After our long trip on the TicaBus from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, we arrived in the town square of Leon, Nicaragua.
Sprawled out under the huge ‘Catedral de la Ascunción’ (Assumption Cathedral), the town square had a busy but casual, family friendly vibe, and we instantly felt relaxed.
“……is a typical colonial baroque building built between 1747 and 1814. Because of its solid, anti-seismic construction, its walls have endured earthquakes, eruptions of the Cerro Negro volcano, and bombings during civil wars.” Wikipedia
Our first goal was to find somewhere to stay – we ended up choosing a hostel called La Tortuga Booluda, which translates to The Lazy Turtle.
They had free wifi, free filtered water, and free coffee. Sold.
Images of The Tortuga Booluda from their website.
We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring the city, and organised a volcano boarding excursion for the following day.
Boarding down Cerro Negro Volcano is the most popular activity in Nicaragua, and there are many hostels, companies and tour groups that run the excursion, with various inclusions and prices.
After a bit of reading, we chose the company Quetzaltrekkers. They’re the only non-profit outdoor adventure company in Nicaragua, and are run solely by volunteers. All of their profits are split between five different projects that are dedicated to rehabilitating, educating and protecting Leon’s street kids.
“Cerro Negro is an active volcano in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range in Nicaragua, about 10 km from the village of Malpaisillo. It is a very new volcano, the youngest in Central America, having first appeared in April 1850. Its last eruption was in 1999.” Wikipedia
We met at the Quetzaltrekkers office in Leon and jumped in the back of a truck with a few other backpackers and headed out to the volcano.
It was a beautiful, clear day, but very hot and we were advised to drink heaps of water before we headed up the volcano as we had to carry our own boards and wouldn’t really have the hands free to carry water too. The boards were heavy and awkward, and it took us about half an hour to hike up with them. It was exhausting but the view was incredible and the landscape was like nothing we’d seen before!
Once high enough, you could see the black boundary line of where the last big lava flow reached.
We were provided with full body suits and safety glasses to put on once we reached the top. The volcano was much steeper than I thought, and it was pretty scary to sit on the board on the edge of the volcano and just will myself over the edge! John was right in his element and ended up going super fast! Here is a little highlights video we put together.
We’d definitely recommend doing this if you’re in Leon!