La Bella del Mar Granada Boat Tour

Cruise Las Isletas with La Bella del Mar Boat Tours

In Nicaragua by Sheena22 Comments

Cruise the mini-archipelago of Las Isletas with La Bella del Mar – the only boat tour in Granada that lets you swim & slide… for $10.00, find out why it’s easily the best day out in Nicaragua!

La Bella del Mar Boat Tour

La Bella del Mar offers the best value boat trip from Granada. It’s just $10.00, including return transport to/from the pier, 2-3 hours on the water & a free Nicaraguan cocktail at the end of the tour – how can you beat that for an organised tour?!

Cruising Las Islestas is just one of many reasons to visit Granada, one of the top destinations in Nicaragua.

The La Bella del Mar boat tour is run my Marty McNally, a native of Toronto, Canada who has been living in Nicaragua for the past 5 years. Marty built the boat himself – as well as the impressive red transportation truck we travelled in to the marina!

La Bella del Mar truck

Travel to the marina in style on the La Bella del Mar open truck!

La Bella del Mar offers sightseeing cruises of Las Isletas between Thursday & Sunday. Tours depart at 11:00am from O’Shea’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, 1 block east of Parque Central in Granada.

Passengers are in for a treat with the truck – it’s such a fun, windowless way to travel! It’s not a long ride but along the way, you’ll pass the scenic lakeshore, lined with restaurants & bars.

Then, before you realize it, you’ll be jumping off the truck & hopping on board the La Bella del Mar boat…

La Bella del Mar boat

Introducing the fantastic La Bella del Mar!

Onboard La Bella del Mar

La Bella del Mar means The Beauty of the Sea & it really is a lovely boat – a spacious two-story pontoon, decked out in wooden furnishing & beams.

There’s plenty of space, we had about 25 people in our group but it could easily hold 50 more, with enough tables & chairs for everyone.

Food & drinks are available at the bar, at very reasonable prices:

  • Hot dog:                      C$50.00 / $1.70
  • Hamburger:                C$70.00 / $2.40
  • Nachos:                       C$100.00 / $3.40
  • Chicken Sandwich:    C$120.00 / $4.10
  • Fish Ceviche:              C$120.00 / $4.10
  • Whole Fish:                 C$250.00 / $8.50

Drinks include water, fresh juices, soft drinks, beer, rum & wine – prices from C$25.00 / $0.85 to C$90.00 / $3.00.

Las Isletas boat tour

The lovely, open lower deck on La Bella del Mar

Marty is a fantastic host. He made time to speak with each group, making sure everyone was having a good time & attended to with food & drinks.

Speaking of which, the local Nicaraguan crew also does a great job. From the captain to the cook, there are plenty of people around to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

This is a tight ship 🙂

Captain Las Isletas boat

Captain of La Bella del Mar, part of the great crew onboard

In terms of guests, we had a diverse group onboard with locals & travellers from Australia, USA, Sweden & Nicaragua. It was great moving around the boat getting to know everyone a little bit.

Music onboard keeps the good times rolling.

For the most part though, we simply enjoyed relaxing & taking in the views. Between sightseeing & blogging at DIY Travel HQ, we’ve always got something on the go, so we relished the opportunity to sit back & put our feet up… check out the views!

Las Isletas islands

Relax onboard with 360 degree views of the archipelago

Las Isletas Archipelago

La Bella del Mar takes you around the scattered little islands of Lago de Nicaragua.

There are said to be 365 islets & it’s believe that they were formed thousands of years ago, after an eruption from nearby Volcan Mombacho blew most of its cone into the lake!

You’ll see the volcano on the boat tour so it’s definitely an interesting theory…

Mombacho volcano tour

Volcan Mombacho in the clouds – did an eruption form Las Isletas?

Most of the islets on the lake are tiny & covered with vegetation but some have been developed as homes & restaurants. One of the larger islands even holds a historic Spanish fortress & the largest one, Isla Zapatera (52 sq km), has its own extinct volcano.

Keep an eye out for wildlife – we saw howler monkeys, spider monkeys, cormorants & egrets.

Apparently ospreys, kingfishers, caimans & capuchin monkeys are also commonly spotted.

Wildlife birds Granada island

Spot white egrets on Las Isletas

Swimming & Water Sliding on La Bella del Mar!

The boat ride on La Bella del Mar was very calm – the highlight of the trip was when we gently sailed into Laguna la Calera, a small lagoon at the foot of Volcan Mombacho.

Here, the anchor was dropped & we got the chance to jump – or slide – into the water!

This is what sets La Bella del Mar apart from the rest of the boat tours in Granada – not only can you go swimming but you can make the biggest entrance into the water!

Waterslide La Bella del Mar

Weeeee…. don’t just jump into the water, slide in!

How many boats have you ever seen with a waterslide?! So if you step on La Bella del Mar, you just have to step up to the challenge! It’s fast & furious & you’ll definitely make a splash!

Don’t worry if you’re the best swimmer, everyone is required to wear a life jacket in the water.

Normally it’s quite warm from the spring waters running off Mombacho volcano but when we visited, there had been a lot of rain recently. It wasn’t warm but not too cold either.

Laguna la Calera

Beautiful views at the swimming lagoon

La Bella del Mar Wrap-Up

We spent about 45 minutes at the lagoon, having it to ourselves the whole time. Then we continued our loop of the islands, making it back to the pier by around 2:00pm.

We took the red truck back to the very beginning in Granada, where one last surprise was waiting for us – a free drink at O’Shea’s Irish Bar & Restaurant!

Not just any drink but a Macua, Nicaragua’s national drink. It’s a cocktail made with white rum, guava juice & lemon.

We can see why it was a winner, it’s sweet, refreshing & delicious – the perfect way to cap off a fantastic day cruising Las Isletas with La Bella del Mar!

O'Shea's Irish Pub Macua

Try a Macua cocktail, Nicaragua’s national drink – free at the end of the boat tour!

La Bella del Mar Information

Boat Tour Price: $10.00

Where to Buy Tickets: O’Shea’s Irish Pub, El Camello restaurant or on the boat

Departures: 11:00am Thursday to Sunday at O’Shea’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Contact (Marty McNally):

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Cruise the mini-archipelago of Las Isletas with La Bella del Mar – the only boat tour in Granada that lets you swim & slide! La Bella del Mar offers the best value boat trip from Granada. It’s just $10.00, including return transport find out why it’s easily the best day out in Nicaragua! to/from the pier, 2-3 hours on the water & a free Nicaraguan cocktail at the end of the tour – how can you beat that for an organised tour?!


*** The Final Word: The $10.00 Las Isletas Granada cruise with La Bella del Mar is the best-value deal in Nicaragua! *** 

What’s been your most memorable boating experience?

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* Thank you to Marty for hosting us, we received a complimentary tour onboard La Bella del Mar – as always, all opinions are our own

Visited in December 2016


  1. I’ve been eyeing Nicaragua as one of my next destinations… The archipelago looks beautiful, must be great to go on a little cruise there 🙂 This tour seems like such a good deal. And the boat has a water slide? I’m sold! 😀

    1. Author

      In our opinion, the cruise boat option with La Bella del Mar is the best way to visit the Islets of Granada. Otherwise you get stuck having lunch on an island instead of seeing the beautiful lake.

  2. this small boat looks good. I really never seen a boat with a waterslide. It will be so enjoyable to spend some time on this kind of boat.

  3. That open truck almost looks as much fun as the boat! I went on something similar in Costa Rica, with a slide. It was loads of fun.

    1. Author

      It’s surprising how fast you go down the slide. One second you push off, and the next you are in the lake. The bus was actually torn down & rebuilt by the owner. He wanted to take advantage of the nice weather in Granada!

  4. What a wonderful and fun way to explore Granada. Love swim and slides as they add just the right amount of excitement. The boats looks wonderful and has options for all ages. The free drink at the end is done at a lot of places and excursion, but I never get tired of having it.

    1. Author

      Neither do we. We don’t usually do many tours, but we definitely recommend La Bella del Mar when visiting Las Isletas in Granada. Our favorite thing was the option to walk around during the cruise & socialize with the other guests that you couldn’t do otherwise.

  5. This looks like a great way to spend an afternoon and the price is not to beat! Love it!

  6. Looks like a world of fun waiting to be had. Our kids would totally love the slide thats on the boats. For us we would love a cocktail or two while taking the views from this pictureque region

    1. Author

      It’s a great boat for tourists of all ages. Much like you said, there is fun for adults, kids, & kids at heart. There happened to be two other Australian groups besides Sheena so you would fit right in.

  7. 10 bucks? What an amazing deal for a fun tour! I love that they’ve kept food & drink prices reasonable as well. Would love to slide down right into the water!

    1. Author

      We are glad we found La Bella del Mar when we were researching boat tours on Las Isletas de Granada. It worked out much better than expected & was a different experience.

  8. Guys, this looks epic and right up my alley! The bus and the boat, are phenomenal modes of transportation and I can’t believe Marty built them himself…but the highlight is obviously the tour! I love secluded islands and peaceful getaways and this looks like the perfect combination of both…will definitely have to try this when I make it down to Nicaragua!

    1. Author

      You definitely should. We also found out later he does a combo tour to Volcano Masaya to see lava in the crater. We are going to visit after relaxing on the Corn Islands for New Year’s. The one question that remains is what constitutes an island on the lake, especially as the water level changes over the years?

  9. This looks like an awesome trip with great value for money. I liked your detailed information and nice pictures. Haven’t been to this country before. Something for future reference. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Author

      Nicaragua is a great country to explore with a lot of unique experiences. From exploring the colonial town of Granada to driving up to peer into active Volcano Masaya to pristine Caribbean waters on the Corn Islands. There is something for everyone. Cruising around Las Isletas was a nice day outing.

  10. It is so hard to find budget friendly boat trips in this area of the world but looks like you found a gem! The scenery looks incredible too – so photogenic!

    1. Author

      It was funny, like most tall volcanoes or mountains there is a ring of clouds that develops later in the day. We saw one dark cloud that looked like it could be the peak, but we later found out the top of the volcano is not cylindrical anymore.

  11. Wow!So many and so green islands. I will love to visit here. Thanks for the tips you provide in this post, will help anyone looking to go here, to plan out all the details

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