Laguna de Apoyo

Ever since we arrived in Granada, we heard how great the Laguna de Apoyo was. Beautiful, clear, refreshing water inside of a volcanic crater. So we decided to head there on Sunday. Though its a thirty minute drive away, any tour agency in town would take us there for a song (~$10). Here’s the problem: first, that was too easy for us and second, its funny how your concept of cheap and expensive changes.

Instead, we decided to take the shuttle from another hotel for less. Arriving there, we learned there was no shuttle this time of year, but they did inform us that an express bus left for there from the shuttle stand two blocks away. We rushed over as we only had a few minutes (or so we thought), only to find out this also did not exist. Instead, they could drop us off at the turn off of the highway, still an hour long walk away from the laguna. We decided this would not only be fine, it would be a great way to work up to a nice dip in the water. So off we went. We ignored the taxis waiting at the turn off offering to whisk us down to the laguna and started walking. We passed community after community, house after house, church after church, all in services on a Sunday morning. At every fork in the road (of which there were more than the map ever indicated), a handful of highly helpful people loitered, always with a smile and a point in the right direction. Its like they knew where we were headed or something.

But after an hour, we were still climbing and no laguna looked remotely in site. The sun was beating down, we had almost exhausted the water we brought, and we had heard the way down to the laguna was farther than the distance up. At this point, the whole walking thing started to seem like a bad idea.

But right about then, we crested a hill and there it was. A gorgeous vista out over the crater of a volcano, with a shimmering lake waiting for us hundreds of feet below. Granted, we still had a long way down to go, but all my thoughts of how loco we were vanished. We bounded down the hill with a spring in our step and headed to our original destination, having heard the private beaches were the best.

Unfortunately, Crater’s Edge had a small sign outside their hotel indicating they were closed for the entire month. Undeterred, we walked nearby to the Monkey Hut, took one look and decided this hostel was too touristy for our taste. And they wanted $6 for the privilege of hanging out (to be fair, for that you got to use their inner tubes and kayaks). Besides, they had no restaurant where we could get food.

So we walked down to the public beach. We parked ourselves at one of five identical looking beachfront restaurants, passing the afternoon in comfort with the locals. The water was clear and refreshing. Kids came over to take our pictures, we made friends with a group of small children playing in their underwear with floaties made of two liter coke bottles and watched a pair of teens do some serious making out nearby. I’m pretty sure none of this would’ve happened at our friendly hostel.

Our version of taking it easy on the way back was to take the hour late bus back out of the laguna, then hop another bus back to Granada. I don’t know why exactly we have this aversion to the simple way of doing things, but it does always lead to the “interesting” way instead. It would’ve been a much different day if we had just taken a taxi or tourist bus.