Leon has already exceeded our expectations in the past two days. When we first arrived in the city, after a 16 hour bus ride, we made our way to Hostel Sonati. When we walked in the door, the entire location was full of people, music in the background, and pupusas for sale. The woman at the front desk said that the event would end in an hour and it was an event for the community to raise funds for their Eco-projects. I instantly already loved this place because they were giving back to the community. Our past two nights have been wonderful here and so far has been my favorite hostel to stay in because it is very clean, quiet, and run by Nicaraguans who know all the best spots to go.
We were both exhausted after the long bus ride, but we went out to grab some dinner and made plans for our next day to do Volcano Boarding at Cerro Negro. We didn’t want to make another mistake of missing a tour and having to stick around an extra day, like we did in Flores, so we surveyed a few places for the tour and decided on Bigfoot Hostel for our tour. The inventor of the sport is the owner of the hostel and their tour seemed to be the best bang for our buck. Despite our exhaustion, we made it out to a salsa club before getting in some good rest for the next day. I’ll be covering a review of the salsa place in Leon in a separate post.
We met at BigFoot Hostel at 8:45am the next day and boarded the truck to head to the volcano. It was a full tour, with about 25-30 participants, and the ride lasted about 30 minutes upon the rickety truck. The guide is a really outgoing guy, whose name I’ve forgotten, and he set the mood for the day from the very beginning with blasting music on the back of the truck the entire way to the volcano.
Once we arrived at the volcano, it was about a 45 minute hike up the side of the volcano all the while carrying our own board and jumpsuit. We didn’t bring any water up with us because the guide told us we would have to dump it out at the top anyway. The guide did a really good job of making the hike up the entire mountain continue in fun spirits with stops along the way to tell the history and story of volcano boarding and how it began and stopping for photos along the way.
Once we finally arrived at the top of the volcano, we all got into our bright orange jumpsuits, snapped a few photos, and waited in anticipation for instructions on this extreme sport! There were three lanes which had been created so that more than one person could go down at a time and the guide hopped on his board and made his way down to the middle of the volcano where he stopped so that he could snap photos of each of the boarders as they made their way down the volcano. I for one, am terrified of falling in general, so this entire experience was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I was still excited to experience this once in a lifetime experience offered only in Nicaragua.
We watched a few people head down the volcano,and then Oscar and I got into position at two lanes next to each other. Oscar headed down first and then I followed in the lane next to him. Oscar went down pretty fast, clocking at 34mp going down. I hopped onto my board and started my way down completely terrified because I couldn’t see the end (haha). The top of the volcano is a little slow, but once I hit the middle of the volcano where the guide was stationed, the board picked up speed and I was flying down the volcano with rocks flying up around me, my feet feeling the heat from the volcano, and the wind in my hair. It was such a fun experience and definitely one that I would recommend to anyone who will be making their way to Nicaragua. I only wish that we could have gone down the volcano more than once!
After we all had boarded down the volcano we hopped into the back of the truck where we were all handed an ice cold beer, which was just what everyone needed after standing in the heat for about an hour from the whole experience. We made our way back to the hostel where there were ice cold mojitos waiting for all of us, which we sipped while we watched the slideshow of all the photos our guide had taken. The hostel offers a shuttle to their beach house hostel, which is about 25 minutes away, which leaves at 3:00pm every day. After being in the hot sun all day on top of the volcano, Oscar and I decided it was only logical that we board the shuttle and spend some time in the ocean to cool off.
The beach side hostel is exactly what we were hoping for complete with a pool, view of the ocean, pool table, and bar. We made our way to the ocean, but realized that this trip would not be one where we would be enjoying with a nice calm swim. The waves were almost as high as the both of us and with such force that we were both hesitant about entering. Instead, we made our way back to the pool, grabbed a drink, and enjoyed the view. Around the time of the sunset we walked for a bit along the beach enjoying the sound of the waves and the incredible view. We set up the gopro to record the entire sunset, as it was one of the most beautiful ones that either of us has seen, and settled ourselves in the sand to enjoy. After a few minutes of enjoying the view out of nowhere, a wave reached all the way to where we were (and we were pretty far out) and wiped us both out completely. We looked back at the location where we had rested the Go Pro (which we thought was safe and was far away from the water), and the Go Pro was gone. RIP to our GoPro, along with all of the photos and videos from the day of volcano boarding. 🙁 🙁 🙁Happy Halloween to everyone back in the states! Today is my favorite holiday, but instead of dressing up and dousing my face with fake blood we will be spending it in a more traditional manner. There’s a local carnival happening tonight in the plaza and we plan to check it out. There is supposed to be vendors, a parade, and a ton of folkloric dancers. Those of you in the states, have a Halloween shot on us both and scare some kids!