This hillside pueblo clings to the verdant lip of the spectacular Laguna de Apoyo  crater lake. The Mirador is a blustery cliffside walkway and restaurant complex at the edge of the crater with one of the best panoramic views in Nicaragua—look for the distant red-tiled roofs and cathedral spires of Granada , broad Lake Cocibolca behind, and on a clear day, the twin volcanic peaks of Ometepe .
Roaming marimba and guitar players will serenade you for a small fee (negotiate before they begin playing). Locals visit Catarina for its ornamental plant nurseries and the wares of local artisans and basket-makers whose shops begin at roadside. Vehicles pay $1 each to enter the Mirador.
Hotel Casa Catarina (tel. 505/2558-0034 or 505/2558-0227, reservaciones [at] hotelcasacatarina [dot] com, www.casacatarina.com , $75) is a new, modern, and well-liked three-star hotel. It’s the only choice other than the basic but clean Hotel Jaaris or Hospedaje Euro, both about $10 and one block west (i.e. downhill) from the Catarina church.