Listed as #2 on CNN’s “Thrill Seeker’s Bucket List: 50 Experiences to Try Before You Die”, volcano boarding was the activity we were looking forward the most during our trip through Nicaragua. To slide down an active volcano on a wooden board at extreme speeds, sound crazy right!? And it certainly was! C-R-A-Z-Y, but so fun! A must do when you’re traveling to Nicaragua. Brave enough to go volcano boarding by yourself? Here’s everything you need to know before you slide down. Let’s go!
Volcano boarding, how it all started
Volcano boarding is invented by (what else!) a crazy Aussie, Daryn Webb, Bigfoot Hostel’s original owner. In 2004, he first tried riding down the volcano on a picnic table, fridge, and mattresses until he created a sit-down toboggan. The adventure sport was born! Today it has grown to become the most popular activity and extreme adventure you need to do in Nicaragua.
Where to book a volcano boarding experience?
Bigfoot Hostel is the place for volcano boarding in Nicaragua. Located in the heart of León, this place is easy to find. It offers daily trips at 9 AM, including transportation in their Monster Mercedes Benz Truck, guides, equipment, water for the hike and fruits + beer after you’ve finished. You’ll also receive a free shirt and an afternoon beach shuttle to the Bigfoot Beach House at Playa Penitas if you like to catch some waves afterward. Only 20 minutes away from León and a magical place to watch the sunset!
Reservation can be made at the spot or in advance via this link. The whole adventure will set you back $33 per person including everything described above.
What do you need to wear and pack?
Important that you wear closed toe shoes or trainers, comfy clothing and that you bring some water and sun cream with you. A bandana to cover your face is also helpful. If you’re taking a camera, don’t bring big or expensive ones with you and take a protective case to wear it around your neck or on your chest during the slide. Oh yes, and a little cash to pay the $5 for the park entrance which is not included.
The way up
After a bumpy truck ride of one hour, you’ll arrive at the foot of Cerro Negro. You’ll quickly get some safety tips, and then you hike up the volcano for 45 minutes with your board. You can also pay $5USD to one of the locals carrying your board to the top for you. A great option if you like to support the local economy or to hide if you’re in a lazy mood that day!
During the hike, you’ll enjoy stunning 360-degree views and walk around the crater. On top of the volcano, you get the chance to look into the crater and you will be able to see and feel how active the volcano is. One word: WONDERFUL!
The way down
Time for some action and for some butterflies in your tummy! Before sliding down, your guide shows you some quick boarding techniques, you put on your prison-like orange jumpsuits, take a selfie and then you’re ready to go.
Sit down on your board, lean back and use your feet as brakes. The deeper you put your shoes in the sand, the slower you go. It only takes 30 seconds to go down, so enjoy!
Bigfoot Hostel really makes a unique experience out of it. They record your speed and take pictures the whole day and while you’re sliding down. Their in-house record is (again) a crazy 93 km/h. And they offer prizes for the fastest boarders.
But what about us? We both got safely down, but our measured speed was not that incredible. A shameful 17 km/h for myself (yep, I ended last), and 36 km/h for Mik. I got rewarded with a bucket of ice-cold water over my head and had to stand the lava shot challenge. Luckily I found a sweet guy who wanted to take the shots. (bad stomach)
Anyway, we had the ride of our lives and can only highly recommend doing this by yourself once in your life.
Thank you Bigfoot Hostel for having us!