5 Best Volcano Hikes in Nicaragua

Last year, I was lucky enough to spend the whole year hiking in amazing Nicaragua. A volcanoland that stole my heart. I conquer several of its volcanos more than once, and the experience was awesome every single time.

How could I spend a full year? I was working with a hiking tour operator in Nicaragua. But it is more, Quetzaltrekkers is also a non-profit organization who works with volunteers, and give all their profits to help local project related to kids.

Besides working a lot with the non-profit side and the projects. I spent a lot of time hiking, discovering and falling in love with the volcanos. Of course, I also wasted time tired and being sore, but that’s part of the experience and love it anyway!

If you are planning to hike volcanos in Nicaragua, discover unbelievable views and sweat a lot (when I say sweat a lot, I mean all the time), I will give you my five favorite volcano hikes in the country.

5. MOMOTOMBO

Difficulty: Difficult

Momotombo is probably the hardest hike in the country, you will love and hate the volcano at the same time. Rising 1297 meters high, Momotombo has a perfect volcano shape that will make you struggle.

You can hike it in one day if you wake up early. The first part of the hike, after crossing the geothermal plant on its bottom, is in the shade.

After an hour, the trees will disappear and you will see a beautiful view of Lake Managua and Momotombito, a small volcano in the middle of the lake.

Look up and focus on the top of the volcano, it seems close but it is an illusion. From that point, you will start the hard part.

The path is all sand and loose volcanic rock, be ready to crawl and climb with your hands because the path will turn a 45-degree angle. You will ask yourself several times: what am I doing here? But that’s what makes Momotombo so special, it is different from the rest, the hike is unique and impossible to compare with the other volcanos.

The summit’s steaming crater is the worst part of the hike, enjoy the views during the ascent, because once you reach the top the gases will make you sick.

How do you get out of there? Run past 40m high rock walls and slide, jump and ski down to reach the base of the volcano. Descending is the best part of the hike.

4. CERRO NEGRO

Difficulty: Easy

Who hasn’t heard about volcano boarding in Nicaragua? Cerro Negro is probably the most famous volcano in the country because you can literally board it down, you surf down one of its sidehills.

In 2014, CNN include volcano boarding in Nicaragua on the list: 50 of the most thrilling, daring things you can do on vacation.

Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in Nicaragua and one of the most active ones. In fact, from the top, you can see one of its big craters and if you dig a hole on the top, put an egg and come back after a little bit, you will have a boiled egg.

The hike in Cerro Negro (728 meters) is easy, less than an hour and the best part is that you descend on a board in less than 4 minutes.

The only difficult part of the hike is carrying the uncomfortable board and fight against the wind. It can be a little bit annoying especially because it is boiling hot too.

Since the volcano is active, vegetation doesn’t grow, leaving only black volcano rocks all the way up, that’s why its name is Cerro Negro (Black Hill).

The contrast between the black volcano and the surrounding green mountains it’s an epic view.

If you don’t want to board down the volcano, running is also an option and it is awesome too!

If you want to go fast, you should lean back on your board, hold the rope tight and lift your feed, once you control your balance, people can reach velocity.

Volcano boarding is fun and a unique experience that you should definitely try if you travel to Nicaragua.

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3. COSIGUINA

Difficulty:  Medium

Cosigüina was once the tallest volcano in Central America until its powerful eruption in 1835. Ashes from the eruption fell as far as Mexico and Jamaica and the explosion was heard even in Costa Rica.

Potosi, the small town where you will start the hike, is one of the hottest places in the country. Be ready to sweat like never before.

Consiguina’s hike is a gradual path between jungle and farms, in 4 hours you can be reaching its massive crater with a diameter of more than 2 km and a stunning blue lake at its bottom. And no, you can’t swim in it!

Be ready to enjoy the magic view from there.

The summit also offers awesome views of Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador, not to mention the Golfo de Fonseca and the Pacific Ocean. It is like being at the top of the world!

2. MADERAS

Difficulty: Medium

Ometepe Island is the home of two superb volcanos, my favorite one is Volcano Maderas (1394 meters).

The weather in Maderas is the opposite of the other volcanos in this post. You will be covered by fog all the time, which will make you wet during the hike.

The extreme humidity is what makes the climb so interesting, your boots will be wrapped in mud and you will hear the monkeys around the jungle.

Don’t expect great views from the top, or even during the hike, because the clouds and the dense jungle cover all around, the hike will get tougher with the muddy and slippery trail, the more you walk the worst it gets.

Be ready to climb with your hands at some points. I said your boots will be covered in mud, I mean all your body will turn mud!

Once you reach the top, you can continue and climb down to the lagoon as a real monkey, jumping branches and hanging out from vines! The lagoon is surrounded by trees and often covered by a thick mist, a mystique landscape that reminds me of the movie The Mist, so at one point I was expecting random alien creatures coming from me!

Descending the volcano will take time, if it was hard climbing the trail with tones of mood, imagine descending a super slippery path.

If you are lucky with the clouds, you will enjoy a couple of viewpoints, where you can have a good view of Concepcion Volcano and Lake Nicaragua.

CHECK THE COMPLETE GUIDE:
ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIKE VOLCAN TELICA

1. TELICA

Difficulty: Medium

Telica is my first volcano hike in Nicaragua, and the volcano that I hiked the most (around 40 times), I loved every hike!

Telica is one of the most active volcanos, it actually erupted twice during my year, nothing tragic happened but the smoke clouds from its crater were visible from far away.

This hike will be sweaty and quite tiring. You will cross several corn and bean fields, but nature will be your closest friend here.

The last part of the hike, if you start in San Jacinto town, will become pretty steep, the bright side is the several spots from where you will have a great view.

You will know where the end of the path is because you will be speechless when you see the volcano and its crater rising from the valley, impressive!

The volcano is just over a kilometer high (1,061 meters) and has a huge crater with a diameter of 700 meters.

Nicaragua is still a developing country and its tourist attraction are pretty new, that’s why you can walk to the very edge and lean out to see the 120 meters deep crater. The crater is often with smoke that makes it impossible to see anything inside, but if you are lucky with the wind you are able to see lava and cool rock formations.

Unfortunately, after the last explosions, it is really hard to see lava during the night, but I honestly think the hike and the volcano are still worth it, the lava was an extra attraction and sometimes disappointed.

I recommend walking around and explore the campsite, a beautiful place care for by the people from the nearby local community.

You can also check the complete guide to hike Telica volcan in this post

Telica forms part of the Maribios volcanic chain that runs all the way down and includes several volcanoes, pay attention because you will see the volcanoes in line, some smoking and others dormant, but all of them creating an amazing and magic landscape.

Did you hike any of these volcanos? Do you have other favorites? Leave a comment

 

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