Most people hit San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua for the surf, but this spot has the feel of paradise at a low cost with clean hostels to stay the night.

30 minutes from Managua and 20 minutes from Granada, Laguna de Apoyo is a Nature Reserve in a volcano that imploded on itself, filling with water. As a result, it has turned into a thermally vented, clean lake made for swimming, kayaking, tubing, or just plain ol' relaxing.

I recommend staying at The Monkey Hut, a hostel right on the water in the Nature Reserve. The name comes from the Howler monkeys that inhabit the area. Try not to be alarmed at their howls in the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning. When you hear them for the first time it can be a little unnerving. The Monkey Hut itself serves as an affordable, clean place to hang out, with a few small restaurants to eat at nearby. The pizza place, if it's still there, was surprisingly good given its location.

You can get to Laguna de Apoyo by car, bus, taxi, or shuttle. There aren't any stores near the lake, so make sure you get everything you think you'll need before you reach the destination.

Directions from 3 main spots in Nicaragua:

From Masaya: Get to the Masaya-Granada Highway (carretera) heading towards Granada. At the 37 1/2 Kilometer mark, turn right into the entrance of the Laguna De Apoyo – it will be an uphill paved road. Follow the directions below from the entrance to get to the water.

From Granada: Get on the Masaya-Granada Highway (carretera) heading towards Masaya and Managua. At the 37 1/2 Kilometer mark, turn right into the entrance of the Laguna De Apoyo – it will be an uphill paved road. Follow the directions below from the entrance to get to the water.

From Managua: If you are in Managua then you need to get to the Masaya – Granada Highway (sometimes called Carretera Masaya), and head southeast towards Masaya. Stay on the Highway past Masaya and follow directions from Masaya above.

Pack List

  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen
  • Anything you'd typically bring for a day at the lake or the beach
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Activities Stand Up Paddle, Kiteboarding, Chillin, Photography, Kayaking, Swimming, Diving
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

The Best

Spent a day here with a mission team and we had a ball. The docs we jumped off of were wonderful! Even on a rainy cloudy day the view was amazing on the way up the mountain. The water was warm and the food was great. The drive was somewhat of a beast (we were on a school bus) but it was as to be expected. The resort was not crowded at all. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a day trip out of Managua.

What a Spot!

This Lagoon is absolutely amazing spot for the adventurer who just wants to relax, and drink a beer (or coke!) or swim and explore! Near many volcanos, this Lagoon is inside a volcano itself! The water was quite nice and the food was good. The hike back out is difficult, make sure you have the bus times or you will be paying for an expensive ride back up.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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