Volcano Crater? Checked!

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Okay, my definition of a “holiday” may not be everyone’s.

But I am not on holidays. I am traveling, backpacking, exploring… and yes, climbing stuff.

After pyramids in Mexico and the fortress in Masaya, I decided to tackle Volcán Masaya, Nicaragua’s most heavily venting volcano. And yes, you can do it without a guide—gotta love this country!

From Granada, I hopped onto one of the many Managua-bus bound and I was dropped off in the middle of the Panamerican Highway, right at the entrance of the Parque Nacional Volcán Masaya. I paid the $4 admission fee, acknowledged that it was “adventure tourism” and that I wasn’t going to sue if the volcan start erupting, and went on my way, my bag stuffed with two bananas, a litre of water and a couple of sweet breads.

I walked one kilometre to the Visitor Centre where I signed in and started the 5-kilometre steep hot climb to the crater. The paved road meandered through lava-strewn fields and forests. I passed signs warning of snakes, trees bearing beautiful flowers contrasting with the dark and desolated landscape and mountains of dark rocks.

About halfway, the trail started to become very steep and my legs were burning. Eventually, I spotted the Cross honouring the priest who went down into the volcano to find out whether the lava was pure gold (hint: it wasn’t).

The last kilometre was painful but it was worth it. Once at Plaza de Oviedo, standing right at the lip of a volcanic cone—a volatile one—, breathing sulfurous gas, was amazing. I mean, where else in the world can you do that?

“That sucks, can’t see anything with that steam!” I heard people complaining.

I loved that steam. I mean, I wasn’t exactly expecting to see bubbling lava like in the cartoons. It’s, ahem, and active volcano. Like in Niagara Falls, when you are standing right by the falls, all you see is mist. And you have to imagine how deep the crater is, and what’s going on down there.

I didn’t go check—signs naively warned me not to.

After swearing I wouldn’t walk any further, I did climb to the other cone, where the view was very different but as dramatic. It reminded me of “Mount Doom” in New Zealand.

The five-kilometre walk back to the highway was painful but I am glad I pushed my body a bit. I had zero expectations going to this National Park (as usual, it was a last minute decision I took when I realize I could do the hike without signing up for a tour) and I was blown away.

And then I had a piece of chocolate cake. Cause I fucking deserved it.

You can see the com­plete set of Nicaragua on Flickr.

On the Panamerican Highway

On the Panamerican Highway

Park Entrance

Park Entrance

Starting the Hike

Starting the Hike

Beginning of the Trail

Beginning of the Trail

So, Lava and Snakes, Eh?

So, Lava and Snakes, Eh?

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Hiking To The Crater

Just a Burned House...

Just a Burned House…

The Last Kilometre

The Last Kilometre

The Last Kilometre

The Last Kilometre

At The Crater

At The Crater

Volcanic Ashes

Volcanic Ashes

Duh!

Duh!

The Steamy Crater

The Steamy Crater

The Steamy Crater

The Steamy Crater

The Steamy Crater

The Steamy Crater

The Steamy Crater

The Steamy Crater

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

The Other Volcano

Mirador

Mirador

Standing There

Standing There

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

8 Comments

  1. As a volcanologist, I highly approve ;)! The photos look amazing and it’s now added to my list of volcanoes to visit. Thank you!

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