Volcano Boarding: The Fast and the Filthy
Having spent 10 fairly expensive (relative of course) days in Costa Rica I was looking forward to entering the cheap, backpacker haven that is Nicaragua. With promises of cheap food, cheap hostels and beers under a dollar I was certainly keen to cross the border – I could barely contain my excitement! As it turned out my excitement bubble was burst as soon as I passed through customs and learned that drones were illegal in Nicaragua, but I’ll save that story for another time. I reluctantly left my drone with a bloke called Norman and carried on through to Nicaragua.
The first stop was San Juan del Sur, where I took part in the world renowned Sunday Funday which was the biggestpool party/pub crawl I’ve ever been too. Next was Ometepe, a small island home to two volcanoes (see my post here)
The first stop was San Juan del Sur, where I took part in the world renowned Sunday Funday which was the biggestpool party/pub crawl I’ve ever been too. Next was Ometepe, a small island home to two volcanoes (see my post here) which boasts some tough hiking as well as relaxing natural springs. Then it was onward to Granada for some small-scale city living and volcano climbing where I saw lava for the first time at Volcano Masaya! Finally it was time to head to León to do what I had been looking forward to for weeks – VOLCANO BOARDING! If you’re ever in León please go and stay at Poco a Poco Hostel – it has the greatest hostel vibe, a fully stocked out kitchen and the most adorable chocolate lab puppy!
I booked the boarding tour through Bigfoot Hostel and for $30 the tour included transport, all equipment, a beer, some snacks and the famed volcano boarding singlet! We were trucked out to the volcano in a group of 40 or so, all of us very excited, some of us a little nervous about what we were about to do.
Cerro Negro is an active cinder cone volcano in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range and is also one of the youngest in Central America. It last erupted in 1999, and has erupted a total of 23 times since its birth in 1850. The peak sits at 726 metres above sea level and boasts a 550 metre boarding track at an angle of 42 degrees – should be plenty steep to get some decent speed up!
Our group geared up and started the hour long hike up to the top. It’s not a very tough hike but can get tiring if you’re carrying your board up yourself. If you’re struggling you can pay the guides $5 to carry your board up for you – but only a couple of people in our big group decided too. Work those biceps!!
After reaching the top, posing for our photo shoot and suiting up (pink party suit not included!) it was time to ride! We had a quick lesson in how to go fast, grabbed our boards, lined up and waited for our turn. The nerves built up more and more until it was time to go – then I just leant back and waited for the speed!
And waited. then waited some more. Turns out my derrière was not meant for volcano boarding as I trickled over the finish line, measuring a pathetic 24 km/h. But as a consolation I was the dirtiest person on the hill, literally no one had as much soot and dust on themselves as I did which I think is a pretty impressive achievement! Take a look below!
And the best way to celebrate being a pathetic volcano boarder? Sharing a few beers with new friends on the bumpy ride home! Something tells me I should stick to diving though…