Whoever would think that an activity like volcano boarding exists ha? I didn’t know about it at all until one day during my research of Central America and the stuff to do in the region. All i knew is that I wanted to pass through all 7 countries and check out a few places along the way. But the more I researched the more information I had to soak in. Other than just making a draft itinerary I didn’t have any plan at all. It was due to this that when I met someone in El Salvador, they mentioned to me about the volcano boarding in Leon, Nicaragua.
So when I arrived into Leon from Tegucigalpa, Honduras the first thing I did at the hostel check in was to sign up for the volcano boarding the next morning. And I was so looking forward to it already. I met a couple of frencH travellers in the hostel and they had signed up for the next day too.
The following morning at 8am all of us, from various hostels across town, gathered at Viavia. After some instructions, a morning coffee, a cool t shirt and an hour off reading later, we arrived into the Cerro Negro national park. Once we signed our lives away, we had to carry the boarding suit, gloves, goggles and the 5kg board with us or a hike up the volcano.
With the blistering sun, a lot of huffing and puffing, few photo stops along the way we made it to the top just about 2hours later. The guide Tony who was responsible for the 30 of us boarding that day, was so hilarious throughout that getting to the top was like a breeze.
The view from the top was incredible. The black volcanic soil spread around the volcano, the green fauna right next to the black soil pool, the height from which we had to board, views of the country’s highest volcano etc made it all the more exciting. We all wore our boarding gear and were provided with further instructions about how to go down the volcano, how to control our speed and how to stay balanced etc.
So one after we lined up in 3 different lanes to head down about 800 meters of downhill slope. I sat on the board as instructed, with my. Um right at the back of it, legs outwards and hands holding the steering rope connected to the front. I also wore my GoPro, took a few trial video shots and started to hit the turf.
As I made my way down at about 40-50kmph I understood the need for the suit, gloves and goggles. The loose gravel from the volcano comes to you at such speeds like a pellet from the gun. Add to that the visibility isn’t too great either due to the dust that comes out with the foot sliding next to the board. As much as it seemed like a long distance to go down, it only took about a minute or less to go all the way. The bottom is a bit flat so the board comes to halt automatically, when gravity has no more work to do !! Volcano boarding was something similar to the luge ride in New Zealand but on a board without the wheels and a steering handle.
Once we were done we were provided with a cold water melon and that was such a welcome surprise and a perfect accompaniment in the hot midday sun. An hour on the shuttle truck later we were back at Viavia hostel for a couple beers before being whisked away later to Las Penitas beach for a sunset cocktail, beach volleyball and a swim in the Pacific.
What an amazing experience the entire day was. I wasn’t expecting to do something so cool but now that I think of it I’m super grateful for doing it and having an opportunity to do it too. It adds more to the feeling & experience, when you travel without any expectations ha. Everything feels so much more better.
Here are some photos of the day – https://www.facebook.com/716610088/posts/10163092895295089/
And CLICK HERE for the day’s video