León, Nicaragua: Volcano Boarding in Cerro Negro

There’s only one reason why backpackers would stop by León, Nicaragua: Volcano Boarding.  CNN ranked it #2 on their Bucket List, Reader’s Digest ranked it #4 in their death defying list.  All of these of course I didn’t know when I signed up for it, and I only heard it while already on the truck on the way to the volcano.  Still, I figured it would be fun, and since I’m here I shouldn’t pass up this kind of experience.  The group was composed mainly of hardcore hikers and adrenaline-junkies. So I felt I needed to look tough too.  The climb wouldn’t have been too bad if I didn’t have to carry a toboggan that felt like it weighed as much as me.  I lasted almost all the way to the top carrying it, until I got to the last steeper part of the climb, also the windiest,  and I just couldn’t carry my weight against the wind plus the board, so one of the guys carried it the rest of the way for me.  The view from the top was amazing.  Nicaragua (and most of C. Amer) have dozens of volcano, and it was a sight to see them in the horizon.  Then we looked down at the place where we would ride down and I thought what the hell was I thinking?  The way down has a 41degree incline: it was steep and scary.  After safety briefing and teaching us how to break and keep our balance, I decided I will break the whole way through.  The ride down was exhilarating, clouded by my foggy, scratched-up goggles, and volcano dust and stones everywhere.  And I mean everywhere: in my clothes, my mouth, my board, my face… I fell off the board 2x on the way down, and finished off at a speed of 23km/h!  (how embarrassing!)  The fastest in my group was 78km/h.  I didn’t care being the slowest, I had an awesome time.

Cerro Negro, the place for our volcano boarding

Cerro Negro, the place for our volcano boarding

me and cerro negro

first we hiked to the top

first we hiked to the top

smoke from the volcano

smoke from the volcano

see the orange dot at the bottom? That was our truck.  This is where we rode down.

see the orange dot at the bottom? That was our truck. This is where we rode down.

and this is what it looks like going down (see the orange dot racing down?)

and this is what it looks like going down (see the orange dot racing down?)

one of the craters of Cerro Negro

one of the craters of Cerro Negro

Volcanoes in the horizon.

Volcanoes in the horizon.