Thinking of adding “swimming in the crater lake of a volcano” to your bucket list? If you’re in Nicaragua, you can do just that at Laguna de Apoyo! But not to worry, this volcano is extinct so you don’t have to be concerned about a natural disaster happening while your there.
Laguna de Apoyo is actually a nature reserve located just 30 min south of Managua and within easy reach of Granada. The lake was formed approximately 23, 000 years ago when the volcano imploded on itself during an eruption. Today its a beautiful clear lake measuring approximately 48 – square km. The lake is thermally heated, so its nice and warm (but refreshing) all year. This 200 m deep lake also holds some of the cleanest water in Nicaragua.
The drive down into this crater is long and steep as you literally descend into the volcano. At the bottom you’ll find some hotels and restaurants along its western shore. Because its a volcano, the ground drops off quickly into the water and only a handful of places actually have a beach (though I’ve heard they aren’t that impressive). But really, this isn’t an issue as the hotels usually have large docks that you can sun tan on and jump off right into the water.
I’ve been here twice now, both times staying at Posada Ecologica La Abuela. Last year I spent the night in one of their cute little cabins situated right in the lush, jungle surroundings.
Sometimes you can spot howler monkeys in the tree tops and you might just have a gecko as a roommate! (I found a little guy in the freezer of my mini fridge! But not to worry, it hadn’t been turned on yet and I set him free).
But you don’t have to stay here overnight to enjoy the lake! Most hotels allow guests to visit for the day for a small fee, which gives you use their facilities. Some include kayaks and other water toys as well as access to showers. You can order snacks and drinks while you relax and soak in the warm waters.
There are a few activities to take part in when visiting the Laguna. There’s a company that offers scuba diving in the crater lake and another one will take you horseback riding. There are also a few hiking trails for those wanting to impressive volcano views.
Even with all these activities, most people come here to just realx, recharge and work on their sun tan. If your ever in Nicaragua, I highly recommend making the short trip to Laguna! It really doesn’t take much time, is close by and a cheap but unique excursion.