Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nicaragua - Laguna de Apoyo

Laguna de Apoyo is said to be the most beautiful, cleanest and clearest lake in all of Nicaragua.  It is a geothermal 18-square mile lake contained inside the crater of the Apoyo Volcano.  It was such a treat to swim in a warm freshwater lake, coming from Wyoming where, as I write this in May, our mountain lakes are still rimmed in ice.

The pier at San Simian Lodge, on a Sunday when all the locals come to hang out too.
Surrounded by steep walls and lush vegetation, the laguna is part of the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve.  There are dozens of reptile species, birds, two species of monkeys, and several endemic fish species - species that are found nowhere else in the world.   The lake formed approximately 20,000 years ago when the cone of the volcano imploded. Over time the crater filled with rain and subterranean water.  They say that the bottom of the lake is the deepest point in Central America.

After dinner we swam in the lake, on a moonless night, under the stars.
The laguna is a short taxi ride away from Granada (maybe 30-40 minutes).  Happily, the area around the laguna is relatively undeveloped, surprising in that  it is not far from Granada or Managua.  We stayed at a wonderful place called San Simian Lodge.

Our daughter enjoying the scenery in the kayak.

This place was an enormous hit with the kids.  We got there, threw on our swimsuits and spent an afternoon and evening jumping off the pier and swimming and kayaking in the lake.  Then we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with a view of the lake.  Then we went back into the lake at night and swam under the stars.

Our casita, the Mango Moon, was very nice. The staff moved in an extra bed to accommodate the four of us.  The kids loved the outdoor bathroom....

Breakfast of delicious scrambled eggs, fresh cheese, tortillas and rice & beans.

Do-Over Scoop:
It would have been neat to find out where the hiking trails are around the lake and do some bird watching. Or go touring in the kayaks all the way around the lake early in the morning or late evening.  (San Simian provides the kayaks at no charge to their guests.)  Mostly, it was great just to hang out and relax as we had been on the go since we arrived in-country three days earlier. 

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and left on a Sunday afternoon, which was plenty of time to spend here.  It was pretty busy, and I don't know if it's because it was the weekend or just the time of year in general (first week of April).   We really liked San Simian Lodge and I would recommend it.

A big score was that we saw monkeys right outside of San Simian Lodge as we were taking a taxi back to Managua for our flight out to Big Corn Island.

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