Leon

Sliding down a volcano
Leon, Nicaragua

 


I’ve been away 2 weeks now. How did that happen?! Time flies by.

A fairly early morning – and off at 8.30am. After a short walk through the town, we arrived at the hostel which runs a rather novel trip – volcano boarding!

It costs $27 to join. This activity was named by the CNN as the number 2 to-do-before-you-die activities.

I’ve done sand boarding before – in the Atacama desert in Chile (a snowboard type thing and you go down a small sand dune). This is a bit different – here you sit on a wooden board, which has a metal bottom and a flat strip of plastic to make you go faster. You ascend the Cerro Negro volcano – 725m high – and slide back to the bottom, down a 41 degree gradient!!

It took an hour to drive to the volcano. Sat in the back of an old army style open truck! It was rather bumpy. At the entrance to the park, you pay an additional $5 entrance fee and you can also pay a local to carry your board up for $5. I did – as I am rather unfit. And it was in 37 degrees heat.

The volcano looked tall from the bottom.

And totally black.

Actually pretty cool.

The walk up took an hour. Across rubble and rocks. There were nice views all around (which you could appreciate when not dying from the heat!). All around were other volcanos, a view of the Pacific Ocean and some lava!

3.1398378445.view-from-the-top-of-cerro-negro

Once at the top, the way down looked very scary and steep! What am I doing?! We also got to look inside 2 of the large craters, which were cool.

The volcano is still active and the sand at the top was so hot!! We were given thick orange overalls to wear, as well as a pair of goggles. After a quick demo of what to do, we were nearly ready!

They let us down one at a time, there were 2 runs – one on the left and one on the right, both the same. I was rather scared! But you can go slower by putting your feet to the ground. I felt like I was going quite fast, it was actually quite fun!

3.1398378445.sliding-down

But at the end, where they measure your speed, I managed to fall off and ended up going quite slow – so was only 23 miles per hour! The fastest person of the day was 73 miles per hour! And the record is around 95 miles per hour.

I was covered in rocks and dirt! All in my hair and all in my clothes.

It took an hour to get back to Leon and felt even bumpier on the way back! And it was already 2pm by the time we got back!

Leon is an old colonial town, founded in 1524 and was the capital for many years. Again, every street you turn down seems to have a church! And on every street corner is someone selling cut up mangos! It was pretty.

By 3pm, we were back off again! Into the mini bus and enroute to Granada. The route was pretty – passing lots of volcanos. Monomtomo volcano being a perfect cone shape. We passed through the capital – Managua – with lots of traffic jams!!

Granada town is yet another colonial town, built in 1524, and is the oldest in Nicaragua. The town sits on the shores of the Lake Nicaragua – the largest lake in the country.

We arrived into Granada around 7pm and headed straight out for dinner. We headed to the main touristy street – Calle la Calzada. I was shocked, it was like stepping into Europe! And nothing like the rest of Central America.

The whole street was full of open air restaurants, tables and chairs lining the pedestrian only street, which was filled with rows of trees and street performers. We had dinner at one of the restaurants, which did amazing mojitos. I had some fajitas which were tasty. The street entertainment was really good – there were some break dancers which were amazing! It was fun – and a very strange place!

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