León…..let’s slide down a volcano!

We had read about volcano boarding before we came to Nica but didn’t plan on ending up in León so once here we decided to check it out. Apparently this is also on CNN’s list of 50 death defying things to do before you die. Our hostel was giving a deal, $30 for the tour, a beer and two mojitos at the end and free breakfast if you booked another night, considering we were going to stay another night anyway this was a great deal.

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Lounging before breakfast

I woke at 7 am and headed to the cafe to get some coffee and breakfast. Clark and Laura decided to do there own thing so Harmony and I had a quick breakfast and jumped in the giant orange truck that would be taking us up to Cerro Negro for the volcano boarding. What volcano boarding essentially is, is sitting down on a sled fashioned of plywood with a strip of formica on the bottom that allows you to slide down the volcanic pebbles on one side of the volcano. Some people have gotten up to upper 80+ km per hour.

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Cerro Negro – see if you can spot the track we’d be sliding down

We took a bumpy 45 minute ride outside of León on gravel roads twisting through farmland and ranches. As we passed a school some children waved and yelled ‘hola’ at us, and the men on horseback who had to move out of the way of our truck waved at us as well. As Cerro Negro loomed in the distance and the track we were going to slide down was pointed out I started to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into, the volcano looked STEEP.

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Parked at the base of Cerro Negro

We parked at the base of the volcano to begin our trek up the hill, it was slightly slow going for. It as the volcanic rocks slipped and slid on each other. Normally I don’t advocate for certain types of travel gear, but the Adidas Approach shoes I brought as my everyday wear had amazing grip, especially for this type of climb. We took a break halfway up, and then another before we reached the summit where we’d begin our descent. Our guide pointed out to us the line of about seven volcanoes, including the one we were standing on, which happened to be the youngest at 161 years old and also the most recently active. Nice to know at any moment we could be in the middle of an eruption, no wonder they didn’t make us sign any waivers, ha.

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Starting the trek up the volcano

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A much deserved break halfway up

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At the top of Cerro Negro

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On top of a volcano….that’s right, a VOLCANO!

The views from the top were amazing, you could see smoke wafting out of some crevices and smell the sulfur. If you scraped off an inch or two of the upper surface rocks the area under was super hot to the touch. Our guide explained how we were supposed to sit, steer, break et and it was time to head down the volcano. Harmony was the first to go down and looked to be hitting s pretty decent speed, I wish I could say the same for me.

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Suited up

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Let’s do this!

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Harms getting ready for her speedy ride down

Volcano boarding is harder than it looks, or it least it was for me. Ideally you want to tighten your core, lift your legs off the ground while leaning back and let gravity do its work. Apparently easier to write than perform as I could not do any of the above with any sort of skill or regularity. I ended up sliding to a halt w couple of times coming down and arrived at the bottom slightly disappointed and with an embarrassing radar reading that I’ll not share.

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Ida from Denmark and Harmony – first ones down the volcano

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My volcano boarding skills were below my expectations

All in all it was a fun experience and I definitely recommend it if you’re coming to León, if anything for the hike, the company and if it suits your, for the cold beer they give you an the ride back and the two mojitos waiting at the hostel. For $30 including a nights stay and free breakfast, totally a deal. Another win for Bigfoot Hostel.

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So the worst beer we’ve had here has another variation – equally as gross

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Harms savoring the victory of her second place finish