Sandboarding down the Cerro Negro volcano

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Posted on Tue, Mar 24 2015 08:50:41

cerro negroCerro Negro, or "Black Hill" in Nicaragua is only 150 years old, which makes it the youngest volcano in Central America. Nevertheless, it has already erupted more than its thousand-year old neighbors – 23 times. The last eruption happened in 1999, when Cerro Negro lost one of its crater's edges and contributed to the joy of tourists by opening a new spectacular view of the valley below. Although Cerro Negro has been relatively quiet since then, it still shows seismic activity and is being monitored.

Besides the majestic panorama from the top of the volcano, Cerro Negro offers extreme attractions – you can volcano surf or sandboard down the lava- and volcanic ash- covered slopes.

Provided that you follow the instructors' rules, the aveerage speed of descent via sandboard is 60 km/h.   The individual speed depends on a your weight, body position on the board and your board navigation and braking skills.  At the volcano's checkpoint there is a poster, which proudly displays the champion of Cerro Negro, who descended from it at a speed of 172 km / h, although not on a board but on a bike.  Some also try descending Cerro Negro on snowboards, flattened cardboard boxes or by running, which is the most dangerous option.

Cerro Negro is located in the National park, where you can pay a visit to their iguana senctuary, hold them and love them. To get to the top, you have to go through a fairly arduous 60-minute climb through a series of volcanic rocks, which will make your heart pound and ears ring. The higher you go, the stronger the wind becomes, and at the very top the gusts can literally knock you off your feet. Steam and rotten-egg-smelling gas, which come out of the ground in various places, no noticeable plant life around makes a perfect alien landscape for you to enjoy on the way to the top. The heat from the volcano and scorching sun make the ground very, very hot and one has to have really good hiking shoes – otherwise you will feel like walking on the frying pan covered with spiky coal. Once you are there, you will feel rewarded by an amazing panoramic view of Maribios mountain chain, the city of Leon and Pacific Ocean.  After that, you will be given instructions, put on funny-looking protective suits, and enjoy the thrilling sandboard experience descending Cerro Negro's slopes.

Gallery: Sandboarding down the Cerro Negro volcano

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Read more about Nicaragua off the beaten path
Find more off the beaten path near: Managua

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