You might be in Nicaragua for the low cost of living, the incredible accommodations, the unparalleled weather or the beautiful beaches, but you won't want to miss out on the other natural attractions that the nation has to offer.
The Masaya Volcano National Park, for example, is home to several calderas and craters where you can watch smoke rise from the depths in a stunning environment. Learn more and start planning an epic day of adventure at the Masaya Volcano National Park.
All About the Masaya Volcano National Park
Masaya is a shield volcano that is estimated to be as many as 9,000 years old, but the national park surrounding it was only established relatively recently in 1978. Known to locals as the Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya, the national park is more than 20 square miles in size.
The volcano is one of 18 of Nicaragua's contributions to the Central American Volcanic Belt. It is important to remember that Masaya is an active volcano, although there haven't been any eruptions for many years. However, smoke and sulfur still pour from the caldera at the top of the crater, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this incredible natural landmark in Nicaragua.
Getting to the Volcano
There are several ways to get to the Masaya Volcano National Park as well as the top of the volcano itself. Many visitors opt to go on a guided tour that departs from the town of Masaya, which is 10 minutes away by car, or the city of Managua, which is just 30 minutes away by car.
It is also possible to drive a personal vehicle or rental car. Although the drive from the entrance of the park to the top of the crater is steep, it is safe and takes just five minutes. There are also taxis that will happily drive you to the crater, although you should organize a return transfer if you want to spend time in the park. Finally, there is the option of hiking from the park's entrance to the crater.
Things to do in the Park
The main reason to visit the Masaya Volcano National Park is to take a look at the main crater, but there are also several hikes that start from there. Signs highlight the trails, which are clearly marked. Most trails lead to other smaller craters, which are typically less crowded.
You can also hike just over three miles to the Tzinaconostoc Cave, which is home to thousands of bats. On the way up or down to the volcano from the entrance, you might want to stop at the visitor's center, which offers maps, exhibits and bathrooms for visitors. If you are interested in the wildlife of the park, joining a guided tour can be a fantastic option.
The Masaya Volcano National Park is home to skunks, coyotes, deer, monkeys, iguana, bats and countless bird species. A nocturnal tour opens a new window to the park at night.
If you've always wanted to see an active volcano, a trip to the Masaya Volcano National Park is the perfect way to spend the day in Nicaragua. Learn more about awesome things to do in Nicaragua.