On Thursday night I did a twilight hike at Volcano Telica, part of the Maribios volcano chain, same as Cerro Negro. The key reason for the “sunset” or “twilight tour” is because you have a much better chance of seeing lava. I know I already saw lava last weekend, but I am hungry for more! It’s so cool, it’s hot! Seeing lava at twilight or night is much easier than in daytime thus the Telica Volcano sunset tour is the way to go.
The Telica Volcano Sunset Tour Company
I signed up for the tour through Quetzaltrekkers, mainly because they are a non-profit organization that puts on various hikes and donates all proceeds to helping local communities. I was very happy with their work. The Telica Volcano Sunset tour was a well run hike.
Meeting People on the Telica Volcano Sunset Tour
One of the things I most liked about joining tours is meeting other people. As a solo female traveler, these tours make it easy to find company, if only for a little while. And it was a nice group on the Telica Volcano Sunset Tour, a family from Louisville and a Canadian on his own.
Getting to Telica
After a rough hour plus ride from León, we got to the base of Telica. Our guide was Oscar – just kidding, his name was Sasha. He is a volunteer for Quetzaltrekkers, as most of the guides are, leading tours in León for 3 months for the experience. Pretty good experience, if I say so!
First thing we saw was a warning that we are entering an active volcano zone. We wouldn’t be able to see lava if the volcano wasn’t active!
The plan was to hike up for 40 minutes to the crater, walk around, find a good spot to watch the sunset, eat the sandwiches that the tour provides, and once it’s dark, head back to the crater to see lava. Apparently about 60% of the time you can see lava. I liked my odds.
Not According to Plan
The hike didn’t go as planned though, because there was loads of smoke coming from the crater. Sulfur gas. It stank of rotten eggs and we had to cover our mouths with our shirts for a good part of the hike, as the wind kept blowing it our way.
Images from the Hike up Telica Volcano
The hike up was interesting. Tons of rocks and rubble, all from previous eruptions. It looked like how I imagine Mars: dry and lots of red and yellow rocks.
Apparently when Telica erupts, it just sends lots of big rocks straight up and down, not lava like other volcanoes. It’s been cool learning about all the differences between volcanoes here.
The Top of Telica
We got to the top and couldn’t even see into the crater there was so much smoke! It definitely made for an adventure!
We hiked around to the back side of the crater where Sasha usually gets a good sunset view, and we were blocked of that view by a combination of clouds and the sulfur smoke.
As I told Sasha, the sun sets every day, but I don’t get to see lava very often. And yes, we were in the 60%! However briefly, when the smoke blew away, we saw lava! It was about 100 meters below us, but we saw bubbling hot lava. The sulfur smell was pretty gross and burned my eyes, but we got to see lava before hiking down in the twilight (which was cool too, by the way!)
We left León at about 3pm and got back around 8pm, with a photo of lava!
Now, at Masaya you are guaranteed to see lava. The Telica volcano sunset tour was cool in it’s own way because nothing was guaranteed and because of the hike and the other elements. I really didn’t mind missing a sunset. The sulfur smoke made it way more of an adventure, and that’s part of the fun of Nicaragu and travel in general. You never know what to expect. Telica was my fifth volcano in Nicaragua, and every volcano has been different!