Our next stop was INSIDE a volcano. One that had been extinct for a long time of course… Laguna Apoyo is a large lake which was created when the Apoyo volcano imploded about 20,000 years ago and the crater filled up with water. It’s now protected as a natural reserve and you can swim and kayak in the lake which is 200 metres deep in the middle, making it the lowest point in Central America and thermally heated to 27 degrees. The best news of all – no bull sharks!
We had booked to stay a few nights at a place called The Monkey Hut right by the lagoon. Although Ometepe where we stayed last week was super relaxed this was even more so – very small and quiet. It felt like we were on a retreat! Not bad for $50! Our room was super nice & comfy compared to anywhere else we’ve stayed for quite a while. It had a little terrace overlooking the lake and sitting outside enjoying the view and a cold beer that first afternoon followed by a tasty pizza was the best. We just didn’t want for anything else!!
Up on top of the rim there is a small town called Catarina with a view over the whole crater, the town of Granada and the Mombacho volcano. We decided to explore the area on foot and walk up the inside of the crater to get there. It’s a 2 hour hike, including a one hour steep climb (which at times turned into a scramble) on a path that mostly runs through a ravine.
About 3/4 of the way up we came across some rocks depicting what looks like Mayan carvings. As far as we’ve been able to find out they are original indigenous petroglyphs (stone carvings) but not much info is available. Anyway we made it to the top gasping for air and desperate for a cold drink!
And then we took a tuk tuk back down.
On the last morning Monkey Hut lived up to its name. We saw a group of 10 Howler monkeys including 3 ‘children’ moving along the tree tops. This is the biggest group we have seen and they were very close to where we were standing so we got some better photos – swinging from branches just the way you expect them to.