According to CNN Travel, volcano boarding is the 2nd most daring thing you can do on vacation! 😮
What makes this activity so thrilling, is not only that you are blasting down the side of an over 1600-foot-tall volcano, it’s that Cerro Negro is also one of the region’s most active mountains! 😮To go volcano boarding down Cerro Negro, I went with a company called Volcano Day, which operates out of León. My excursion included round-trip transportation to Cerro Negro, a guided one-hour hike to the top, gear rental, photos, a free t-shirt, and a free celebratory beer! Cost: 30 USD
The day began when our group hopped into the back of the company’s pick up truck in León and made our way to Cerro Negro. At that point, we had already picked out our free t-shirts and signed a liability waiver for this dare devil stunt. 😮
After an hour ride, we reached the base of the volcano. Cerro Negro translates to ‘black hill’, which makes sense considering the volcano’s color, which is the result of cooled lava and ash from frequent eruptions. That last one being in 1999.Side note: These small hills are also two recently formed craters next to Cerro Negro.
Anyway, before we began walking up Cerro Negro, we gathered our belongings necessary for the hike. First we were given a backpack filled with gloves, goggles, and a jumpsuit. It was recommended that we also bring water and a bandana to shield our face from the ash. I even brought my Go Pro. Lastly, we were given a wooden sleigh, which we would carry up the volcano. It was heavy, but there was the option of a porter (5 USD), if we got too tired.Our guide for the day was Said, a goofy, yet knowledgeable character, who started the day by giving us background information on the history of volcano boarding. It began in early 2000, when a French cyclist, Éric Barone, decided to bicycle down this volcano at a record-breaking 107 mph.
This sparked the idea in a local business owner to create a rideable board, in hopes of increasing tourism on Cerro Negro. Well, after trying everything from car hoods to fridge doors, they finally found success in a simple wooden sleigh! Hah! Tourists have been riding this volcano ever since, and this business is considered one of the primary sources of income for the area.Anyway, from there we began our rocky hike to the summit.After reaching the top of the volcano, we took a break so that we could appreciate the surroundings.Aside from the thrill of sliding down Cerro Negro, one of the highlights of visiting this volcano is the fact that it has no trees, and offers an obstructed view of the surrounding area. The combination of lush green vegetation set against the black, cooled lava makes for an incredibly scenic sight! ❤As well we were able to feel the heat from the volcano and appreciate the smoke vents of this active beast. We even saw old seismic activity reader that apparently got struck by lightning! 😮Before boarding, to calm everyone’s nerves, our guide Said made us pose for few fun photo ops! 😛
Here is my old friend Ashok from Honduras who coincidentally joined the same tour as me. He is the oldest man to board with Volcano Day, at 73-years-old! 😮
At this point, everyone was in good spirits, so Said had us suit up in our gear. He told us we were his little minions. 😛I thought we looked more B.A., like characters from Breaking Bad. 😎
At this point Said also went through the basics of riding the board. He told us first to keep our feet on the ground, and not on the board, since it would throw off our balance. Next, if we wanted to go slow, we could extend our legs, and if we wanted to go fast, we could lean back. If wanted to hurt ourselves, we could do this! Hah! 😛
After the talk, we took turns blasting down the two runs on the volcano. I went at a moderate speed, didn’t hurt myself, but got one heck of an adrenaline rush! 😀After the ride was over, we were loaded up in the truck, where we were whisked off back to León for celebratory beers! 🍺 🙌Overall, a super fun activity to add to any thrill-seekers bucket list! ❤