Granada, read up at Moon, Lonely Planet, or ViaNica.

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