Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve is perhaps the biggest natural tourist attraction of the whole department.
La Laguna de Apoyo was declared a Nature Reserve in 1991 and its territory extends into two departments, the department of Masaya, in the municipalities of San Juan de Oriente and Catarina, and the department of Granada, in the municipalities of Granada and Diriá .
The lagoon was formed about 21,000 years ago, as a result of the explosion of the Volcano Pre-Support. Due to its volcanic origins and self-supplied with groundwater where there is still an explosion of gases, there are points where natural hot springs form. Water can reach temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius.
Another particular quality of the water of the Laguna de Apoyo is its crystallinity. Although there are other lagoons of volcanic origin in the country, it presents the clearest and most transparent waters.
Within the Natural Reserve there is a great diversity of fauna and flora. It is possible to find howler monkeys, deer and coyotes. There are endemic species that inhabit the territory of the Lagoon.
The main point of reception of visitors in the lagoon is Catarina viewpoint, located in the city of Catarina and easy access from it. Once in Catarina, which is a small city, you should head east to get to the lookout point - it is easy and extremely signposted.
Catarina viewpoint is, in fact, a tourist center very prepared for the reception of the visitors. To access it you will have to pay a small fee that is charged at the entrance, both to individuals and per vehicle, but it is well worth it for the breathtaking view it offers. We highly recommend taking a few minutes of relaxation with the lost view towards the crater.
In the gazebo you will find different restaurants, handicraft points of sale and centers of tourist activities that are prepared to offer an experience that you will not forget.
Another very interesting viewpoint is Diriomito, in which there are also restaurants and lodgings that offer different views and more distant of the majority of the tourism. Besides the possibility of tourist activities at a little more comfortable prices.
Around the lagoon there are different and varied tourist activities, from kayak walks, baths, hikes, horseback riding, hiking, paragliding ... All of them properly prepared and adapted for the reception of tourists. As well as the hotel and catering activity in the area.
On the shores of the lake there are more and more lodges, hotels and restaurants to spend the day at very reasonable prices and in which you can enjoy any of the activities they offer. In recent years, high-end tourist complexes have been developed which offer in addition to the aforementioned services such as spa and yoga in an unrivaled natural environment.
For lovers of diving, on the shores of the lake you can find a biological reserve that offers this activity and where you can also spend the night.
From the center of Catarina, this direction is reached to Laguna de Apoyo, it is properly signposted and is the main tourist attraction of Catarina.