Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve surrounds a clear blue, 48 square kilometer, thermally vented lake inside the crater of the Apoyo Volcano. Laguna de Apoyo was declared a nature reserve in 1991 and is managed by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA).
It is believe that the crater of Apoyo was formed about 23,000 years ago. The accepted theory as to how the crater was formed is that a large volcanic explosion left a crated 6 kilometers wide. As time pasted, subterranean water and rain filled the crater and the slopes became overgrown with vegetation. Apoyo is considered to be a sleeping volcano, similar to Yellowstone National Park in the USA. As such, there is some volcanic activity present in the form of hot springs.
The Apoyo lake has a surface area of 2,110 hectares and it is very deep. Although the lagoon itself is 75 meters above sea level, the deepest point of the conic hole is 100 meters beneath sea level. That’s a 574 feet deep hole for anyone using the Imperial system of measurements. The water is the cleanest of all fresh water bodies in Nicaragua, possibly in all of Central America.
Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve houses a tropical dry forest ecosystem. The flora within the protected area consists of over 500 species of plants and trees, such as pochote, hogplum, black rosewood, mahogany and guacuco, as well as numerous varieties of orchids. Wildlife living withing the reserve consists of variegated squirrels, anteaters, pacas, opossums, jaguarundis, as well as howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys. There is also reptiles, such as green iguanas and common boas. The reserve is home to some 230 species of birds as well, including oropendolas, falcons, hummingbirds, and 65 species of migratory birds. As for insects, 250 species of butterflies have been recorded. The lake itself contains a variety of fish species.
Laguna de Apoyo’s dark sand beaches and clear water is ideal for swimming, kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, bird watching, paragliding, boating, of just enjoying being immersed in nature. Without question, Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve is one of Nicaragua’s most beautiful natural wonders, and a must visit destination for anyone traveling through the country.
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