No Boarding pass for Volcano boarding in León
Boarding an actual active volcano got to be in your most wanted list of activities to do. If you like speed and excitement and at the same time something different, than volcano boarding is absolute a must do. The only place where you can board a volcano is near Leon city in Nicaragua. The Cerro Negro is the name of the still active volcano and the fact that it’s still active just adds to the excitement of climbing it and sliding it down.
It erupts about every 20 years and the last time was in 1999, so it’s possible it can still erupt this year as it has been 20 years already. I was lucky it didn’t happen the day I climbed it.
The Cerro Negro is about 45 minutes drive from Leon and at the entrance of the park where you pay the entrance fee, you can also rent a board that comes with a sack with pants, gloves, scarf and goggles in it. So if you go there by yourself like I did, not with any hostel or agency which charge you more, it is possible to get your gear at the Cerro Negro park. Make sure you check your board for bumps, I had a little bump in mine at the bottom and asked for another one with no bumps and with a good metal layer on the bottom, all these details are important of you want to get good speed when you will be sliding down.
First you need to hike up to the summit of the volcano carrying your 7kg boarding board on your back. It makes the hike up a bit harder because of the extra weight, but at the end the effort is very rewarding and no way that after this effort I would have second thoughts and back out the lastminute boarding it down after seeing the steep edge.
Finally ready for boarding. You don’t need a boarding pass 🙂
You sit at the very end of the board, keep your feet next to the board in the ground, it will make it easier to brake if you feel you are going down to fast, and hold the rope in front of you very tight to control the board and your balance. Don’t forget to put a scarf in front of your mouth and the goggles on your eyes, so little stones wont get in to your mouth or eyes.
The City of León
León is a colonial city and maybe the most authentic one of Nicaragua. León was just like Granada a former capital of Nicaragua before the honour went to Managua, which is the capital and biggest city of Nicaragua untill this day. León however is the second largest city of the country, the birthplace of Ruben Dario the famous poet of the country and Central America. It looks a bit similar to the city of Antigua in Guatemala, with the volcanoes that are visible from different parts of the city. The narrow streets with the style of the houses and many churches makes it a typical Central American city.
The Assumption Cathedral is the most famous landmark in León, from all churches it’s the most famous for its white rooftop.
When it’s a hot day and sun shines brightly the rooftop is unreal white, you better have sunglasses on, unless when it’s a rainy day like when I went than it’s not necessary to have sunglasses on as the white roof is less bright.
From the rooftop you have a great view over the city and it’s surrounding area, you can see the other churches where they are located, the volcanoes in short distance and the square down below where the daily life of locals takes place.
Places to visit around León
- The San Jacinto hotsprings
About 18 km Northeast of León in the town San Jacinto, there is this field with boiling mud pots, steam coming out of the holes in the ground. There is a path clearly marked between colored stones, so you know where to walk. You can go off the path but it’s best you have someone with you who knows the dangerous places in the ground where it’s boiling hot, cause once you go off the path it’s not marked where it’s dangerous and where it’s safe to walk.
There are hot spots on the surface that you can’t see
Local kids will be more then happy to guide you around to urn a dollar, cause they know exactly where to walk.
Visiting this place is very cheap, only 2 usd at the entrance boot.
- Rum Tasting at the Flor De Cana Rum factory
About 1 hour drive from León, heading in the direction of the biggest volcano in Nicaragua the San Cristobal, there is a rum Distillery and museum of one of the best, maybe the best rum in the world, Flor De Cana.The San Cristobal Volcano is actually on the label of every bottle of the brand. Never have I had rum before in my life, but this rum tasting tour was really worthed. First the guide at the site gave a tour on how they make the barrels where the rum is kept in, it’s almost as if you doing a studio tour in Universal studios, the same kind of buggies drive you around the complex.
Flor De Cana Tasting roomOnce you know the history behind the making of you actually get to taste it. I tasted a Rum that was 12 years old and one that was 7 years old, you clearly can taste the difference in quality, after a short movie about how it all started with this Rum, a last stop is being made at the museum with giftshop which is in the shape of a giant barrel. There again it’s possible to try a few shots for free of some younger rum. All the different kinds of Flor De Cana rum that I tasted where good. I can recomend this tour to everyone who likes a little taste of alcohol.