It was difficult, as I lay floating in the crystal blue water, to imagine such a violent event had created such a peaceful place. I came to Laguna de Apoyo after my first week of work with La Esperanza Granada, and I was exhausted. But I learned long ago that the best remedy to my fatigue is a dip in a clean body of water. And so here I was.
Twenty three thousand years ago a volcanic eruption here left a crater six kilometers across. Over time the crater filled with water from rain and natural subterranean aqueducts. Today the walls of the crater are covered in dense greenery, and the water is astonishingly clear and thermally vented. At two hundred meters deep, the bottom of the lagoon is the lowest point in Central America.
We took a taxi from the center of Granada straight to our hostel at Laguna de Apoyo for less than US$3 per person. Hostel Paradiso lives up to its name, with a beachfront bar, two lovely eating areas, cozy private rooms, and a clean, airy dorm with crisp white sheets and a view of the lagoon. Paradise indeed.
While that first swim was the most necessary, the wind had kicked up some impressive waves on the water, and I retreated to a comfortable chair on the beach to enjoy a beer in the sun. Around eleven at night four of us decided to swim out to a floating dock anchored by our hostel in the lagoon. The night was so quiet and the water so calm that I nearly fell asleep as I laid my head back into the warm water. I collapsed on my bed with damp hair and a silly smile, only to wake up in the morning to a lagoon so still its surface seemed to be made of glass. What else could I do but swim back out to the dock? There I sat facing away from the beach pretending that the entire blue crater was all mine.
The day went by lazily as I moved from floating to swimming to lying on the dock to floating again. Then it was time to squeeze our large group into a small van and head back to Granada.
The best part? The entire excursion – including accommodation, 2 days worth of food, drink, and transportion – cost less than US$25 – an expensive weekend by Nica standards.