Swimmin´ in the Volcano

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Oasis - where a German guy hasnt showered in 9 days. He stinks!

Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

There is one thing that everyone needs to check of their "things to do during life" list: swim in a volcano lake.

Done that, been there...and it was a nice and relaxing day!

The Laguna de Apoyo is a few kilometres away from Granada going towards Managua. There are plenty of organised trips for gringos leaving from the hostels ($4 per head return ticket), but we decided to make it a bit more local and took the normal bus from the market towards Managua ($1 per person).

The bus dropped us off on the main road next to a sign of Laguna de Apoyo, and off we started on our trek towards the lake. All the way is paved and there is some shade from the trees, but as we started at 10 am it was pretty well damming boiling to the point we started to think of hitching a hike from one of the buses passing by.

However, we persevered and continued our walk upwards for about 2 kms. There we reached an entry sign to the national park, and a very gratifying view of the lake from the top. From then onwards it was just another 3 kms downwards to a kiosk where we had to decide where to turn (left or right...)

We really did not regret making the effort of the trek and avoiding the bus ride, as after km 3 the forrest became full of all sorts of birdlife. It was a wonderful walk (and free!).

Why not continue straight? We did so and we regretted it as it was a local house (and the local beach). Not only was the place dirty with rubbish, as we expected it to be, but we crossed a horse which was obviously suffering lying down and dying. We spoke with the local guys that owned the horse and they insisted it was only sleeping...but believe us, it was going to its eternal sleep.

We left this place and took the right road. After a few small local village houses we arrived at a path that took us directly to the lake. There was an old man there which offered us to relax on the beach and grass (excellent grass there) for $1 US each...which is nothing given that most of the gringo places charge $7 US to sit around in their beaches.

Not only did we enjoy the lake (to ourselves in that area), and could sleep a siesta under the shade of a large tree and fresh grass, but about 10 metres away from where we were lying suddenly the tree branches started moving around, and a group of howler monkeys started moving around and entertaining our lunch.

No one else appeared in the whole day apart from 2 local gardeners with whom we chatted while we looked at the howler monkeys. It was the second time in our trip when we received bad comments about the current government and the sandinista FSLN party. Their view was that the area had become much poorer and there was more unemployment since Comandante Ortega came back to power. They have a feeling that with Adolfo Aleman there was a lot of corruption but at least things were been done, while now everything was just been kept by the sandinistas.

Back to Granada on the local bus and dinner at a place called Casa Mamatere (next to Parque Central) which specialises in chicken dishes. For $10 we had probably the best dinner all this week (apart from the camarones in El Castillo). The place is hidden away, but inside it is a colonial spanish patio with little gardens all over. Much better than the new commercial street which has great restaurants but is very much tourist orientated.

Now in the hostel suffering 4 spanish girls that have just arrived and are totally sloshed with rum and shouting their heads off and trying to speak english with other guests. It is just ripping our ears apart...Veronika is already practising her classic "porque not te callas" which she used once before in Torres del Paine (Chile).
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