A bus journey, a quick change in Managua and I arrived in the lovely north eastern town of Leon. Leon was once the capital of Nicargua until 1857. Home to Nicaragua’s national university, the atmosphere here is healthy and buzzing.
A lot of tourists pass through this town, many of them hearing about the activity of volcano boarding.
Going down a steep, ashy volcano on a plank of wood at speeds of up to 90 km/h? Naturally I had to try.
First of all it is necessary to get up the volcano in order to come down from it. This involves about an hour of walking carrying your board which I was perfectly ok with, apart from when the wind tried to steal my board!
Some people did struggle however, but there were people there to help you with your board if you needed it. The paths were sometimes a bit unsteady too – good trainers or hiking boots are definitely needed.
The ride down looked scary at first, but it was so fun! Even if you do end up falling off the board when the tour guide is taking a photo of you…
All in all, it was a fun occasion and I am very glad I got up the guts to do it.
The activity is – like most others in the tourist industry – quite expensive. Most places offer the package for around $30, giving you a snack, a beer and a t-shirt to remember the occasion. Since I have been pretty scrupulous so far, I figured one splurge wouldn’t hurt too bad. Furthermore, the activity is partaken at one’s own risk, and some people have mentioned how it is dangerous. In my opinion, risk elements are there, but I felt entirely in control for the majority of the time…
Afterwards I took the shuttle to Las Penitas, a quiet beach town on the Pacific coast with huge waves. A sunset and some rum and cokes topped off a beautiful day, and it was back to the hostel bar for a much needed dance.
I’ve been out two nights in a row dancing to reggaeton and even trying to salsa. I’ve also made friends with two Nicargauans and met some really interesting people at the hostel.
Leon has been one of my favourite towns so far, but the east wind is blowing and it’s necessary for me to move on. Vaminos!