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Apoyo Lodge
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Reviewed 12 December 2013 via mobile

Located deep in the lush Nicaraguan jungle that surrounds a lake that has formed over the many years in a dormant volcano, it's not difficult to understand why this place is so peaceful and relaxing.

This was the final stop on a yoga retreat that I was on. There is a large platform that allows you to do your practice outside and under the sun. Sasha, a warm, friendly and kind spirited woman, also offers to teach lessons.

If yoga surrounded by green foliage and nature sounds isn't peaceful enough, a swim in the lake will send you into pure bliss. Some of the clearest water I have ever seen, and some of the warmest I have had the pleasure of dipping my toes into.

Shamus and Sasha kindly prepared our meals for us. Our first night they stuffed us with home made pizza made in a stone oven and the second evening we had fajita's. All vegetarian with the freshest ingredients made from the heart.

These two put in good effort to make you feel like you are at your home away from home. Or maybe even like staying at your parents who lavish you with good food.

I also want to toss in the adorably friendly dogs that roam around and their most recent editions, two adorable kittens.

If your looking to escape the city craze, get back in touch with nature and be around some positive loving people I couldn't recommend a more perfect place.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
Thank Kelly S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2013

Just back from 10 days at Apoyo Lodge- would have written sooner but we came home to a 4 day snow storm and it took another day or two for the anti-depression meds to kick in. We are a couple in early 50’s, closing in on mid-fifties I guess pretty quickly, and I am definitely at the age where I can say: Love Canada, &%#* winter. I also think I am starting to love Nicaragua. This was my second trip, first for my wife, and we loved it. I was in and out in 5 days a couple years ago, whereas this trip we had almost 2 weeks, minus a couple of long days traveling and really getting to know the Ft Lauderdale airport. Nicaragua is a beautiful country and I can see why kids have been backpacking here for a couple decades. Now, the older crowd is starting to catch on; we saw quite a few ex-pats our age wandering around in Granada and a few more turista’s like us with sunburns and nice hats.

Apoyo Lodge at Laguna De Apoyo is a must-visit. I’d recommend starting your trip there and do whatever afterward. Apoyo Lodge is a very special place and while you unwind you can chat with the owners, Shamus and Sasha, who will be able to steer you toward whatever else you are interested in. SS have been living in Nica for years now and they know the ropes pretty good. You may be interested in yoga and vegan bean-burgers, or maybe you’re into red meat and zip-lining adventures, or maybe you just want to drink rum and sleep a lot- either way they will probably know a guy (or be the guy.) You can email them before you head down as well, if you are the planny type

They definitely know a guy for scuba diving in the lake. Scuba divers have got to go to here and try this at least once before they hang up their fins. I’ve been diving for 20 years as a resort diver, i.e. going once a winter while at an all-inclusive somewhere, and then diving with some certification and more frequently for about 5 years now- going to Tobermory in Ontario and a bunch a different places around the Caribbean- Cuba, Cozumel, Antigua, etc. Diving in the Laguna was seriously fun- challenging, exhilarating and rewarding. Most divers will understand the experience of being elated and being at peace at the same time- for me that otherworldly sensation has never been stronger than at about 75’ in the Laguna De Apoyo. People often refer to the water in the lake as the “…healing waters of Apoyo…” so maybe that was part of it. The temperature was part of it for sure; the water was 86 F and is ever so slightly salty. I was diving with no suit and needed 8 pounds in weights. There is no current and nothing stingy to bump into anyway and it was great to be able to ditch that bit of gear (and weight). The water is Caribbean clear, gas engines are not permitted, and most days you are basically alone in/on/under the water; I love Cozumel but Apoyo is a pretty nice upgrade from the daily Palancar scuba circus.

The Laguna de Apoyo is an ancient volcano crater that has filled up with water over the centuries, and the jungle has grown back in around the edges. It is a spherical formation about 5 or 6 kms across but with an undulating coastline, which rises away from the shore toward the top of the crater; so it looks like you are swimming in an alpine lake in BC except you aren’t slowly freezing to death. Under the water the crater floor continues downward at the same slope and stair-step patterns as above, so it’s easy to navigate because there is always the slope to tell you what’s where. I was down twice, and both times we finned out maybe 20 metres from the shore at Apoyo Lodge and dropped down to the bottom at about 35’. Near the shore there is some odd looking blanket of greenery that must like the sunlight and environment from 25’ to about 45’- at 45’ it cuts off like someone mowed it (I assume that’s where the sunlight spectrum is so filtered it can be sustained) and it is a volcanic sand/gravel and rock bottom from there on. There are huge piles of boulders here and there; I suspect still laying where the volcano threw them. There are some Tilapia and other fish swimming around down there (who knows how fish moved here), and they seem to like the rock piles. We saw the most life at 55’ and then again at 85’- but this could have been just where the rocks were in the section we were diving in. My dive buddy caught a fish in his bare hand which was a neat trick I had never seem before, and we found a big crab but couldn’t get a hold of him. Lots of light still at 97’, which was my max depth. You’ll need to keep a good eye on gauges as it is very easy to go quickly from 75 feet to 95 feet, for example, if you get interested in something and go fin over to look at it; the slope is always there, and the crater in immeasurably deep as you go toward the middle. I was told Jacques Cousteau had a go at finding the bottom in the 70’s and couldn’t get there. If you time your dive/air well the slope makes the home stretch fun as you can come back up to 15’ ever so slowly by just following the slope back and forth in switchbacks and have a nice time still diving instead of trying hang in the blue at 15’ waiting for your computer to tell you all is well.

The dive shop at the Laguna is a kind of sideline business I think for some folks who are down there trying to help out. They run a thing called the Peace Project, but the dive gear is good stuff and they were very professional. I had my own reg and mask and whatnot with me but no BCD. I tried to get a vest and a tank one day when I flipped the Apoyo Lodge sailboat and lost the mast in 40’ of water. They politely but firmly told me there was no way they were renting gear to some moron from Canada who thought it would be fine to go search and rescue diving with a fictitious buddy, and instead got Juan to go with me the next day. Juan is an actual person, and a great dive buddy. His English is worse than my Spanish but we found under the water that didn’t really matter much. We had a lot of fun. We did recover the mast.

You can go out diving with the guys from the Peace Project by calling ahead, usually one day. They have a website. Marshall helped set things up for me, Juan is the divemaster and I think Ken is the owner. Anyway Shamus has their number. It’s a little busier on their side of the lake though and for the same money, and only a little extra hassle driving over or back, I would strongly recommend going in from Apoyo Lodge. As I mentioned earlier there’s something special about that place, and it’s neat to dive in that kind of tranquility.

They are still finding new species of fish in the Laguna. There are some fish in the Laguna that don’t exist elsewhere on the planet, and I think the last new fish were id’d just a few years ago. I don’t think we know the half of it yet. The Laguna is old. And deep. Happy diving.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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5  Thank Paul-Ont4321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2013

I don’t even know where to begin. I found Apoyo Lodge searching for yoga in Nicaragua. After emailing with Sasha, I could tell I was in for a treat of a retreat! She customized a 2 day vegan yoga retreat for my birthday. It was memorable from beginning to end. A driver was arranged to pick us up in Granada. And while we were a little late, Donaldo our driver was welcoming and friendly. He took us as far as he could where we met Shamus who took us the rest of the way. I loved how remote we were. Farrrrr off the beaten path. we felt cut off from the world but seriously RIGHT AT HOME. Laguna de apoyo is a spectacular site. The property of Apoyo Lodge is gorgeous. Well maintained, with all the modern amenities including Wi-Fi. However, you still will enjoy ecofriendly features like composting! We were greeted with fresh coconut water straight from the tree. We took a dip in the warm waters before our first yoga session. Sasha is amazing. Her tone soothes you. Her instructions moves you. We felt great and settled into an amazing dinner. In fact, all the meals provided at Apoyo Lodge were stellar. Shamus makes amazing dressings. Ask him to hook you up with his plantain dessert! The living areas are all very comfortable and we loved all the chances to swing and enjoy the hammock life. Our balcony provided breezes at night allowing us to leave the French doors open wide to the world at large. The moon lit up our nights and the Laguna waters colored our days. Donaldo took us on a day trip out to Masaya to the market to grab some pottery. The next day, he even drove us to the ferry so we could head out to Ometepe Island. All in all a top notch place to go and stay. While we were the only 2 there at the time, I can tell its a fun places for groups. We valued the privacy and attention we received and enjoyed speaking with Shamus, Sasha and their friend Paul. I would definitely stay there again. In fact, I would just like to move in. XO until next time!!! Love, Michelle

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Michelle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2013

Myself and 7 friends made the trek from Leon to Apoyo Lodge this past weekend. We had a great time! The Lagoon was gorgeous, better than we could have imagined with crystal clear water. We rented three rooms for a very reasonable price. One of the rooms was a suite with a balcony that overlooked the entire lagoon. Very relaxing and peaceful the entire time. We swam, grilled and played games for most of the trip.

The only issues we did run into were grilling and transportation. It did take a while to get the grill started, as most of the wood was wet from the rain. We were able to grill most of our food but we had to cook the rest in the kitchen. Also, if you are planning on having Shamus pick you up from Granada you should definitely establish a time and place as technology was not on our side. We called multiple times but never got through to him and ended up taking a cab, which took us to the wrong place and then we had to hitch a ride from a local american who knew shamus. It took us much longer to get to the lodge than we had imagined but once we got there all stress was gone and we enjoyed our weekend!

I would definitely recommend this place to those looking for a weekend away. It is not, however, resort like. Be ready for a weekend of seclusion!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Rachel W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2013

Apoyo Lodge, not to be confused with Apoyo Resort, is quiet, relaxed and peaceful. If you need a minute to disconnect on a hammock or your own lanai, enjoy the view, natural sounds--this is it. The owners are laid back. It's a quaint place, so not too many travelers at a time. Rooms are comfortable, large, and with free reign of kitchen and grill, it's home away.
It is remote, so once you're there, I wouldn't recommend trying to out into neighboring towns at night. Like yoga at sunset and meditation at daybreak on a dock overlooking the lake? You will after you've had a session with Sasha. This was my first time in Nicaragua, went on a whim, by myself and so happy I did.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled solo
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Thank mahaliasolages
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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