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  • Writer's pictureWouter van Straten

The Day I Went Volcano Boarding

Nicaragua is my top pick for volcano boarding adventures as a thrill-seeker.

Heading to Leon’s Cerro Negro, where volcano boarding originated, was an exhilarating choice. There's an unmatched excitement in trying something right where it all began.


Cerro Negro stands out as one of the few active volcanoes worldwide where you can experience the rush of volcano boarding, and it's the sole one in Central America. It's truly a one-of-a-kind adventure!


To add to the excitement, CNN and Lonely Planet both rank volcano boarding as the second most thrilling experience. With such accolades, who wouldn't want to give it a try? Trust me, you'll want to experience it too!


The Hike up!

Hiking up Cerro Negro is an essential part of the volcano boarding experience. The ascent takes about 45-60 minutes of strenuous uphill climbing and is rated as moderate in difficulty.



Navigating the steep incline, covered in loose volcanic rocks, requires careful footing as you slowly wind your way to the summit. Being a slower walker, I found myself trailing behind the group, but I was determined to reach the top nonetheless.


As you progress upward, you'll notice the wind picking up, so it's wise to secure your hair to avoid a tangled mess upon arrival.


Pro Tip: If you prefer not to carry your board, you can hire ($5) someone to do it for you. Personally, I opted to shoulder the load myself, adding to the sense of accomplishment when reaching the summit.


The Ride Down!

As I prepared for my volcano boarding adventure, I noticed that while there's no designated track, three distinct lines mark popular routes down the volcanic ash, offering clear paths to follow for an exhilarating ride.


Descending the volcano typically takes between 1 to 5 minutes, allowing ample time to soak in the adrenaline rush. Controlling speed is key, and I had a few techniques up my sleeve. Leaning back with my feet up meant zooming down faster, while sitting more forward with my feet down slowed the pace. Speeds can range from 32-96 kph (20-60 mph) depending on your technique.


Pro Tip: Starting with my feet up and leaning back was my strategy, but adjusting by putting my feet down and leaning forward helped regulate speed. I stuck to a modest 32 kph (20 mph) pace, but those who opted for higher speeds reported even more excitement.


Next time, I'll definitely kick off with my feet up for a more thrilling ride.

In the event of a tumble, holding onto the board is crucial. With a bit of careful maneuvering, I managed to reposition the board beneath me and swiftly get back on track.


The thought of having to walk down the rest of the volcano after a spill wasn't appealing. Determined to stay upright, I focused on maintaining balance throughout the descent, knowing that the thrill of riding far outweighed the prospect of a trek on foot.


The Aftermath

When I reached the bottom of the volcano, I was relieved that I didn’t wipe out badly and that I managed to get back on the board to enjoy my ride. I really didn’t want to walk all that way down the volcano and miss out on riding all the way down.



Volcano boarding was everything that I had hoped and I really wanted to try it again. Too bad my tour only includes one ride and that I had to move on from Leon. It was over, but I was happy to have had the opportunity to experience Cerro Negro volcano boarding.

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