Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve
|Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve|
View of Laguna de Apoyo from the crater rim
|Location||between Masaya and Granada|
|Area||8,648 acres (43 km²)|
|Governing body||Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA)|
Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve (Spanish: Reserva Natural Laguna de Apoyo) is a nature reserve located between the departments of Masaya and Granada in Nicaragua. Lake Apoyo was declared a nature reserve in 1991 and is managed by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA) and comprises one of 78 protected areas of Nicaragua. Geological data suggests that Lake Apoyo originated about 23,000 years ago.
Geography and hydrology
The Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve protects a volcanic lake, Laguna de Apoyo, and its drainage basin. Laguna de Apoyo is an endorheic lake occupying the caldera of an extinct volcano. The lake is approximately round, with the diameter of 6.6 km. It os 175 m deep, and occupied 21 square km. The lake's drainage basin occupies 38 sq km; influx and outflow of underground water plays a major role in the lake's water balance. According to Nicaraguan hydrologists, the lake's level dropped 10 m in some 30 years between 2002 and the mid 2000s.
Flora and fauna
The reserve houses a tropical dry forest ecosystem, within the reserve the flora consists of over 500 species of plants and tropical dry trees, such as pochote, black rosewood, mahogany, hogplum and guacuco, as well as a large variety and amount of orchids. The fauna consists of mammals such as Variegated Squirrels, opossums, anteaters, pacas, jaguarundis, Howler and White-faced Capuchin monkeys. As well as a variety of reptiles such as green iguanas and common boas. Over 230 species of birds have been documented in the reserve, oropendolas, falcons, hummingbirds, and 65 species of migratory birds are present. Two-hundred twenty species of butterflies have been documented in the reserve, including 25 first records for Nicaragua and dozens of mollusks. Lake Apoyo also contains a variety of fish species, including six endemic species of cichlids in the genus Amphilophus. One of these species is the arrow cichlid (Amphilophus zaliosus), described in 1976. Three additional species were described in 2008, by the multinational research team directed by the Nicaraguan NGO, FUNDECI/GAIA, which manages a research station on the shore of the lake. Two additional species were discovered in 2010.  The remaining two cichlids were only described in 2010. In addition to the endemics, three cichlids (Parachromis managuense, Oreochromis aureus, and O. niloticus) are found in the lake, but these were introduced by man.
Lake Apoyo attracts tourists with various tourist attractions such as dark sand beaches for swimming, kayaking, hiking, SCUBA diving, birdwatching, paragliding, boating, and nature. Pumice rocks abound in the lagoon, and are harvested by locals for use in the clothing industry. Recently, petroglyphs and artifacts of indigenous peoples have been found in the reserve. Strict laws limiting human activity exist in the reserve, and several residential construction projects have been stopped and many landowners have been engaged in legal processes by the Ministry of Natural Resources inside the Reserve, in accordance with the laws regarding Nature Reserves in Nicaragua. 
- Tourism in Nicaragua
- Pyrgophorus coronatus found in the crater lake
- Birdwatching in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve
- Biological Research Station in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve
- Decreto 42-91, La Gaceta 207, Nicaragua (1991). DECLARACION DE AREAS PROTEGIDAS EN VARIOS CERROS MACIZOS
- Carl T. Bergstrom; Lee Alan Dugatkin (2012). Evolution. Norton. p. 469. ISBN 978-0-393-92592-0.
- EVALUACIÓN DE LA DINÁMICA DE LA LAGUNA DE APOYO MEDIANTE TRAZADORES ISOTÓPICOS Y GEOQUÍMICOS
- van Dort J & McCrary JK (2010):Lepidoptera de la Reserva Natural Laguna de Apoyo; Rev. Biodiv. AAPP 2:87-92.
- "Lake Apoyo". ViaNica. Retrieved 2007-08-12.
- Stauffer JR, Jr., McCrary JK, & Black KE (2008): Three new species of cichlid fishes (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from LakeApoyo, Nicaragua; PROCEEDINGS OF THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON121(1):117–129
- Geiger MF, McCrary JK, & Stauffer JR, Jr. (2010): Description of two new species of the Midas cichlid complex (Teleostei:Cichlidae) from Lake Apoyo, Nicaragua; PROCEEDINGS OF THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON123(2):159–173
- Dittmann, Roesti, Indermaur, Colombo, Gschwind, Keller, Kovac, Barluenga, Muschick, and Salzburger (2012). Depth-dependent abundance of Midas Cichlid fish (Amphilophus spp.) in two Nicaraguan crater lakes. Hydrobiologia 686(1): 277-285.
- "MARENA Ley 217". MARENA. Retrieved 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Laguna de Apoyo.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Laguna de Apoyo.|
- Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve blog
- In Defense of Nature
- AMICTLAN.com Asociación de Municipios Integrados por la Cuenca y Territorios de la Laguna de Apoyo de Nicaragua. (Spanish)
- Laguna de Apoyo Visitor Center
- Posada de la Abuela, Hotel at the Lagoon(Spanish)
- Hallan nuevas mojarras (El Nuevo Diario, 14 April 2008)
- Birds of Laguna de Apoyo
- Scenes from Laguna de Apoyo
- Laguna Beach Club, Hostel at Laguna de Apoyo