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Pacaya Lodge: A Five-Star Nicaragua Jungle Resort

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Scuba Diving in Laguna de Apoyo

Laguna de Apoyo Nicaragua

Laguna de Apoyo. Image: Oded Gal

Heated by natural springs and thermal vents, Laguna de Apoyo is one of the most unique swimming and diving sites in the world. This freshwater lake was created around 23,000 years ago when a massive volcano erupted, launching the top of the volcano hundreds of miles away. Over time, the crater-like depression filled with water, and today the iconic Laguna de Apoyo is renowned for its clear, calm water and stunning biodiversity.

At Pacaya Lodge & Spa, we offer unparalleled opportunities to dive along volcanic slopes, glide over thermal vents, swim with endemic fish species, and splash around in the always warm, crystal-clear crater lake. Average visibility is between 15 and 24ft and the lake reaches depths of 175 meters (574 ft). Whether you are a beginner diver or already hold a certification, there are plenty of exciting opportunities for you explore the world beneath the waves.

Half Day

Wondering what it feels like to breath underwater or swim alongside a school of fish? Our three-hour introductory course is perfect for those who want to want to give Scuba a whirl. Begin with a short classroom session and then progress to the pool. Once you’ve mastered underwater breathing and equipment basics, our expert guide will take you for a dive out on the crystal-blue Laguna de Apoyo.

Open Water Certification

Pacaya Lodge & Spa offers the once-in-a-lifetime chance to obtain your PADI Open Water SCUBA certification in Laguna de Apoyo. Our expert local dive coach, Shaun, brings nearly twenty years of experience to the table. He is an expert in all things Scuba and knows how to bring energy and fun to every dive.

The Open Water PADI certification course is perfect for beginner divers and those looking to earn their first diving certification. Students will receive classroom training and test out their skills with a series of introductory pool dives prior to diving in Laguna de Apoyo. Once comfortable with the equipment, students will complete a series of 4 open water dives in the crater lake. Divers will have the opportunity to see large fish and even freshwater turtles while they glide through the clear water.

Scuba diving

Image: Daniel Lobo

Advanced PADI Certification

Our lodge also offers the opportunity to obtain your Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Advanced SCUBA certification in a volcanic crater lake. This certification is for divers who already have their basic PADI certification and are seeking the advanced level.

The advanced PADI coursework involves five classroom knowledge review sessions and five open-water dives out on Laguna de Apoyo. All advanced divers are required to complete the deep and underwater navigation adventure courses but may select from a long list of adventure dives for the remaining three dives. The deep water adventure dive prepares you for the physiological effects and challenges of deeper scuba diving. The navigation course trains students to better navigate using visual cues, time, and kick-cycles. Other coursework options include fish identification, photography, and night diving.

Deep Water Certification

How does a 40m dive into the heart of a volcano sound? Dive deep and explore the exotic and mysterious underwater volcano slopes of Laguna de Apoyo through our advanced deep water adventure certification program.

This course prepares students for the physiological effects of deep sea diving and trains students to use deep-sea dive equipment and manage gas supply and pressure logistics. It is open to those who are at least 15 years old and who have earned a PADI Adventure Diver rating or higher.

Pacaya Lodge & Spa is proud to work with Volcano Divers for this exclusive 2-day experience. Start out in the classroom for a review of diving basics and then progress to diving deep with confidence. This package includes four deep-sea open-water dives in the warm waters of Laguna de Apoyo. Contact us to book your package today!

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Pacaya Lodge & Spa: An Inviting Nicaragua Luxury Resort

Luxury at Pacaya Lodge

Pacaya Lodge Luxury

Nicaragua Luxury Resorts

Known as the land of lakes and volcanoes, Nicaragua is one of the most off the beaten path destinations in the world. Overflowing with cascading tropical flowers, secluded waterfalls, ancient cities, volcanoes, and pristine beaches, luxury resorts in Nicaragua are havens for those seeking hidden gems. Pacaya Lodge & Spa offers unforgettable excursions to fully immerse yourself in the culture of Nicaragua. Find out which secret spots we recommend for exploring during your travels!

Las Isletas de Granada are  over 360 small islands off the coast of Granada in Lake Nicaragua. These islands were originally boulders that landed in the lake as a result of an ancient eruption of nearby Volcán Mombacho. Some of these islands are owned by private-home owners and feature elaborate mansions, others are home to ancient petroglyphs, and at least one is a small fortress built by the Spanish conquistadors.

Travelers can book island tours by boat, paddle board, or kayak, where they can see spectacular birdlife and lush tropical vegetation on Central America’s largest lake. For those interested in exploring the islands’ ancient archaeological sites, and petroglyphs, we recommend visiting Lake Nicaragua’s largest Island, Zapatera. Zapatera boasts a rich pre-columbian history and visitors can catch up on local folklore and secrets while they explore.

Paddle boarding Adventure

Paddle Board Adventure

Get Off the Beaten Path

It’s easy to lose track of time strolling through the streets of Nicaragua’s pastel-painted colonial cities like Granada. Explore the charming city and 16th-century colonial architecture on a horse-drawn carriage ride, with stops at San Francisco Convent and Museum in addition to a collection of churches, market places, and scenic views. Travelers can also explore by foot for a chance to get lost among the cities charming art galleries, parks, and shops.

Take in the pristine natural landscapes on the picturesque volcanic island of Ometepe and hike to a secluded waterfall said to have healing properties. Not only is Ometepe a UNESCO bio-reserve packed with exotic wildlife and flowers, but the island also boasts over 1700 petroglyphs, incredible beaches and the Ceibo Museum, where the island’s pre-columbian history is narrated. Take a dip at the base of a waterfall, hike in the scenic El Charco Verde Reserve, uncover ancient civilizations, and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner, an Ometepe specialty.

Are you up for a nighttime excursion? Take an evening tour through Volcán Masaya National Park and travel to the top of the volcano where you can peer down at glowing hot lava formations and gaze up at the heavenly stars above.

Volcano Hike

Volcano Hike

Why Pacaya Lodge & Spa?

With amazing views, world-class dining, and a full-service spa on hand, Pacaya Lodge & Spa is the ideal luxury resort in Nicaragua, especially for travelers seeking off the beaten path experiences. In addition to these offerings, romantic experiences include volcano visits, Granada tours, private dining, and nature tours. Luxuriate in our infinity pool or schedule an adventure excursion. Book the perfect pairing of relaxation and rejuvenation–whether that means climbing volcanos or kicking back on the beach. Come experience it all at and around Pacaya Lodge & Spa!

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What to Do at a Nicaragua Jungle Resort

Aerial View of Pacaya Lodge & Spa

Aerial View of Pacaya Lodge & Spa


Nestled deep in the forest and overlooking the warm crystal waters of Laguna de Apoyo, Pacaya Lodge & Spa is the ultimate Nicaragua jungle resort. With its 26 rooms that overlook the jungle canopy to the crater lake of Laguna de Apoyo, the lodge displays a beautiful blend of traditional and contemporary Nicaraguan styles as private balcony hammocks and artwork created by local artisans fill each room. This luxury eco-lodge is ideal for travelers seeking fresh and delicious cuisine, relaxing spa services, and adventurous moments among the jungle landscape and exotic wildlife. Read on to discover all there is to do at a Nicaragua jungle resort like Pacaya Lodge & Spa.

Known as the largest country in Central America, Nicaragua has recently become more well-known and popular to international visitors. It boasts all the beauty of Costa Rica but with an up-and-coming, pure and authentic tourism presence that cannot be found in the already booming Costa Rica. It’s truly a hidden gem that is finally receiving the recognition it deserves and is the perfect destination if you are seeking a unique Nicaragua jungle resort vacation at a great value. A trip to Nicaragua includes lush rainforests, massive lakes, looming active volcanoes, colonial villages, diverse wildlife and over 500 miles of coastline: this peaceful country has it all.

Laguna de Apoyo

View of Laguna de Apoyo


Nicaragua has both a dry and wet season and experiences a tropical climate similar to that of other Central American countries. Taking in the lush greenery of a jungle resort is easy to do at Pacaya Lodge & Spa, be it on or off the premises. Whether it’s strolling through the tranquil resort paths and hearing the sounds of exotic birds and howler monkeys or taking advantage of Pacaya Lodge’s numerous themed tours and excursions, this Nicaraguan jungle resort is sure to quench your thirst for adventure. Nature and wildlife experiences organized by the Lodge include sightseeing at El Chocoyero Nature Reserve, touring Masaya Volcano, scuba diving in the deep and tranquil Laguna de Apoyo, and the unforgettable experience of a Mombacho Volcano trek and zip line adventure.

Book your jungle adventure at Pacaya Lodge & Spa today!

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Ten Trendy Restaurants in Nicaragua

Pacaya Lodge Lodge and Spa Restaurante Guardabarranco fine dining

Pacaya Lodge & Spa’s Restaurante Guardabarranco

Make the most of your Nicaragua vacation with a delicious and unique culinary experience. With the right atmosphere and flavors, great restaurants can serve up some amazing times that make your trip memorable. Here are our ten favorite trendy restaurants that are perfect for a romantic date, a classy family outing, or simply a tasty treat.

1. Ciudad Lounge Cigar, Bar & Restaurante. Granada

Charming and chic, Ciudad Lounge is composed of a cigar lounge, restaurant, local artisan store, and wine bar. A lot of detail is given to the decor, which features a curated mix of wooden tables and chairs,ceramic vases, sculptures and larger statues. For the cigar aficionados, Ciudad Lounge has a cigar bar supplied by the top cigar producers in Nicaragua. But Ciudad Lounge is not like a typical smoke-filled cigar lounge. It is a refined, high-end restaurant and bar that also offers a cigar selection. All in all, Ciudad Lounge has the food, service, design, and atmosphere that makes for a great time.

2. El Tercer Ojo. Granada

Granada’s hipster haunt, El Tercer Ojo is a fusion restaurant where Far East meets the Mediterranean and Americas. You can find sushi, burgers, hummus, and more on their eclectic menu. Cool and lively, El Tercer Ojo features a vintage store and live music takes over in the late hours of the night. Silent black and white films projected onto the restaurant’s walls add to the hip atmosphere. Be sure to bring along your large-rimmed glasses and shredded scarf when you swing by.

3. La Casa de Los Nogueras. Managua

Enjoy Mediterranean cuisine at this refined and elegant European bistro. You can enjoy meals indoors surrounded by artwork or outdoors for alfresco dining in the garden. With top-notch formal service, La Casa de los Nogueras sets high standards for itself and its customers. Travel tip: no shorts are allowed in this classy restaurant.

4. Le Café de Paris. Leon

Run by executive chef Janine Fiche de Bon Vine, who has over 40 years of experience in high traditional French cuisine including directing restaurants in Paris, it’s safe to say that Le Café de Paris serves exquisite French cuisine. In particular, Le Café de Paris is known for its wines, foie gras, and pepper steak. Located inside Hotel Los Robles, you can enjoy your meal with a view of the café’s lush garden.

5. El Zaguán. Granada

Among expats, travelers, and locals, El Zaguán receives consistent praise as the best steakhouse in town. The cozy restaurant serves up filling, locally sourced steaks flame-grilled to perfection. Be sure to make reservations during high season as this place is popular with travelers.

6. Campestre Habana. Leon

Campestre Habana is a small restaurant that features delicious Cuban dishes. Campestre Habana is located outside of Leon on the way to the beach and tucked away in the middle of a tropical garden, but the trek is definitely worth it for a unique and quality culinary experience. Ingredients are fresh and tasty, and different dishes are available each day. In fact, there is no menu; the server will tell you the dishes of the day and the recommended dish. A knowledge of Spanish or at least some broken Spanglish is a must. With an open air setup, you will be dining in a relaxed, oasis-like scenery.    

7. Restaurante Meson Real. Managua

For a more formal dining experience, be sure to check out Restaurante Meson Real. The menu reinvents classic flavors with their Spanish Mediterranean-style haute cuisine. With an open style kitchen and personalized attention in its food and service, Restaurante Meson Real provides a comfortable and quality dining experience.

8. The Garden Café. Granada

Damien Hopkins from California and Xiomara Diaz Hopkins from Managua met while studying at Ave Maria University in San Marcos and, upon graduation, built their dream business together. Set in a remodeled beautiful, old Spanish Colonial home, The Garden Café offers a breathe a fresh air and a homey atmosphere with their open patio and gorgeous courtyard garden. The Garden Café uses quality ingredients and locally produced goods in their daily baked breads, fresh vegetables, and fruit. The atmosphere is wonderful. Open creative spaces for the community: Features human rights activists speakers and cultural activities like singing and bands. Offers great breakfasts, healthy sandwiches and salads, plus a daily special featuring a traditionally home-cooked Nicaraguan dish. It also has cocktails, sangria and wine, plus an excellent fair-trade store onsite.

9. Los Ranchos. Managua

Founded in 1964, Los Ranchos was once a place where prominent Nicaraguan politicians met to hash out ideas. Still retaining its original atmosphere, Los Ranchos remains a popular steakhouse amongst locals and travelers alike. Here, you can take your pick from a range of grilled meats, such as steak, pork, or guapote–a white fish from Lake Nicaragua.

10. Restaurante Guardabarranco. Laguna de Apoyo

Pacaya Lodge and Spa’s very own Restaurante Guardabarranco offers a fine dining experience. Inspired by traditional Nicaraguan favorites, Pacaya Lodge and Spa presents a menu that features a modern take on local staples. With seasonal ingredients fresh from their organic garden or sourced from local farmers, Restaurante Guardabarranco serves up a memorable meal. At Restaurante Guardabarranco, you can enjoy your meal in the open-air restaurant and bar with views of the crater lake and distant volcanoes. Along with the stunning view, there is live music from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays which adds to the magical experience of Pacaya Lodge & Spa.

Click here for a look at Restaurante Guardabarranco’s menu or to book with Pacaya Lodge and Spa.

If you want to check out places to eat in Granada, Leon, or Managua, click here to see tours and excursions to these cities from Pacaya Lodge and Spa.

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Liberation Day in Nicaragua


Image: Kumar Appaiah

Liberation Day is a national holiday in Nicaragua that is celebrated on July 19th. The holiday marks the day that the Sandinista National Liberation Army, or Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), defeated the Somoza dictatorship back in 1979.

In 1962, intellectuals, poets, students, workers, and peasants formed the political movement. With the nickname, “Revolution of the Poets,” the movement launched a revolutionary political agenda which included programs like free health care. 

Liberation Day is celebrated enthusiastically by Nicaragua’s citizens, most of whom personally witnessed FSLN’s rise to power. The day is celebrated with parades, speeches, singing the national anthem, hoisting the national flag, and fireworks.

If your stay at Pacaya Lodge & Spa overlaps with Liberation Day, check out festivities in the neighboring towns of Granada and Masaya to witness the national spirit of the Nicaraguan people.

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