Nicarauga Part 2. Granada and Laguna de Apoyo

“A city! You’re taking us to a CITY” was the howling wolf cry of boy 1 & 2. Boy 2 pronounces city with a shhh sound. It works, and basically sums up our joint feelings on spending time in one, but this time I actually argued for it. Yes, we could have just headed straight for the easy hop of San Juan Del Sur and spent time at a little beach town and get some surf on…but…but we had just done that for a month, and as I pointed out to the Mister, we need some culture. Granada is oozing with culture and history and– more importantly–um, much more importantly…chocolate! So, I may have stumbled upon a little article about Museo de Chocolate being in Granada and that may have had a teeny, weeny, (ginormo) reason why I wanted to go there. I mean seriously?! A chocolate museum!!  So yeah, bring it city. We got this.

“City! What? There’s nothing but buildings and stuff!” “Take me back to the jungle!”


Um. Er. Do we? It’s so loud and so many vehicles. We just want to climb a tree and jump in the ocean. Eek. Everyone is selling something and we can’t seem to scrub these dollar signs off our foreheads. “No, gracias” is our constant refrain. Boy 2 became an expert at it by the end of day 1 in the city. But, it was beautiful in it’s gritty, wethered way, with cultural and intrigue. We didn’t run for the nearest beach — besides there was no way in hockey sticks we were getting back on a bus! We found and checked into our little hotel with a center courtyard and a pool and we headed out to the city. Well, ok first Boy 1 climbed the coconut tree in the courtyard and we all cooled off in the pool. Ahhh. Better. 


Coconut trees in the courtyard? Boy 1 can’t help himself!

Courtyard swimming pool! Welcome relief!

Then we headed out to explore the colonial city of Granada. 


On day 2 We headed to the Museo de Chocolate for our chocolate making and history lesson.We learned a little about the history of chocolate from the Mayans to the Aztecs and sampled our way to cocoa heaven. We learned to make chocolate starting from the cacao pod right off the tree, followed by the raw beans, and straight through to the finished product. We made and sampled several different cacao drinks and then finished the experience with pouring and customizing our very own chocolate bars! I added cayenne pepper and vanilla to mine. Boy 1 added cinnamon and cayenne to his and Boy 2 got a little nutty and added almonds, cinnamon, and marshmallows. The Mister and Boy 3 did not join us for this tour — Boy 3 for obvious toddler reasons, and the mister due to a very, very (anaphylactic), severe dairy allergy. He can’t eat most chocolate — even dark chocolate that doesn’t have any milk listed in the ingredients is usually a problem, having touch something with dairy while being processed. However, this chocolate was so pure that he could eat it without problems. Uh oh! We had to eat ours fast or share! We chose fast! 

Vaka vaka chocolata! Mini chocolatiers and happy samplers.

Stirring the roasting cacao beans to the chants of “Vaka, vaka chocolata! 

Did you know chocolate makes your clothes shrink? Fact. 
And we ventured out of the city for a visit to Apoya Lagoon. We likey, we likey, mucho gusto. Ancient crater lake filled with warm, crystal clear water and bordered by lush, verdant cliffs and black volcanic sand. We loved it! Like a lot. Boy1 & 2 loved free diving to the bottom by jumping off the swim platforms. They taught themselves how to pressurize their ears and freaked out all the other guests and locals by swimming heavy rocks out and jumping with them as weights to get to the bottom faster. Oh and Boy 2 may have made a few Cordoba (Nicaraguan money) by offering some nice women kayak rides before we realized what he was up to and shut down the business. 
Our view of Apoyo Lagoon.

Oh the warm, gorgeous water! Don’t mind that creepy guy in the hoodi

Only about 20 minutes outside of Granada, but what feels like a world away. The lush and verdant slopes of the Apoyo crater and the crystal, clear waters of the ancient crater lake are a far cry from the noisy, crowded city of Granada and the nearby village of Masaya. Seriously, take me back. And bring me chocolate.

Here is a detailed description of the Crater Lagoon and some science and conservation info:






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