Nicaragua's Thermally Volcanic Crater | Mukul, by Auberge
Upon arrival to Nicaragua, you’ll quickly notice this Central American country does things a bit differently. You’re greeted with warm, smiling locals, and the heat of the sun blankets your skin, immediately releasing stress and tension from your travels. An attention to a healthy lifestyle is at every turn, from the plentiful fruits and vegetables widely available in the country to the coffee and fish (known as pescado) that make up traditional Nicaraguan dishes. While the allure of beaches bordering the country from both sides lures travelers to the country’s edges, the interior is a not-to-miss destination for a greater understanding of Nicaragua’s history, customs, and hidden natural areas only locals know.
Many travelers first begin their foray into Nicaraguan life in Granada, the colonial capital of the country and home to a city full of colorful façades and historic mansions. While you could easily stay in Granada for days on end, there’s a secret that lurks between the colonial city and the neighboring town of Masaya. Believed to be formed nearly 23,000 years ago due to Volcán Apoyo’s implosion, Laguna de Apoyo sits between a chain of volcanos along Nicaragua’s volcanic mountain belt, with Volcán Mombacho to the south and Volcán Masaya to the north. After the volcano imploded centuries ago, the crater filled with rain and subterranean water, giving the crater its celebrated thermal temperature. From all sides, the crater is surrounded by towering peaks, and in its center, the crater’s lake is over 650 feet deep, making it the deepest point in all of Central America.
The sparkling, blue lagoon is a sight within itself, but to truly feel the effects of the water, you must dive in: Providing thermal temperatures 365 days of the year, Laguna de Apoyo is Nicaragua’s natural spa and sanctuary. The body of water forms into a heated amphitheater that rivals any other outdoor experience in Nicaragua. We've collected a few of our favorite photos shared over instagram of this natural beauty.
For those who wish to get active, explore the lagoon by kayaking, swimming, or paddle boarding in its tranquil waters. Four oceanfront restaurants line the small beach on the lagoon, and most of them provide necessary equipment on the ready to rent – you can easily waste away a blissful afternoon swimming to all sides of the lagoon. For sun bathers, opt to lounge on a beach chair and enjoy fresh ceviche, local beer varieties or a sweet cocktail served at the beachside restaurants.
It’s true that there are other thermal waters in Nicaragua, but none as beautiful and beckoning as Laguna de Apoyo. The ease of transport to reach the thermal pool is also compelling, as a quick trip from Granada on the Carretera Masaya road will deliver you to a day of tranquility. You can book a private car, drive yourself, or request a taxi to the lagoon.
During your next trip to Nicaragua, don’t pass up the chance to discover Laguna de Apoyo, the leading natural wonder of Nicaragua. If you make it to these majestic waters, use the hashtag #OnlyNica so we can see Laguna de Apoyo through your eyes.