In December of last year we made a voyage throughout Central America, often dismissed by many due the problems that this part of the World faces and in turn the crime rate that it possesses, we decided to see for ourselves what exactly it was like. Somewhat surprisingly my favourite country of them all was Honduras, I loved the North and think it is truly underrated. My least favourite was Nicaragua, I found it to be toothless, lacking energy, lacking fun and lacking in character.
Nicaragua held an ace up her sleeve, namely volcano boarding, that’s right there is a volcano in Nicaragua, an active one no less that you can climb up and sled down. We had to try it out.
If you are staying in Leon, there are many tour companies that offer this trip equally you can speak to your hostel or hostel and they will arrange it for you. The price was around $20 all-in and I could not think of a better way to spend $20 than on this thrill-seeking adventure. We were picked up from our hotel at 10am and taken by bus to Cerro Negro National Park, home of the Cerro Negro volcano and our slide for the day.
On arrival to the volcano you must pay a small fee to enter the park (around $2) before being taken to the foot of the volcano and handed your sled. The sled is essentially just a long piece of bolsa wood with a metal base, slightly fragile but more than sufficient for our little ride. After being given our sled we were then tasked with the ascent up to the ‘drop-zone,’ around 700 metres up.
The climb took us around 45 minutes and was not difficult but certainly arduous, the wind in these parts can really blow and your board will unfortunately attempt to act like a sail on your back, occasionally causing you to lose balance and footing. Once at the top however, it all becomes worthwhile.
From the top we waited our turn and enjoyed the view to try to take our minds away from the fact that we would soon be cascading down rocks of burned lava sat on a little piece of wood with some strong attached to it. We were given our guidelines for ‘steering’ and then put in our places to begin our rapid descent.
Now, I have 2 tales to tell you here, my husband went first, he took it all in stride, as boys often do, and gracefully sailed down the volcano leaving dust in his tracks before casually alighting at the bottom, which of course gave me great confidence, albeit, too much. As I flew down the hill, I attempted to steer my craft a little, I got a little mixed up and around 100 metres from the bottom, I bailed.
Fortunately you are fully equipped with goggles, gloves and a jumpsuit and no harm was caused, well almost. The only injury that I was unfortunate enough to receive was two rather large burns on my hands. The gloves came off and I touched the scorching metal base of my sled during my crash but nothing that a little cream couldn’t soon heal and it certainly did not stop me from smiling like a child when I reached the bottom, what a rush!!!