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Must do: volcano boarding in Nicaragua

Volcano boarding, it sounds crazy, sliding down an active volcano with a wooden plank. However, this activity is on the bucketlist of many adventurous travelers. And rightly so, it gives an incredible adrenaline rush and you also have a beautiful view of the area from the Cerro Negro volcano! We tell you everything about this awesome activity in Nicaragua

Also read: Backpacking in Nicaragua | Itinerary and tips

Home base Leon

The bustling city of Leon is the base for volcano boarding on the Cerro Negro. Colonial buildings and beautiful churches characterize this city. You can enjoy yourself here for a few days by strolling through the streets and visiting the cozy bars. Yet many travelers only visit Leon for one reason: volcano boarding.

The Cerro Negro Volcano

Cerro Negro is literally translated 'black hill' and that describes this volcano perfectly. This large volcanic rock contrasts beautifully in the green hilly landscape. Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in Central America, which arose around 1850.

Cerro Negro volcano
Together with the group for Cerro Negro

The last eruption was in 1999, since then the volcano has been rumbling regularly, but it has not erupted again. You don't have to worry about this happening during your tour because the volcanic activity is closely monitored. What you do notice is that the stones feel a bit warm and sometimes smoke can be seen in the crater. Cerro Negro is about 700 meters high.

The hike to the top

From Leon you will be transported by pick-up truck to Cerro Negro, this trip takes about an hour. After that, the climb to the top can begin.

Hiking up volcanoes is not my favorite activity because it always comes down to walking up pretty steeply. Fortunately, this walk is easy to do because a winding path has been constructed so that you do not have to walk up steeply. In addition, you can have your board carried for a few euros so that you can focus on the walk yourself. During the walk there is regularly a moment of rest, which is certainly appreciated by the group.

What makes the walk tiring is that you are constantly walking in the blazing sun, because there is no vegetation on the volcano, so do not forget to bring a hat or cap. Fortunately, the wind occasionally provides the necessary cooling.

volcano cerro negro
The hike to the top

Volcano Boarding

Once at the top, put on your suit and get an explanation about volcano boarding. The further back you hang, the faster you go, resting your feet lightly on the floor. If you prefer to slow down a bit, you have to sit up straight and put your feet in the sand.

At the bottom of the volcano is someone with a speedometer that measures how fast everyone is going, very nice to know of course, but it should not be a competition. Safety comes first and you should do what you feel comfortable with.

Also read: Top 10 Volcanoes in Iceland | Otherworldly, impressive and active

volcano boarding
Volcano Boarding

After the explanation we can slide down one by one. While I watch my predecessors, the nerves kick in. It's no small feat to whiz off a 700-meter high active volcano. Once I'm on my plate, I'm having the time of my life. I chose to sit fairly upright, but afterwards I would have dared a little faster. In the end I slid off the volcano at a speed of 35 km/h, but there were also people in my group who hit 70 km/h.

In less than a minute you are back at the base of the volcano, the first thing I thought was 'I want to go again!' I thought it was so cool.

Outfit during the volcano boarding

To protect yourself against a possible fall or boulders jumping up, you get good equipment. This consists of a sturdy pantsuit, glasses and gloves.

In addition, do not forget to put on closed shoes and bring a cloth or bandana. You can tie this piece of cloth in front of your mouth so that you don't get stones in your face or have to collect dust.?

black hill
A group photo before we go down

Volcano boarding costs

At each hostel or tour operator can book the volcano board tour, the average price for this adventure is $30. Many organizations also offer nice extras such as a free T-shirt and a delicious cooling drink.

To do or not to do?

Yes, of course! It is an incredibly cool and unique experience. Did you know that this is the only place in the world where you can board a volcano? So if you are in Nicaragua I would recommend trying this awesome activity.  

Also read: The 15 Most Beautiful National Parks in Mexico | From Volcano to Maya
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Lieke Thijssen

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