When I booked my trip to Nicaragua I knew that I had to go Volcano boarding while I was there- after all, a trip isn’t complete for me until I do something wild. I was so dead set on volcano boarding that the second my plane landed I got on a bus to Leon – the city most famous for volcano for boarding.
When I got to Leon I signed up for volcano boarding with BigFoot Hostel to leave the next morning. Bigfoot Hostel is a great company to go with because they have the fastest boards compared to other companies – and you get beer and cookies at the end!
A common misconception is that you have to stay at this hostel to do the tour. I actually stayed at a slightly cheaper hostel down the street but still signed up for this tour and even joined their parties. The volcano boarding tour is about $30 – probably one of the cheapest high adrenaline activities out there!
The tour begins in the morning when you jump in the back of their truck to get driven down a bumpy road to the foot of the volcano. At the volcano you are given your board that you have to carry up the volcano. If you didn’t want to carry your board up, for just a couple of dollars you a local will carry it up for you. If you need to justify being lazy just say that you are helping support the locals.
It is a pretty steep hike and can get really tricky at the top. If you are small like me it’s extra tricky because as you get higher it gets very windy and your board basically turns you into a kite – I was worried I was going to be blown away!
Once you successfully make it to the top – and haven’t blown away – you have a chance to look around and enjoy the volcano in all it’s glory and take in the amazing view.
As you look down the side of the volcano that you will be going down it may be very intimidating and, well – it should be. Going 55km/hour down the side of a volcanic on a piece of wood isn’t for the faint of heart!
Luckily, they do supply you with an orange jumpsuit to wear (if you just got out of jail, feel free to bring your own). The fact that most of these jumpsuits had tears in them wasn’t the most reassuring news. We were also provided with goggles to protect our eyes. However – no helmets. Considering that you can get a concussion on snow I would assume you could on volcanic rock too – but I’m no doctor.
One tip I have for you is to bring a bandana to cover your face. When I was going down I was actually less worried about how fast I was going and more worried about the pain of the rocks flying into my face! I would have had a more enjoyable ride with some face protection.
Before you go down they give you a tutorial of how to ride your board and how to slow down using your feet as breaks. To be honest though, once you get your speed going there is no slowing down. There is either go faster or wipe out- and we saw some pretty crazy looking wipe-outs! Yet, another reason to bring a bandana.
The trick to not wiping-out is to make sure that you start with your board as straight as possible, because once you get going it’s hard to straighten it out. Your main priority should be keeping your board straight to ensure that you don’t lose control. Seeing people crash with a face full of volcanic dust didn’t look fun.
However, if you do survive it will be an amazing adrenaline rush!
What I didn’t realize is that you only get one go at it. The volcano is not like a ski mountain with chairlifts taking you back up to the top. The only way up is to climb. With the insane heat in Nicaragua, one climb up the volcano will be enough to tire you out for one day.
With a challenging hike, beautiful scenery and an adrenaline rush – volcano boarding makes an epic adventure! The great day is topped off by enjoying some mojitos back at the hostel with new friends…all while still covered in volcanic ash.