Nicaragua may be one of Central America's largest countries but, due to its war torn past it is also one of the least visited. Maybe that's why the country and people still retain a strong culture which is disappearing fast in places other Central American.
So we felt lucky to be able to enjoy the pristine surroundings and old colonial cities of Nicaragua while they're still relatively undiscovered and unspoilt.
Hard experience, and four months travelling round Central America, taught us that our pint-sized travel companions aged two, five and eight didn't appreciate fine colonial cities as much as their parents. But Granada was so laid back, stunning and interesting that we ended up spending a very happy week there.
These are three things you shouldn't miss in Granada.
Take a tour by horse drawn carriage
The horse-drawn carriages aren't just a tourist attraction - they are still used by local families to get around the city.
Start from the stunning, shady Parque Central and stop to visit the churches with their life-sized and often gruesome statues of Jesus. Come back later to climb a bell tower for a fabulous view over Granada's tiled rooftops and a chance to dong the gigantic church bell.
The children loved climbing around the old fortress and it's easy to imagine that we're Spanish conquistadors battling to protect ourselves, our city and our treasures from blood thirsty pirates.
Take a day trip to the Lago de Apoyo
The Lago de Apoyo is stunning. The huge crater lake boasts clear, sparkling water and the resort where we spent the day loaned us pedaloes to play around in.
Jungle grows thickly all around the lake and howler monkeys roar. As clouds formed and rain started to fall our children swam while the lake took on a mystical light.
Hit the Hipica
Granada's best kept secret is the Hipica which one local described to me as a "horsey party".
It's a massive horse parade held in August each year to celebrate the the Virgin of the Assumption. People come from all over Nicaragua to be in the Hipica and I heard that some North Americans even keep horses in Nicaragua just so they can take part.
On the Saturday night there's a carnival. When I explain to the children that the fiesta is being held to celebrate the anniversary of the death of the Virgin Mary and her journey to heaven they seem bemused and I can see why. The fiesta is a bawdy affair with dancing girls, marching bands and an array of street food.
Come Sunday the sleepy city of Granada is transformed from a quiet colonial city to party central. Numerous beer tents are erected, bands are playing and speakers are blaring while a seemingly never-ending parade of horses and their riders pass by us.
On parade there are fine stallions, their manes lovingly braided and beribboned, along with horses, ponies and mules. The riders come in all shapes and sizes too: city cowboys, country cowboys and cowgirls, riding by against the backdrop of Grenada's spectacular buildings and gelato-coloured walls.
But the real heroes are the everyday campesinos the Nicaraguan country folk who've ridden to town to join the festivities.
Never mind how hard it is to travel with three young kids, Nicaragua and Granada make it all worthwhile and created some memories we'll treasure for life.
About the author: Annabel Candy is a web designer, web copywriter and travel fiend with three children, two blogs and one husband. She has British and New Zealand passports and currently lives in Australia. Annabel writes a travel blog and shares hot blogging tips at Successful Blogging.