Lesser known than its Central America neighbours – Guatemala and Costa Rica – Nicaragua boasts curvaceous beaches and majestic mountains aplenty, but the capitals real superstars are the 19 active volcanoes clustered between them. More specifically: Momotombo and Cerro Negro. So grab a board and a mate and go volcano boarding down the beast.
Momotombo is the beast of the pair at 1,258 metres above sea level. To put this into perspective, it’s 1 and a half times the size of the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest structure). Notoriously hard to climb, this cruel mistress actually cleared a whole city when it erupted in 1610. And although it hasn’t wreaked such havoc since, it also erupted in 1886, 1905, 2015 and earlier this year.
It pretty much tops the molten lava bucket list except for one teeny detail- you can’t slide down it on a piece of wood.
“Slide down an active volcano?” We hear you roar. Yes, that’s right. It’s actually a thing. Allow us to take you 58km west of Momotombo to meet your nemesis. She goes by the name of Cerro Negro.
161 years old sounds elderly, but Cerro Negro (Black Hill) is actually Nicaragua’s youngest volcano. Very much alive and kicking, CN has erupted 23 times. At 728m above sea level, the climb isn’t as challenging as Momotombo, but unlike Momotombo, once you get to the top you’ll be surfing down it at speeds of 30mph.
Cross your fingers, hold your breath and pelt down this gravelly gradient on a makeshift toboggan.
Now, if this was in the UK, the health and safety Gestapo would have a field day. Luckily for the intrepid daredevil, Central America enjoys a lackadaisical approach to danger. As one reviewer put it there are “no safety checks, no protection pads, no fail-safes and no brakes – so if you mess up you will hurt yourself.” Wowsers.
Still keen? You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. Last one to the finish line buys the first round.
Volcano Board Cerro Negro is situated in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range about an hour away from León, Nicaragua.
Boarding takes place all year round but in April temperatures reach highs of 35°C so if you do fancy a spring break, be sure to stock up on the h20.
What you need to know:
This is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s definitely on our bucket list!