Volcano boarding Leon, Nicaragua

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Sorry to everyone who saw the orange jumpsuits and thought that we were the next Gringos to be on National Geographic’s “Locked Up Abroad”. We may be crazy, but we haven’t started smuggling drugs yet. This post is all about the black stuff, not the white.

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Black Powder

Leon is home to a very unique volcano, a very active black cinder cone volcano named Cerro Negro. The wind is just right to carry the sands from all 23 recorded eruptions on to one face, making it the perfect place to fly down it on a small piece of plywood.

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600 meters down

Ummmm…. This sounded like a much better idea before we got up here. Is that the truck? That tiny orange spec? Yep.

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But that truck held like 30 people and was huge? Yep, that’s our truck…

The view from the top of the hill is intimidating for sure. What’s even more troubling is that you can even see the bottom because the last 200m gets even steeper.

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Old Skool Stand Up Boards

Top speeds have been achieved of 95kph (62mph) on these slivers of plywood, my goal: Survival

Our Ride

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We challenged the blackness with Big Foot hostel in Leon, they even bring a radar gun to see if you can break the record (or a body part). We had read in a Nicaragua travel guide they were one of the best to go with.  As intense as that sounds I think you would really have to be cruising to truly get messed up. Landing in the sand surprisingly doesn’t really hurt.

It’s such a lose sand it takes most of the energy out of your spill. I bit it just before the steep part of the hill while trying to take a little speed off, so I wouldn’t reach terminal velocity. My board ended up a few feet behind me and I had a minor scrape, the sharpness of the rocks is probably the only danger.

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Hannah had a slightly different and slower decent… Hannah left the top one turn in front of me, and the guides tell us when it is safe for the next person to start their slide. I reached the bottom after my ride and begun to get the sand off myself. I checked the truck for Hannah, I look through the group of people at the bottom, no Hannah.

After a minute or two of looking I hear my name coming from a ways up the volcano, it’s Hannah. A not very happy Hannah, walking down the last 100 meters of the hill. How, or what happened I am still not sure but she was fine just a little unsure of her sledding skills on the steep part of the hill.

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Post ride pictures! Look how happy Hannah looks!


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There will be sand in every orifice of your body… for days. I think I am still finding black sand in my ears and it’s been over a week ago!

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If you find yourself near Leon, Nicaragua take the trip out to Cerro Negro Volcano and sit your butt on a board. It’s got to be one of the most unique adventure sports out there, and for $25 for a day trip, totally worth it.

Plus how many of your friends can say they have done this??

13 thoughts on “Volcano boarding Leon, Nicaragua”

  1. That looks amazing (and slightly terrifying). I am up for trying this out, but my boyfriend isn’t a fan of anything that “endangers your life,” so i have a feeling he won’t try it.

  2. Interesting. I had a pretty decent time doing the volcano boarding. The funny (or not so funny) thing is that our guide decided to show off and instead of sledding down, he decided to run down the side of the volcano. He didn’t even make it half way down before he rolled and broke his ankle. Ultimate FAIL!

    • Adam loved it, and I think he loved it even more watching me walk down…Ouch to your tour guide! That might be a bigger fail then me walking my behind down!

  3. hahah oh dear, my reaction was similar but I don’t know if it was for the same reasons! I was the last to go down when we did volcano boarding and I was absolutely rubbish. I just dug myself into the sand and ash every 20 metres. The fastest I went was when I ran down the last section! I was very jealous of everyone who went speeding off before me.

  4. Hahaha, Hannah looks like she is HATING life in that photo. What archaic boards those are, but I think I would have so much damn fun doing that. And I’d probably end up doing something really stupid.

    • Oh I was hating life in that photo! I had rocks EVERYWHERE!!!! I am sure you would love it. Glad we did it, and now I can say I did it…..BUT I don’t ever need to do that again!!!


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