How to visit volcanoes in Nicaragua without breaking (much of) a sweat

If you’re after large dose of volcano without an overdose of activity, here’s how to visit volcanoes in Nicaragua without breaking (too much of) a sweat.

If volcanoes are your world then Nicaragua is your oyster. Situated where the Caribbean and Cocos tectonic plates collide, the country is home to some 19 volcanoes, at least three of which have erupted since 2007!1

As a visitor, your volcano-ventures can come as with as much or as little adrenaline as you want, all with a side-order of stupendous photo opportunities.

Volcano-lite: Admire the volcanoes of Nicaragua from a distance

Grab a view point and admire those smoking summits from a distance. Top locations for spotting volcanoes in Nicaragua from a distance include:

The roof of León cathedral (entrance fee $3)

visit volcanoes in Nicaragua - view from Leon cathedral

It’s a volcano-tastic view from Leon cathedral

The ferry from San Jorge to the twin-volcanoed Volcán Concepción and Volcán Maderas island of Ometepe (ferry cost $2-3), or cycling / kayaking around Ometepe (kayak rental around $5 p/hr or $15 p/day)

The flight from Managua to San Carlos with La Costeña (around $75 one-way)

Stretch your legs at Volcán Masaya

You can drive right up to the crater of smoky Volcán Masaya; and hike a further 20 minutes or so in a couple of different directions (one of which is steep) to see the crater from above. Time it for sunset for some monster vistas.

visit volcanoes in Nicaragua - Volcan Masaya at sunset

Volcan Masaya at sunset. Oh yes.

Sunset’s also the time for checking out the lava-tube caves, home to thousands of bats.

visit volcanoes in Nicaragua - Volcan Masaya lava tubes

lava tubes at Volcan Masaya. Pretty cool.

Tours (around $15) combine sunset and caves for a spooky and smoky adventure.

Workout in the dark at Volcán Telica

The Telica sunset tour (around $25-40, depending on number of participants) features some hiking, a spectacular sunset and red-hot lava. It’s a popular choice from León.

Telica’s road access could be generously described as a 4WD dirt road. Expect bumps. Large bumps.

After the spine-shattering journey, you’ll be ready for an uphill jaunt. 45 minutes of up on the exposed (read: hot) trail brings you to the smoking crater, with views out to other volcanoes in Nicaragua that make up the Ring of Fire.

A further 20 minutes hike and you’re at a stupendous sunset view point, with the orange and red light of the setting sun filling the valley floor below to the brim.

Then it’s back up to the crater (another 20 minutes or so) to see the distant glowing lava in the crater below, before completing a torch procession back down the path in the dark.

More active adventures

For more active escapades involving volcanoes in Nicaragua, you can summit the 1,700 metre+ Volcán Concepción on the island of Ometepe, volcano board down the black ash of Cerro Negro, or trek the 1,300 metre+ peak of Volcán Mombacho.

Whether your desire is to conquer or to photograph, between Nicaragua’s 19 volcanoes, there’s sure to be one for you!

1. Source: Wikipedia.

Have you visited an active volcano? Where was it, and what made the experience memorable? Share your story below.

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2 Responses to How to visit volcanoes in Nicaragua without breaking (much of) a sweat

  1. Travis 9 May 2015 at 11:01 pm #

    Found you on Trippy and love this post… a great summary of the highlights for my quick trip!

    • Julie 10 May 2015 at 12:28 pm #

      Thanks so much Travis. Hope you have a wonderful time in Nicaragua – it’s a magical country.

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