Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua

Cerro Negro - that's the face we're going down!
Cerro Negro – we’re going down that face!

I scooted my butt until I was right at the precipice and as I felt gravity taking over, I thought – ‘Well, here it goes’.

I should mention at this point that my friend Jamie got hurt hurtling down the same volcano. So I was a little nervous about doing this whole lets-go-down-a-volcano-on-piece-of-wood thing.

Then again, how often do you get a chance to go sledding down an active volcano?

Volcano boarding Leon Nicaragua
Getting ready to board down
Going down a volcano, Leon, Nicaragua
Looking down the volcano

Imagine my surprise when instead of going down at supersonic speed like I expected, I was barely moving faster than if I had been running down the mountain.

Apparently there’s too much friction. I kept pushing behind me with my hands, “Faster! Faster!” – but somehow that only added to the friction. I slowed down even further.

Eventually I went to a complete stop.

This was not part of the plan.

“Maybe you’re too heavy” – says my guide when I was shouting for instruction on how to go faster.

Too heavy?

Do I look heavy to you? Maybe a little bit, but it’s the suit!

Sexy jumpsuit we get to wear while volcano boarding Cerro Negro
It’s the suit, I swear!

Then again, everybody else is zooming down past me on my left and right so I guess it is not only possible to go down fast, it’s actually the norm. I’m the exception.

Coming down cerro negro
See the wisps of dust? Waaay up there?

Oh well…

Even though it wasn’t quite the death-defying stunt I was half excited and half nervous about, it was still good fun. Everybody wished that the the mountain that looked so tall and daunting on the hike up, were just a little longer on the slide down. I almost wished it was a little bit steeper too.

Does volcano boarding look fun to you?

Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua

Volcano boarding Cerro Negro
Many agencies in Leon offer volcano boarding. Bigfoot Hostel makes a big party out of it: $30 gets you a celebratory beer at the base at the mountain, and 2 mojitos back at their bar. Quetzaltrekkers gives you a chance to go down twice. It takes half a mountain to get used to controlling the board, so going down twice is worth considering. You do, however, have to hike back up (45 mins).

You can pay extra for a standup board. It looks cool BUT you end up sinking so much more. Really, you’ll probably go even slower than I did.

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25 Replies to “Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua”

  1. Ooh this is on my bucket list, I go to Nicaragua every few months but I never go up north so I’ll have to do this one day. It looks fun! To be honest, I thought people fell more haha! Guess you’re a natural volcano boarder 🙂

  2. It does sound great fun assuming you can pick up a little speed of course. That sounds like the kind of thing that would happen to me… (is there a clause in my travel insurance excluding volcano boarding I wonder! 😉

  3. And I thought walking on the crater of an active volcano was exhilarating! This looks like great fun! I'm a lover of snow boarding but have never tried sand or erm volcano boarding! We spent some time in Nicaragua in 2011 and I'm disappointed we didn't hear about this crazy activity. I'm sure we would have been first in line to join in the madness! Although as Jaime mentioned above…no helmet?! Perhaps they thought it would push over your weight limit even more! Of course that was a joke, you look waif thin girl!

  4. I can't decide if this looks fun, or if I'm reading a post about the thing that would cause my premature death, as Nicaragua is verrrry high on my travel wishlist. Only heard great things about it.

    Also, too heavy?! I hope you backhanded the volcano board dude.

  5. Ha ha, love the jeans patches on the bum part of the outfits! But men, that looks a bit scary. I would have been pleased not to go down very fast actually.

  6. It reminds me of Toboggan in Australia. By the way, I remember there was a time when I slid down an ice track in an indoor ice arena in Surabaya. All of my friends successfully zoomed down, but I went into a complete halt in the middle. 🙂

  7. It sure looks steep enough for me! I saw some people doing this on sand dunes in New Zealand. It sure looked like fun and you could hear them screaming and laughing with joy all the way down!

  8. Volcano boarding looks totally awesome to me. wow what a great and unique experience, I would love to try it out one day. haha I think the problem is that you are not heavy enough, maybe it is the same as on water slides the heavier you are, the quicker you go 🙂

  9. Looks like a lot of fun. I would try it but somehow I think I wouldn't go as fast as I would want too OR I would fall on my face and end with a nice volcanic facial lol.


  10. After climbing Villarrica in Chile we had to slide back down – but it was on snow! Still was my fav part and I bet this was just as awesome

  11. Hey Jill, I've never heard of volcano boarding before. That looked so much fun!! And you looked you had fun although its not as death defying as you might have wanted it to be. It's good you took with such great sense of humor. Beautiful shots.

  12. Wow- I've descended mountains on my butt before, but never on purpose! And "screw you" to the guy who said you were too heavy. Obviously he gave you a defective board.

  13. Wow, what a unique experience… That's wild!

    Sorry your experience was different than others', but as someone who has suffered far too many concussions from travel mishaps, you were probably much better off going slow!

    Safe travels. 🙂

  14. That looks like SO much fun! Too bad you didn't get to fly down the hill, but it was probably safer that way. And I was thinking the same thing as Derek – maybe you were too light!

  15. Oh yeah, I would definitely give volcano boarding a shot — looks like fun! Interesting that you slid down slower than everyone else. Maybe rather than being too heavy you were too lightweight…you know, not enough weight for gravity to take over and really propel you down 🙂

  16. Ah it's a shame you didn't role down to your death… lol I am JUST KIDDING. You are so lucky you went down slow. You know what I would give to do it again and go down slow? I mean seriously I still remember how it felt after I got up. It was so much pain and I seriously was like WTF I just rolled down a volcano?

    Glad you did it though. Don't you think it's strange they give you all the protective gear but NO helmet?

    Ahhh Nicaragua, how I miss it so much!!! Part of me seriously wants to take off and live there for a long time with the lil money I have saved.

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