“I am starting to become a bit of a volcano buff” I thought to myself with a smirk, as I packed up my day pack in the hostel in Granada, Nicaragua to head towards Laguna de Apoyo. By volcano buff, I meant, not a volcano buff at all, however, I knew that Central America boasted a very high ratio of volcanoes to surface area, and whilst in Guatemala, the hike outside of Antigua, was up an active volcano, in Leon, Nicaragua we boarding down the side of a volcano, today, I was visiting something completely different. A freshwater lake, INSIDE a volcano. The trifecta!
I hopped on the same bus that zipped me out to Coyotepe Prison the day before, and notified the bus driver where I wanted to go and he pulled over, and in the neutral, flat lined manner that Nicaraguans have, he simply turned and pointing at me, not saying a word, no facial expression, notifying me that this was my stop. The next multicoloured party bus rolled by the corner shortly after and I jumped in to go up the hill towards the volcano lake of Laguna de Apoyo.
Expecting that the bus would actually take me somewhat close to the base of the volcano, I was surprised when, again, in the expressionless, emotionless way, the driver explained to me that this was as far as the busses go and the remaining distance to the lake, the bus did not go. “Can’t be that far” I thought to myself as I stepped out and walked towards the sign deonitng “Laguna de Apoyo.” Passing the sign, seeing the road down I then contradictingly thought to myself, “Yes, it can be that far.” My Havaiana sandals that had treated me so well, for so many years, had a few kilometers of life stripped from them on that walk down the hill.
At certain points, the tree coverage would open allowing a gorgeous view through directly down to the volcano crater and lake inside, reminding you that this was a small price to pay for a reward as unique as this. Upon reaching the bottom, there are many “beach clubs” or hotels that have access to the water, and allow you, upon a small entry charge to use their property, toys and chairs to enjoy the lake, even if you are not staying there. One of the first ones I encountered offered a beautiful, secluded little sandy area, some floaties, and a dock to swim out to.
Having lived on the Riviera Maya of Mexico, and visited countless fresh water cenotes there, that the Mayan people believed harboured “special water”, you would probably believe them if they were saying that about Laguna de Apoyo. What a special place. The water was not only some of the clearest lake water I have ever seen, it was some of the warmest. The light bounced off the surface when you were swimming and shone right through it when you looked down upon it. Different shades of blue, grey mixed with the transparency of the water to give it this incredible effect on your eyes. Look up, and see the continuous ridge of the almost perfect circle encompassing your whole view.
I swam around for awhile, and out to the dock that sat 80 meters away and laid on my back to feel the warm Nicaragua sun. I started to think to myself, what an incredible place.
Like in the beginning or end to a movie, if you had a telescope zoomed in on me, that zoomed out, and out, and out in increments, it would show simply a guy, on a dock. Then a guy on a dock in a circular lake. Then as it zoomed out farther, that guy on a dock, is in a lake, inside a volcano. Zoom out more, and that guy, on the dock, in the lake, that’s in a volcano, is in the middle of Central America. It was at that moment that even though there was civilization here, it is a relatively touristy place, there were other tourists I feel so completely alone and isolated, in the best sense of the words.
An incredible send off to Granada and I definitely did, save the best for last.