My hostal offers a daily tour through Nicatime Nicaragua. We left the hostal at 8am on Wednesday, got to Cerro Negro Volcano by 9am, and started hiking. The uphill climb is only an hour long, but with all the sand and rocks, it’s not easy. Slippery.
Cerro Negro means Black Mountain, and that describes it perfectly. This fairly young, still active volcano is a pile of black sand and rock. People have been volcano boarding there for about 17 years, according to my tour guide, Oscar (just kidding, it was Lester – or Luther, damn I am bad at this. I’ll call him Oscar). Now that is the primary reason people visit Cerro Negro, and one of the top attractions in León.
Not only was the volcano boarding an experience, but the volcano itself was interesting. It’s active – last eruption was 1999 – and smoking. We saw a few smoking areas and when you kick up the top layer of dirt around the crater you feel the heat underneath. Oscar told us that people sometimes camp up there and cook their food right on the mountain (wrapped in foil or something. obvs)
The views from the volcano of the other volcanoes in the area were pretty beautiful too. It was a clear and hot day. That’s why we left in the early morning. Can’t imagine how hot it is in the afternoon.
There were 5 of us in Oscar’s tour group, me and a bunch of 20-somethings from Australia, the U.S. and Germany, and about 15 other groups all doing the same thing.
The climb up was the hard part, carrying our “boards,” and then we had to put on our jumpsuits, goggles, facemasks and gloves and get ready to slide down the hill. Then we had to wait.
All in all, the process took an hour or two, for <5 minutes of sliding. It seemed scary beforehand but it really wasn’t. I actually had trouble going as fast as I wanted to! It was an adventure! I recommend it if you come to León. Warning: You get a LOT of the black rocks on your board, your face, your neck, your shoes – everywhere! Mementoes of the journey. I am glad I did it.
I was hoping to have videos too – the tour guide shot some, but hasn’t posted them yet. Will update when they are available.