Nicaragua is home to a number of volcanoes, although only seven of them are currently active. While volcanoes might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Nicaragua, there is no question that they are a fascinating and integral part of the landscape as well as the tourism industry within the country.
If you know that you want to spot some volcanoes while in Nicaragua, but you aren't quite sure where to start, let this be your guide. Learn more about the most popular volcanic attractions in Nicaragua and how to best enjoy each one.
Cerro Negro Volcano: Sand Surfing for Serious Thrill-Seekers
If you are interested in seeing an active volcano that requires a minimal hike to get there but plenty of adrenaline on the way back down, try Cerro Negro.
The volcano's name means Black Hill, which is exactly what it looks like covered on all sides with black volcanic ash and cinder. Cerro Negro is relatively short for a volcano, coming in at just 500 meters tall, but it is the perfect size for sand surfing.
Wearing protective gear, you hop on a wooden board and reach thrilling speeds racing down the side of the ash-covered volcano. This is absolutely best done on a guided tour where you can learn the safest spots to sand surf and receive the correct apparel and eyewear for the adventure.
Masaya Volcano: Incredible Wildlife and Terrain
Masaya is an active shield volcano, and it is a popular spot both because it is just 30 minutes from the capital of Managua and because it is home to the Masaya Volcano National Park.
This park gives you the chance to see volcanic craters and smoking calderas, but you will also be surrounded by incredible flora and fauna.
Spot hundreds of bats in the Tzinaconostoc Cave, check out the exhibits and maps in the visitor's center or look for the coyotes, deer and even monkeys that live throughout the park.Cosigüina Volcano: Breathtaking Lagoon Crater
Since Cosigüina Volcano is dormant and hard to reach, it is not the busiest of landmarks. However, that makes it all the more appealing to travelers eager to get off the beaten track.
The force of an eruption more than 170 years ago created an enormous crater within the volcano, which is now a stunning blue lagoon. You can hike the many trails around the rim of the lagoon as well as up and down the volcano itself, and you can even swim in nearby hot springs for a completely unexpected adventure while in Nicaragua.San Cristobal Volcano: Tough Hikes for the Fittest Travelers
San Cristobal is the tallest of all the volcanoes in Nicaragua, and it is still active. Although San Cristobal is the main attraction, it is surrounded by four other smaller volcanoes that only add to the spectacular and dramatic views in the area.
Climbing the volcano and making the return journey, even on marked trails, can take a full day. For that reason, it should only be attempted by fit and experienced hikers who are prepared for the expedition. At the top, the effort is more than worth it, and you get to experience something the majority of people in the world never will.
Seeing a volcano up close and personal is one of the most interesting things you can do in Nicaragua. Whether you want a serious hike or just some amazing views, these volcanoes have it all.