The adventures to be enjoyed in Nicaragua are too numerous to list. These are a few of the most popular enjoyed by our guests. The Reception Desk will happily make arrangements for any of these or other side trips that you may desire.
Hiking through the tropical dry forest of the Laguna Apoyo Nature Preserve is one of the most popular things to do in Nicaragua for the young at heart. Specially trained guides can be provided to lead you through this world of exotic birds and animals. For your efforts, you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable memories to share with friends and family.
The Laguna provides a rate opportunity to explore volcanic caves populate by five species of fish found nowhere else in the world. A dive school located a short walk from the Resort provides lessons by PADI approved instructors, equipment, and guides to reveal the secrets of this deepest lake in Central America. This is a unique diving experience rarely found in the world. Don’t miss it.
Paddle boats, paddle boards and kayaks are available at the Resort’s shore, the longest beach on the volcanic caldera of Laguna Apoyo. No power boats or jet skis are allowed in the lake. Because of the consistently warm 84 degree water, swimmers can comfortably spend hours in the lake or on the floating dock a short swim from the pier. The lusty winds of January and February provide thrills to wind surfers who bring their own equipment.
Lake Nicaragua, a few miles away from Apoyo Resort, is the largest lake in Central America, and is larger than Lake Erie in the Great Lakes. Fishing charters provide the thrill of catching a variety of fighting fish, including the world’s only fresh water shark, Guapote and Bass, while you enjoy the relaxed atmosphere here and sip an ice-cold Tona, a local beer.
Put away your guidebooks and take a ride into the heartland of Nicaragua. Ride through Nicaragua’s historical towns and learn about its rich history and folklore. Continue on and enjoy the beautiful countryside and along the rim of an extinct volcano and see a spectacular view of the Laguna de Apoyo, one of the true gems of this country. Along the way, you will be greeted by children’s squeals of delight and a welcomed by “buenas dias” or “bienvenido” from the local natives. Another adventure of a lifetime beckons.
If you yearn for adventure, then Volcano Boarding should be on your bucket list. You’ll have earned the greatest of bragging rights when, at your next cocktail party, you describe to your awed guests the beauty of this dormant volcano with steam rising from the ash covered slopes. After hiking to the top, you’ll rocket down the slope of the volcano on specially designed sleds and boards, providing a heart pounding experience and a lifetime of memories. Tours to this volcano can be arranged at the Reception Desk with sufficient notice.
A boat tour of one or two hours durations to the little islands easily accessed from Granada’s lakefront park will introduce you to aquatic birds in a world ten degrees cooler than the mainland. The islands were formed when a massive explosion of the adjacent Mombacho Volcano (now a National Park) deposited its volcanic boulders into 365 isletas. These islands are inhabited by the entire spectrum of Nicaraguan society, from humble fishermen who have lived on these islands for thousands of years, to the wealthiest of Nicaraguan families who enjoy their vacation homes. Visit the small fortress was built by the Spanish after the sack of Granada by the English pirate, Henry Morgan, to warn the Granadinos of the approach of any future pirate attacks. You can arrange with your boatman to stop for lunch at one of the restaurants located on the islands. A full day in an ecology delightfully different than the mainland. This is the most popular of tourist attractions in Granada.
About a 30 minute drive from Apoyo Resort, you will find one of Nicaragua’s most active volcanoes. The Masaya Volcano complex is the only active volcano in the world where the visitor can drive up to the edge of the crater. Also in the Volcan Masaya National Park is a superb museum of volcanology. Many visitors will enjoy a fantastic ranger led night tour, where they visit lava tubes and bat caves.
In contrast to most other volcanoes in subduction zones, the volcano has been erupting mainly fluid basaltic lava. At the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, it contained an active lava lake and it is reported that there were attempts to extract the volcano’s molten “gold.” And into which virgins were hurled to satisfy the gods
Masaya is a complex consisting of a 6×11.5 km large caldera with steep, up to 300 m high walls, and a group of young cones at the NW end including Nindirí and Masaya volcano proper. There are multiple summit craters including the currently active Santiago crater, the site of the current activity.
The Masaya complex is the successor of the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano which collapsed into the caldera following a series of Plinian eruptions over the past 6-7000 years. Parts of the caldera are filled with a lake.
Young activity from the Masaya complex occurred from more than a dozen vents in a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. It built the twin volcanoes of Nindirí and Masaya, the source of historical eruptions, at the southern end of the fracture system.
A major basaltic plinian tephra was erupted from Masaya about 6500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and have confined a lake to the far eastern end of the caldera. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption over-topped the north caldera rim.
Another nearby attraction is Lake Nicaragua, which is the largest of several freshwater lakes in southwestern Nicaragua and the dominant physical feature of the country. It is also the largest lake in Central America and one of the largest in the entire world. Its indigenous name is Cocibolca, and the Spanish called it Mar Dulce—both terms meaning “sweet sea.” Its present name is said to have been derived from that of Nicarao, an Indian chief whose people lived on the lake’s shores.
There are more than 400 islands in the lake, 300 of which are within 5 miles (8 km) of the city of Granada on the northwest shore. Most of the islands are covered with a rich growth of vegetation, which includes tropical fruit trees. Some of the islands are inhabited.
The 365 isletas adjacent to Granada and the array of aquatic birds inhabiting the islands can be easily visited with a 2 hour leisurely boat rides embarking from Granada’s lakeshore park. Kayaks tours are also available as are renting kayaks and exploring on your own.
Oval in shape, with an area of 3,149 square miles (8,157 square km), the lake is 110 miles (177 km) in length and has an average width of 36 miles (58 km). It is about 60 feet (18 metres) deep in the centre, and its waters reach a depth of 200 feet (60 metres) to the southeast of its largest island, Ometepe.
It is believed that Lake Nicaragua, together with Lake Managua to the northwest, originally formed part of an ocean bay that, as a result of volcanic eruption, became an inland basin containing the two lakes, which are linked by the Tipitapa River. The ocean fish thus trapped adapted themselves as the salt water gradually turned fresh. Lake Nicaragua is the only freshwater lake containing oceanic animal life, including sharks, swordfish, and tarpon.
More than 40 rivers drain into the lake, the largest being the Tipitapa River. The San Juan River drains out of the lake, following a 112-mile (180-km) course that runs from the southeastern shore of the lake through a densely forested region to empty into the Caribbean Sea. For part of its course, the San Juan forms the boundary between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. To the southwest, the lake is separated from the Pacific Ocean by a narrow land corridor, the Rivas Isthmus, which is 12 miles (19 km) wide.
Since the end of Spanish rule in 1821, Lake Nicaragua has been a transit zone between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean. The route via the Rio San Juan, across the Lake, and then across the Rivas Peninsula to the town of San Juan del Sur was utilized by Corneillius Vanderbilt in the 1850s to transport fortune seekers to the gold fields in California and from San Francisco back to the east coast of the USA. Among those travelers was Mark Twain and William Tecumseh Sherman. The same route was once considered by the U.S. Congress as a route for the transoceanic canal and is still being considered for such by the current Nicaraguan Government.
Guests of Apoyo Resort are fortunate to be a short 20 minute ride from the most popular city in Nicaragua, the colonial city of Granada. This nearly 500-year-old city drips with photogenic elegance, a picture postcard at every turn.
There are so many opportunities for the visitor and avenues to explore. Restaurants with traditional, Italian and American cuisine abound. Many restaurants offer outside seating on the a street known as the Calzada, where you are immersed in parades and colorful street life. Museums, horse drawn carriages, the old restored cathedral, visiting vendors selling beautiful, handmade jewelry and kayaking or hiring a boat in nearby Lake Nicaragua and it’s fascinating isletas are other popular pastimes. Then, when you are tired of the crowds and bustle of this fun city, it’s back to your quite, peaceful resort, just minutes away.
It was named by Hernández de Córdoba after the ancient Spanish city of Granada. This was done in honor of the defeat of the last Moorish stronghold, which had been Spanish Granada, by the Catholic King and Queen of Spain. Granada, Nicaragua was historically the sister capital in Central America to Antigua, Guatemala. During the colonial period, Granada maintained a flourishing level of commerce with ports on the Atlantic Ocean, through Lake Nicaragua (also known as Cocibolca) and the San Juan River.
The city has been witness and victim to many of the battles with and invasions from English, French and Dutch pirates trying to take control of Nicaragua. Granada was twice sacked by the infamous English pirate, Henry Morgan, who entered from the Caribbean via the Rio San Juan. In 1858 it was sacked and burned by William Walker, the American “filibustero” who tried to take over the entire country and make it a slave state.
Granada has long been a centre of commerce, including timber, gold and silver. Granada’s economy continues to grow as it is becoming the national tourism hub. Though Granada remains Nicaragua’s sixth largest city, it is widely known for preserving some of the finest colonial-era architecture in the country. A real estate boom had been under way for several years, with many European and Americans purchasing and renovating the area’s homes for retirement or holiday getaways.
The hillside pueblo Catarina is mainly known for the viewpoint Mirador de Catarina, a cliffside walkway at the rim of the crater lake of Laguna de Apoyo. It is also known for its viveros (nurseries) that supply ornamental plants for households across Nicaragua.
Catarina is lined with restaurants and a few souvenir shops where you can buy some locally produced handicrafts, such as pottery and yard ornaments.
Mirador de Catarina is one of the highest hills surrounding the Laguna de Apoyo, with one of the best panoramic views in Nicaragua. You will be standing on the edge of a vast volcanic crater overlooking the Laguna de Apoyo nestled in the forest below. From this viewpoint, you will also see in the distance the city of Granada, Lake Nicaragua and its 365 Isletas, Mombacho Volcano National Park to the South, and on a clear day the twin volcanic peaks of Ometepe. Truly breath-taking!
The viewpoint is a popular attraction, and a favorite place for locals and tourists during weekends, when many gather here to enjoy the view, grab a bite in one of the restaurants or have a look through the telescope. Local Nicaraguans proudly display their well-groomed horses and offer trail rides for a very low price. It is said to have been young Agusto Sandino’s favorite place to ponder decisions.