It’s 6AM and I’m up and at it. My bag is packed and I’m ready to head out on a short hike to top of Cerro Negro only to sled back down, followed by a 2-day trekking adventure to the top of Volcano El Hoyo. When I arrive at the Quetzaltrekkers office, I’m greeted by our lead guide Langden, Brendan and Janette who is currently a guide in training.
As we wait in the lobby for everyone to arrive we’re instructed to fill up our backpacks to the brim with all of the necessary gear for our 2-day El Hoyo trek., This includes sleeping bags, mats, food, water, tents and more. Each of us packs 8 liters of water and we split up all of the other camping items amongst ourselves.
After we finished up packing our gear we headed into the Quetzal kitchen for our last full breakfast before the trek. Manuel, a Quetzaltrekker volunteer, cooks us up a really delicious Spanish omelet along with some fresh tomatoes, toast, and more.
We all fill ourselves until we can’t eat anymore and before we know it our truck arrives and we’re off to conquer Central America’s youngest volcano, Cerro Negro.
Welcome to Cerro Negro
One long, bumpy, unpaved road later we arrive at the ranger station at the base of Cerro Negro. Once everyone grabs their gear, we strap our volcano boards to our backs and listen to our volcano boarding guides tell us some history about Cerro Negro as well as the surrounding area.
As we start our ascent to the top of Cerro Negro, the sun is blazing in the cloudless sky. As we climb, the volcanic rock is crunching beneath our feet. At the halfway point we stop off to check out the views as well as check out a fumerol right around the corner.
Once we arrived at the top of Cerro Negro, we were instructed on the safest way to slide down the volcano without injuring yourself by the same guide who decided to run down it and ended up breaking his foot in the process.
It turns out that there is no “right” way to volcano board down Cerro Negro, although if you’re going fast and you throw down your foot to stop, your board will turn and you’re going to spill hard. I met a woman two days prior to my trip that looked as if she fell off of a motorcycle at 40mph, yet she crashed while volcano boarding and shredded her whole leg up. The volcanic dirt and rocks here feel like pavement when you crash. Since it’s an active volcano, it’s extremely hot as well.
Time to suit up!
We all suited up in our bright yellow full body suits, slapped on our gloves and hit the ash!
Did I go as fast as I thought I would? No. Although I wasn’t really interested in breaking any speed records either. All in all, I recommend you give volcano boarding a shot but don’t expect it to be the most incredible experience during your travels in Nicaragua. If you’re searching for the most incredible experience in Nicaragua, hike Volcano El Hoyo, it’s unforgettable.
CNNGo recently named Volcano Boarding on Cerro Negro as one of the Top 50 Experiences to try before you die. Check it out here.