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Xiloa’s sister crater is a wild Shangri-La, about as far off the beaten tourist trail as you can get this close to Managua. The steep jungle shore is populated with monkeys, parrots, iguanas and crocodiles. Apoyeque is a favorite fishing spot for local farmers (who reportedly catch the lagoon’s large, passive fish by throwing in unbaited lines), but only attracts a handful of visitors each year, mainly because the lagoon is so difficult to reach. Forget about an easy walking trail from Xiloa (no, seriously, forget it. The Nicaraguan military carries out maneuvers in the area.) the only way to get to Apoyeque is to hike from the tiny village of Conmarka Alfonzo Gonzales.



Locals are slowly cutting a swath to this gorgeous and isolated lake with the hopes of eventually building a road to the lookout. Until conditions drastically improve, though, you should not attempt the trip without a guide. The unmarked path has dangers like poisonous snakes, crumbling footholds and the very real possibility of heat stroke. Although you’re more likely to get caught on thorns or twist an ankle, it’s not unheard of for hikers to be robbed while in the countryside.



At Conmarka Alfonzo Gonzales, you can hire a local guide for about C$200 (US $10). Elias and Jorge Calderon are reliable, friendly and knowledgeable about the area. They can be reached at 505-368-2855. Bring plenty of water, a hat and sensible hiking shoes. The one-way hike up to the crater lip takes between 40 minutes and 1.5 hours, depending on your physical condition. The trail is very steep and there is little shade. The trek from the crater lip to the shore is roughly two hours each way. You can camp along the lake shore, but there are no services.


Other places nearby Apoyeque: Xiloá and Pochomil and Masachapa.

By Rachael Hanley
A sometime newspaper journalist with a heavy side of wanderlust, Rachael moved to Quito in November to work on the V!VA staff. She is currently...
28 Sep 2009

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