Updated: Feb 22
Cerro Negro is an active volcano near one of the most beautiful cities in Nicaragua, Leon and it is remarkable for many reasons. CNN has put volcano boarding on Cerro Negro on their list of 50 Crazy things you must do before you die, and not only this activity is on the list, but it is even number 2 in that selection!
Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in Central America, it is also one of the most active volcanoes in Nicaragua, erupting approximately every twenty years. Cerro Negro last time erupted in 1999, and till now has not followed the next eruption. And, of course, the main reason why this volcano stands out above others is, that you can board down this volcano.
WHAT IS VOLCANO BOARDING
Volcano Surfing or Volcano Boarding, is a sport performed on volcano slopes. The most popular slope is the Cerro Negro near Leon in western Nicaragua. Riders hike up the volcano and slide down, sitting or standing, on a thin plywood or metal board.
Volcano surfing can be an extreme sport. Potential dangers include falling off and getting cut by the rough volcanic ash, breathing poisonous gasses, contracting histoplasmosis (otherwise known as 'caver's disease'), or being hit by flying molten lava. Protective gear, including jumpsuits and goggles, is used. Cerro Negro is also an active volcano, although the last eruption was in 1999. Mt. Yasur is far more dangerous with volcanic eruptions occurring every day.
HOW TO GET TO CERRO NEGRO
Nowadays, there is no public transport to get to Cerro Negro, so you need to either take a tour or rent a car. Either way, it takes about an hour to reach the base of the volcano. You can, of course, enjoy the beauty of Cerro Negro without volcano boarding, but if you prefer to try this ultimate adventure, basically your only option is to take a tour because there is no place where you could solely rent a board.
WHAT TO WEAR FOR VOLCANO BOARDING
It all depends on the weather you will get on the actual day, but generally, it is very hot in Leon. The only problem can be rain during the wet season from May to November and never ceasing wind on the top of the volcano.
It's recommend to wear good hiking boots or at least shoes with sturdy soles because you will need to brake with your legs to slow down. As well having a multipurpose head wrap will help cover mouth and nose when going down because the slide is very dusty.
For your protection, every company will provide you with goggles, a prison-like jumpsuit so you won't destroy your clothes, and some companies will give you gloves as well. We also got small bags to carry jumpsuits and water to the top of the volcano more easily.
Usually, the guide takes a photo of everyone in the group on his mobile phone and share it later via social media, but you might want to take your own pictures of the volcano and before and after boarding.
ENTRANCE FEE & TOUR COST
2 – 6 persons : US$ 30.00 p.p.
7 + : US$ 28.00 p.p.
Volcano board gear
IS IT SAFE TO BOARD DOWN CERRO NEGRO
Generally, if you follow all instructions the guide will tell you, volcano boarding is a quite safe activity.
Of course, when you decide to break records, you must bear in mind that accident can happen, because the surface is uneven at some sections and you can lose balance. We were told that usually, people have scratches and scars when something happens in the worst case scenerio, and it is very unlikely to break your bones.
One of the most famous people who popularized Cerro Negro and overall Nicaragua was Eric Barone who rode down the volcano on a bike in 172 kilometers per hour.
Although he ended up in the hospital with many injuries and broken bones, he inspired other people who started focusing on the youngest volcano in Central America and tried to invent new ways how to enjoy the volcano and speed altogether, until one of them succeeded and finally put Cerro Negro and volcano boarding on travelers' map.
Volcano boarding was officially invented by an adventurous guy from Australia, who knew how to snowboard down sand dunes back at home but had to adjust this activity to the volcanic gravel surface.
The fastest people can ride the board down in speed hitting 100 kilometers per hour!
Nicaragua's volcano Telica erupts with huge clouds of black ash. The volcano's last violent eruption occurred in 1948.
Racing down an active volcano at 30 mph on a little piece of wood is really fun! But volcano boarding can also be a bit dangerous, so keep it in mind!