Our guide Ross asks for volunteers to go first. My apprehension and excitement mix into a potent shot of adrenaline, and my hand shoots skyward as if under it’s own volition.
I straddle my volcano board, just a simple piece of wood with metal mounted on the bottom. I look down at what appears to be a near vertical slope of small back volcanic rocks. I prepare to fly.
Ever since I climbed Mt. Fuji and gazed down upon it’s perfectly formed slope, I had always wanted to ride the side of a volcano. Fortunately, a nutty Australian saw a similar potential and turned this dream into reality.
So if you too have ever contemplated the prospects of rocketing down the side of a volcano, this guide is for you. To call it an epic Runaway Adventure is an understatement.
Where To Go Volcano Boarding
Leon, Nicaragua is yet another city on the infamous Gringo Trail but one with a unique attraction, Volcano Boarding! The best way to get here is to fly to Managua and then take an hour bus ride to Leon. For information on getting here and finding cheap flights be sure to check out my travel guide on Nicaragua. (Coming Soon)
Best Hostels in Leon
There are a few different Hostels in Leon. All are similarly priced with dorms for around 7$ and singles for about 20$.
If you’re looking to party, Bigfoot Hostel is where it’s at. It’s almost like a bar you can sleep at. The drinks are a bit overpriced and so is the food but compared to back home it’s definitely a bargain.
If you get peed on or are tired of partying, simply walk across the street to Via Via. Here you can find faster internet, quiet, and a courtyard fit for a 19th century British diplomat.
Who To Go Volcano Boarding With
There are a few different companies that offer Volcano Boarding tours. One of them is through Bigfoot Hostel. Although it’s not the cheapest at a price of 30$, I’m pretty confident it’s the most fun.
With Bigfoot, it’s not just about surfing down a volcano, which is awesome in it’s self, but rather an unforgettable day of drinking complimentary beers, mojitos, and eating cookies.
What To Bring and Not To Bring For Volcano Boarding
Unless you want to lose toenails, closed toed shoes are essential. Other good things to bring include water, ample sunblock, sunglasses and extra beer!
Since you have to volcano board down with everything you bring up, it’s a good idea to leave the DSLR’s and Ipad’s behind. Not only can they break if you wipe out but might even hurt you in the process.
Hiking The Volcano
The hike takes about an hour and on a danger scale between 1 to 10, it’s about a 7. The hike is made a bit harder by the fact that you have to haul a 14 pound board with you but it’s made easier by being in good company.
The winds vary by day but most of the time it’s pretty windy as you get to the top. As long as you’re in semi-decent shape it is definitely doable without too much pain.
Volcano Boarding Technique
If you want to go fast, lean your ass back. To go slow, lean forward. It’s definitely more fun to go fast though.
In the beginning, use your legs as breaks in order to get a feel for the board. But once you gain enough speed, there’s no turning back, and any attempt to stop will only cause you to wipe out.
Fortunately, the volcanic rocks are very forgiving. Although people have been seriously hurt, most wipeouts only end up with a mouth full of rocks. So definitely lean back and try to smash the 95 km/hr speed record. My speed: 48 km/hr.
Everything leading up to it and the epic Mojito fueled party after, makes Volcano Boarding that much more awesome.
With any thing you do and any place you go, it’s always about the people your with. And with our guide Ross and the great group of like-minded backpackers, the day I went Volcano Boarding was a day of pure fun and good times.
Recommend it to anyone? Who’s gonna break my record!?!