Recently voted by TNT magazine in the top 5 adventure travel experiences, it would be rude to head to León in Nicaragua and not give volcano boarding a go. After all, it’s been touted as a thrill-seekers’ dream, with a top recorded speed of 98kmph… Sign me up!
Based at the Bigfoot Hostel, the boarding itself is about 45 minutes out of town, at a young (only 160 years old), and still active volcano. Why is this particular volcano great for boarding? Well the rock is super small, light and porous – which makes it kind of like sandboarding.
So, let’s get started!
All aboard the party bus! It’s a cramped and bumpy ride but all part of the fun! We arrived at the Cerro Negro volcano (which erupts roughly once every 10 years) ready and raring to go!
We grabbed a board and a bag (containing a rather fetching orange boiler suit) and we were on our way!
The hike across the ridge was hella windy, made even worse by having to lug that huge board up there! Check out these rather beautiful photos with a quiff that Elvis would be jealous of…
Wow. What a hike. An hour later and we’ve reached the top. I can’t wait to get down to our teeny tiny little bus!
And now for the main event! Boiler suits on, goggles firmly on my face, I get in line to throw myself down a volcano of up to a 45 degree incline. Adrenaline, speed, gimme gimme gimme.
Wait a second, is that rain? Oh well, a spot of rain never hurt anyone. But this is actually quite a lot of rain. Like, more rain than I have ever seen in my life. And it’s coming down SIDEWAYS! Holy shit – take cover behind your board, this is serious!
At this point I can barely see my hand in front of my face and I’m soaked through. Not quite the experience I was hoping for.
Everyone just hurry up and get down this mountain, yeah???
Right about now, our photographer has given up and put her equipment away. So no hope of photos then.
My turn finally comes and I’m sitting on my board, not caring how fast I’d go, or how scary it was (actually, it really wasn’t that scary), I just wanted to go to the bottom!
I pulled up feet up and off I went. Your board automatically follows a track, so it’s a bit like sledging really. Faster and faster, rocks flying everywhere, wet rocks sticking to my face, and piling into my boiler suit.
This is actually brilliant!
Waaaaa!!! I zoom past a guy who jots down my speed and feel like I’m going pretty fast.
It turns out I’m only doing 28kmph.
But you know what? That worked for me, and it was so wet I was surprised I went that fast. Wind in my hair, not a care in the world, flying down an active volcano – this is living!
Then all of a sudden it was over. I wanted to run back to the top and do it again. Wanted to come back on a dry day and beat my record. I’ve made a promise to myself that I will go back one day and end this unfinished business!
A couple of my friends made it down before it started raining, the lucky buggers! Here’s one of them enjoying their volcano boarding experience!
So overall, an amazing experience! I’ll be back, and hopefully next time I won’t end up looking like this….
Have you ever done this, or would you ever consider it? Let me know by using the comments box below…