Volcano Boarding!

I went Volcano Boarding! (and lived to tell about it…)

Volcano Boarding is #2 on CNN’s “Thrill seekers bucket list: 50 things to do before you die.” They say Cerro Negro Volcano in Nicaragua is the only place in the world that has it. Naturally I booked my flight right away. It was so much fun!

Here’s the experience, in 26 photos:

Prison Break? Orange Is The New Black? Nope - we're on the top of a volcano, about to sled down as fast as we can. Volcano Boarding!
Prison Break? Orange Is The New Black? Nope – we’re on the top of a volcano, about to sled down as fast as we can. Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua!
Volcano Jumping! - Volcan Cerro Negro
Volcano Jumping! – jumping on top of Cerro Negro volcano in Leon, Nicaragua

What is Volcano Boarding?

It’s a bit of a misnomer – Volcano Boarding is less like snowboarding, and more like sledding. You’re not standing up; instead you’re

Cerro Negro is a live volcano, which erupted as recently as 1999. They’ll have a speed gun to track you – the record is more than 80 kilometers per hour down the volcano.

Volcano Boarding

right after my first time volcano boarding! That was awesome!
this is right after my first time volcano boarding in Leon! That was awesome!
Ready to hike the volcano with our volcano boards. You can see how high tech these boards are (sarcasm...)
Ready to hike the volcano with our volcano boards. You can see how high-tech these boards are (sarcasm…)
Climbing up a volcano full of lava rocks carrying plywood sleds and prison suits? check.
Climbing up a volcano full of lava rocks carrying plywood sleds and prison suits? check.
you can see where the lava wiped out everything in its path
you can see where the lava wiped out everything in its path
I can hardly believe we climbed this beast
I can hardly believe we climbed this beast
this pic almost doesn't look real. He's standing at the edge of the top of the volcano
this pic almost doesn’t look real. He’s standing at the edge of the top of the volcano
View from the top of the volcano; it almost doesn't look real. That hole behind me would be quite a drop!
View from the top of the volcano; it almost doesn’t look real. I’m one step from falling into a huge crater behind me!

Hiking Cerro Negro Volcano – the climb

The hike was just a few hours long, and isn’t as difficult of a hike as it seems. The only challenging part is that you’re awkwardly carrying your board while hiking. There’s barely a trail and no trees to hold for stability. The first third of it is challenging because of the uneven rocks, while carrying a board. The rest is challenging because of the incline, while carrying a plywood board.

Nica2

there's no ski lift - we're about to hike this active volcano in Nicaragua
there’s no ski lift – we’re about to hike this active volcano in Nicaragua (in Leon)
hiking up the edge of a volcano, before boarding down. There's no rails or trails here!
hiking up the edge of a volcano; there’s no rails or trails here!

Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua -037

Breathtaking views from the top

Once you arrive at the top, the views are stunning! They’re also very scary once you realize you’ll be volcano boarding down this volcano.

Volcano jumping! That's the edge of the cliff of Cerro Negro Volcano below me
Volcano jumping! That’s the edge of the cliff of Cerro Negro Volcano below me
scary view down Volcan Negro
Are we really doing this?? It looks reeeeally steep. I had a little “stage-fright.” It’s a long scary way down. If there was an easy way to chicken out I might have…
Nica - Volcano Boarding -view from the top
Views from the top

What’s it like to go Volcano Boarding?

You get into these (seemingly) former prisoner one-piece outfits. They’re hot so you won’t want to put them on until you need to.

You sit on the board with your hand on the rope, and feet on the board. You can go faster by leaning back; slower by sitting up. You can let your heels go to the outside of the board to apply the brakes. It surprisingly felt like I had some control. If I did it again, I’d certainly let myself go faster.

check out the world-class Volcano Boards we're about to use, wooden toboggan, made of plywood with a piece of Formica on a strip of metal
check out the world-class Volcano Boards we’re about to use, wooden toboggan, made of plywood with a piece of Formica on a strip of metal

 

introducing...Volcano Boarding! CNN named Volcano Boarding as #2 in the world on the “Thrill seekers bucket list: 50 things to do before you die”
introducing…Volcano Boarding! CNN named Volcano Boarding as #2 in the world on the “Thrill seekers bucket list: 50 things to do before you die” That’s a speed gun in the guy’s hand

Is Volcano Boarding safe?

Debatable. From one standpoint, it felt fairly safe, but go at your own risk. They say it is, but then again, they’re collecting your money. You’re flying down an active volcano at crazy speeds. While we had a prison jumpsuit to protect from minor skin abrasions and goggles, there’s no helmet or armor. It feels very unsafe but lots of fun.

Our fearless guide shows us the ropes - he was a traveler until he went volcano boarding 6 months ago and was instantly hooked. Now he volunteers as a guide in exchange for free volcano boarding
Our fearless guide shows us the ropes – he was a traveler until he went volcano boarding 6 months ago and was instantly hooked. Now he volunteers as a guide in exchange for free volcano boarding

With a straight face, the guide said “the secret to the technology is formica on the back” that helps you pick up speed even though we’re on an active volcano. “But don’t leave it out in direct sunlight , or it might peel off.”  Yes he actually called it technology.

There's 1 guy with a camera, and another with a speed gun. Neither has medical training, but that's rarely needed...
There’s 1 guy with a camera, and another with a speed gun. Neither has medical training, but that’s rarely needed…
Volcano Boarding - in the only place in the world where you can do it - Nicaragua
Afterward they show closeups of everyone Volcano Boarding at the hostel and provided your speed.
We lived! We survived volcano boarding. Woohoo!
We lived! We survived volcano boarding. Woohoo!

Volcano boarding!

Where can you go Volcano Boarding?

The only place in the world where we’ve heard you can go volcano boarding is in Leon, Nicaragua, at Cerro Negro Volcano. Book it through Bigfoot Hostel.

Bigfoot Hostel

I had hiked up a volcano before, but this was an active volcano, and we went boarding down it. Add it to your list!

If you go, it's an hour ride to the volcano. You'll be constantly ducking and avoiding tree branches
Tip: If you go, it’s an hour ride to the volcano. You’ll be constantly ducking and avoiding tree branches, so keep alert!

See the full list of CNN’s “Thrill seekers bucket list: 50 things to do before you die.”

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