After 4 days in Leon, we took a shuttle (12$US/person) towards Granada. Our next stop was the Lago de Apoyo – a lake filling the crater of one of the volcanoes. We had to get out of the shuttle on the side of the road where the highway between Masaya and Granada reaches the entrance towards Apoyo. From there, we dealt a taxi towards our hostel which was directly by the water. We stayed 2 nights in a dorm at the Hostel Paradiso. Although this is a hostel, there are a lot of private rooms and it felt almost like a little all-included resort… except nothing is included! The price was reasonable for a hostel dorm, and from there you can eat, drink, get a massage, hang out on the beach, swim in the lake, play beach volleyball, play board games at the beach restaurant, play pools, watch TV, kayak or rent a Stand up paddle board.
Kayak rentals and tubes are included and free to use, however any additional services or food/drink will be added to your tab (we used our bed or room number to order and paid the total bill at the end). You also get a free welcome drink from the house on your first night, which is nice because you get to meet everyone and play games with other travelers around.
The food was just amazing. There is no kitchen, so it wouldn’t be very convenient to have your own food there (anyways this place is a bit in the middle of nowhere, and it would be quite complicated to go to the market and back). You have plenty of options for breakfast, lunch, dinners, dessert, smoothies, drinks and refreshments. It can get quite expensive if you eat a lot, but we say it as part of our experience in the area – less activities, more food! They let you check your tab and everything you had during checkout, so make sure you take a look. They had charged me for 2 extra drinks that we didn’t have, so they took it off my bill when I mentioned it to them.
I don’t have *yet* my diving license, so I couldn’t join my partner when he left for a morning dive in the lake. The diving center was about 10min walk from our hostel, and they did a dive straight from the shore and walking in. The paid 45$US for one hour dive with Volcano Divers.
The only downside of this place was their New Year Eve’s dinner. They advertised a special NYE dinner with a special menu, and said people could register to the reception if they wanted to join. However the dinner was 20$US (!) per person and they forgot to clearly state that the rest of the kitchen would be completely closed starting at 630pm that night because of that dinner. Which means – many travelers got a bit stuck without dinner that night because they thought they could still order a regular meal outside of the special dinner menu. After a few a them got confused and a bit upset, they offered them the entrée of the NYE dinner at a regular price (phew). The bar also closed at 10pm that night, which was a bit disappointing for a NYE celebration, considering there wasn’t much we could do around the hostel.
That said, we ended up walking on the beach side and joining a NYE party in a nearby hostel. It was not really up to our expectations either, so we ended the night chilling on the beach and getting a good sleep before our early departure the next day for Ometepe!