Last year, I was lucky enough to spend the whole year hiking the amazing Nicaragua. A volcano land that stole my heart. I conquer several of its volcanos more than once, and the experience was awesome every single time. It was hard to choose my four favorite volcano hikes in the country, but here they are!
How could I spend a full year? I was working with a hiking tour operator in Nicaragua. But it is more, Quetzaltrekkers is also a non-profit organization who works with volunteers, and give all their profits to help local project related with kids. You can do several of the volcano hikes with them!
Besides working a lot with the non-profit side and the projects. I spent a lot of time hiking, discovering and falling in love with the volcanos. Of course, I also wasted time tired and being sore, but that’s part of the experience and a love it anyway!
If you are planning to hike volcanos in Nicaragua, discover unbelievable views and sweat a lot (when I say sweat a lot I mean all the time), I will give you my four must-to-do volcano hikes in the country.
Momotombo is probably the hardest hike in the country, you will love and hate the volcano at the same time. Rising 1297 meters high, Momotombo has a perfect volcano shape which will make you struggle.
You can hike it in one day if you wake up early. The first part of the hike, after crossing the geothermal plant on its bottom, is on the shade. After an hour, the trees will disappear and you will see a beautiful view of Lake Managua and Momotombito, the small volcano in the middle of the lake. Look up and focus on the top of the volcano, it seems close but it is an illusion. From that point, you will start the hard part.
The path is all sand and loose volcanic rock, be ready to crawl and climb with your hands because the path will turn a 45-degree angle. You will wonder several times: what am I doing here? But that’s what makes Momotombo so special, it is different from the rest, the hike is unique and impossible to compare with the other volcanos.
The summit’s steaming crater is the worst part of the hike, enjoy the views during the ascent, because once you rich the top the gasses will make you sick. How do you get out of there? Run past 40m high rock walls and slide, jump and ski down to reach the base of the volcano. Descending is the best part of the hike!
Cosigüina was once the tallest volcano in Central America until its powerful eruption in 1835. Ashes from the eruption fell as far as Mexico and Jamaica and the explosion was heard even in Costa Rica.
Potosi, the small town where you will start the hike, is one of the hottest places in the country. Be ready to sweat like never before. Consiguina´s hike is a gradual path between jungle and farms, in 4 hours you can be reaching its massive crater with a diameter of more than 2 km and a stunning blue lake at its bottom. And no, you can´t swim in it!
Be ready to enjoy the magic view from there. The summit also offers awesome views of Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador, not to mention the Golfo de Fonseca and the Pacific Ocean. It is like being at the top of the world!
Ometepe Island is the home of two superb volcanos, my favorite one Volcano Maderas (1394 meters). If you want to know my favorite places from Ometepe, don´t miss my post about it: Where is the beauty of Ometepe? Where I also explain more things about both of its volcanos.
The weather in Maderas is the opposite of the other volcanos in this post. You will be covered by fog all the time, which will make you wet during all the hike. The extreme humid is what makes the climb so interesting, your boots will be wrapped by mood and you will hear the monkeys around the jungle. Don´t expect great views from the top, or even during the hike, because the clouds and the dense jungle cover all around, the hike will get tougher with the muddy and slippery trail, the more you walk the worst it gets. Be ready to climb with your hands at some points. I said your boots will be covered by mood, I mean all your body will turn mood!
Once you reach the top, you can continue and climb down to the lagoon, like a real monkey, jumping branches and hanging out from vines! The lagoon is surrounded by trees and often covered by a thick mist, a mystique landscape that reminds me to the movie The Mist, so at one point I was expecting random alien creatures coming from me!
Descending the volcano will take time, if it was hard climbing the trail with tones of mood, imagine descending a super slippery path. If you are lucky with the clouds, you will enjoy a couple of viewpoints, where you can have a good view of Concepcion Volcano and Lake Nicaragua.
Telica was my first volcano in Nicaragua, and the volcano that I hike the most (around 20 times), I loved every hike! Telica is one of the most active volcanos, it actually erupted twice during my year, nothing tragic happen but the smoke clouds from its crater where visible from far away.
This hike will be sweaty and quite tiring. You will cross several corn and bean fields, but nature will be your closest friend here. The last part of the hike, if you start in San Jacinto town, will become pretty steep, the bright side is the several spots from where you will have a great view. You will know where is the end of the path because you will be speechless when you see the volcano and its crater rising from the valley, impressive!
The volcano is just over a kilometer high (1,061 meters) and has a huge crater with a diameter of 700 meters. Nicaragua is still a developing country and its tourist attraction are pretty new, that’s why you can walk to the very crater edge and lean out to see the 120 meters deep. The crater is often with smoke that makes impossible to see anything inside. Unfortunately, after the last explosion in May, you won´t see more lava during the night, I honestly think the hike and the volcano are still worthy, the lava was an extra attraction sometimes disappointed.
I recommend walking around and explore the campsite, a beautiful place care by the people from the nearby local community. Telica forms part of the Maribios volcanic chain that runs all the way down and includes several volcanoes, pay attention because you will see the volcanoes in line, some smoking and others dormant, but all of them creating an amazing and magic landscape.