Climbing a volcano, walking around its crater and exploring its surroundings is a pretty common way to spend a vacation. In fact, I’ve seen a number of tours built around it. To do all that and then slide down the same volcano’s long and steep slope, however, is just something else. Volcano boarding, anyone?
The new adventure sport of Volcano Boarding is the central feature on a tour offered by the BigFoot Hostel at the Cerro Negro, a charcoal-black volcano located in Nicaragua. It works much like similar activities, such as snowboarding and sandboarding: you take a piece of board, walk a 45-minute hike to the top and slide down the incline – except this time, you do it on a 1,600-foot slope on the side of an active volcano.
Yes, Cerro Negro is active, lending extra thrill to the whole experience. It is the youngest volcano in Central America, born just 120 years ago and erupting at least twenty times since. The slide down, based on accounts, is fast (steepest point is about 41-degrees), bumpy (which adds to the thrill, almost like you’re turning over all the time) and leaves you bathed in black volcano dust. What more can you ask for?
While you can use most any implement you can concoct to slide down, the tour uses a sit-down board made of metal-reinforced plywood, with Formica under the seats. According to the tour’s founder Darryn Webb, it allowed for the most fun of all contraptions they’ve tested, especially for first-time boarders.
Price for the experience is considerably cheap – $27.50, which includes one trip down the slope and entrance to the national park (Cerro Negro is a protected area). Of course, you’ll have to be in Nicaragua to do it.