ACTIVE VOLCANO BOARDING: Leon, Nicaragua
Every time I do an extreme activity I say it's one of the scariest things I've done. Well, volcano boarding down an active volcano is hands down the scariest thing I've done. I reached speeds of 67km (42 mph) on a piece of wood... Trust me when I say I didn't intend to go that fast. It was one of the most exhilarating, insane, but fun things I've done.
The day started out at 8:30am at Bigfoot Hostel. We loaded up in a bright orange Mercedes monster truck and headed toward Volcano Cerro Negro. It was a bumpy trip, but one hour later we were standing at the base of the active volcano. Looking up at it from below was a bit intimidating. I could see others hiking up, and knew I'd be that person very soon. After a quick bathroom break at the entrance, we prepared ourselves for the hour long hike up. It is a steep hike, with lots of loose gravel, and no shade. The views around you are amazing. Once at the top, the adrenaline kicked in. Holy crap, it was a lot higher than I anticipated. There was no turning around now though.
The tour guide asked for two people to go first... No one responded. I think everyone was freaking out a bit at that point. Rhys and I decided, YOLO, and we volunteered to go first. What's the worst thing that could happen right? Again, you’re sitting on a wooden board with only a rope to hang onto. Rhys went first. I watched him speed down the volcano, but lost sight because it's that high up. Then it was my turn. They tell you at the beginning you can control the way you turn, and your speed. That's bullshit. I started out feeling a bit out of control. I tried to slow myself down with no luck. My feet were flying everywhere (you're supposed to keep them on the ground), and I could feel myself picking up more speed. About half way down, I was holding on for dear life. Finally, I could see the bottom. At this point I knew I just needed to hold on another 20 seconds, but I could feel myself slipping off. At the very end I had to make the decision to tuck and roll. I escaped with no injuries except a little cut on my knuckle. Once down, they told me I reached speeds of 67km (42 mph). I was the fastest girl in the group, and only 3km off from the record of the day. I was thinking I'd sled down and enjoy the views, slowly. My plan obviously failed. Rhys ended up reaching the same speed as me. Safe to say, I had enough adrenaline in me that my legs were trembling. Now to watch everyone else fly down the volcano.
One guy in our group crashed hard. When I say hard, both of his shoes flew off, and he barrel rolled about 6 times at 70km... I thought for sure I just saw someone die in front of me, but thankfully no. Those Canadians sure can take a fall. He got back up, but had a bloody face and leg. Thank God I didn't see that before I went, or I would have seriously debated about doing it. Just know before you sign up to do this, it's not the safest activity. I try to think of the positives though. It was an experience I'll never forget, and can safely say it was probably one of the more dangerous activities I've done. If you have a need for speed this is totally for you, or if you just want to check "sledding" down an active volcano off your bucket list.
$30 at BigFoot Hostel, $5 for national park fee, and 5$ to have your board carried up (totally worth it).
They include a free t-shirt, beer, cookie, wooden board, goggles, jumpsuit, rum/coke, and a trip to the beach after, if you’re keen.
Total: $40 USD per person
- It is 726 meters above sea level (2,382 feet)!
- The fastest speed (At BigFoot) is 95km for guys and 92km for girls.
- CNN rated this #2 on "Thrill seekers bucket list".
- Cerro Negro stands for Black Hill, and is the most active volcano in Nicaragua!
- The last eruption was in 1999. It is due to blow anytime now....
- Bring something to cover your face, because there will be a lot of rocks and dust flying around as you sled down the volcano. For $1.50 you can buy a bandana at the hostel.
- Don't forget lots of water. There is no protection from the sun...
- Hold on for dear life....