• Volcano boarding in Leon Nicaragua

Boarding down an active volcano? Hell yeah!

When I fist arrived to the Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua, little did I know that I would end up falling four times while trying to do some volcano boarding. The best part? I absolutely loved every second of it!

Don’t know what volcano boarding is? To put it bluntly: It is one of the most awesome extreme adventures ever. If you’re ever in Nicaragua, a good day of volcano boarding is definitely a must. Here’s a run-down of how to make it happen. Can I get a hell yeah?

Volcano Boarding in Leon, Nicaragua

Understanding Volcano Boarding

Volcano boarding is a relatively new thrill-seeking activity that started a couple of decades ago and it has been ranked by CNN as the second most fun but terrifying activity (number 1 is becoming a jet fighter pilot for a day!). In Nicaragua, the best place to do it is at the Cerro Negro (Black Hill) volcano, located mere minutes away from the city of Leon.

There are quite a few non-profit organizations in Leon that make the Volcano Boarding tour, this time I went with Quetzaltrekkers since they leave one hour earlier than the rest of the companies AND also offer you the chance of attempting to do the volcano boarding twice after your first attempt. For 30 USD you get a t-shirt, lunch, transportation and entrance fee to the volcano. All profits are donated to local charities in Leon.

Getting ready to do some volcano boarding

Getting ready to do some volcano boarding

I first heard about volcano boarding thanks to a Mexican friend who did it a few years ago and according to her, it totally changed her life.

Sure, to this day I cannot understand how sliding down an active volcano at insane speeds can make you a better person but I definitely agree that the near-death experience at the bottom sure leaves you thinking about what have you been doing with your life.

Volcano boarding in Leon Nicaragua

The Cerro Negro Volcano in Nicaragua

I have to admit that before this year I wasn’t a really adventurous person. I prefered city breaks over hiking mountains and party hostels over camping in the wilderness. This last couple of months have really changed my travel styles as I push myself to new things that I haven’t tried before.

So come on, OF COURSE I had to try volcano boarding even though I had no experience whatsoever in hiking, boarding or just extreme sports in general. Yes, as you can see in my photo, I wore a dress shirt and a pair of white trousers.

That was mistake number 1.

The trek up to Cerro Negro for volcano boarding

The trek up to Cerro Negro for volcano boarding

Hiking Cerro Negro for Volcano Boarding

The hike up to the top of the volcano was significantly hard for me and I sincerely apologize for dragging the group behind because of my fascination with taking selfies all the way to the top. I meant it when I said that the art of taking selfies is a real one! The hike is a very steep one and it should take you about one hour to reach the volcano boarding area.

And yes, you’ll have to carry a slightly heavy metal board all the way to the top.I seriously wonder how come business-savvy people haven’t started to actually rent them at the top instead of doing so at the bottom.

You’ll also have to carry a backpack with your gear. I’ll be lying if I said that my outfit didn’t remind me of Walter White in Breaking Bad. For a moment I truly believed that we were about to cook meth at the top of the volcano!

My Breaking Bad suit for Volcano Boarding

My Breaking Bad suit for Volcano Boarding

As the guide explained, the process is a very straight-forward one. You have to sit at the back of the board, slide yourself down a little bit and use both of your legs AND hands in order to balance your weight. “Is it alright if I use my left hand to film my way down with my camera?” I asked.

“No, people have broken their arms and wrists while down volcano boarding thanks to reckless behaviour” the guide said. One of the other members of the tour then talked about a guy she met in Granada that had permanent scars on his face thanks to falling from his boards and getting scratched by the volcanic rocks.

Of course, I’m sort of a travel lunatic so I decided that it was worth risking it in order to get the perfect GoPro footage.

That was mistake number 2.

Volcano boarding with Quetzaltrekkers

Volcano boarding with Quetzaltrekkers

“Remember to place your legs in the back for slow speed and at the front for high-speed” the guide said before climbing down in order to signal us with the flag whether if it was safe or not to board down at a particular time. The first person went down, no problem. Then the second and the third one. It was my turn now.

“Hmmmm this is not fast enough” I thought “I wanna go fast, I wanna go fast, I wanna go fast.” What followed was a train wreck. An awesome train wreck I should say. You see, I didn’t have the cash to buy a GoPro strap-on for the chest or head so my filming method consisted of using a baton and trying to take a selfie video of me going down.

That was mistake number 3.

Volcano Boarding at Cerro Negro

Ready. Set. Go!

The first fall is always the hardest. The second one even less so. By the third one I was actually laughing because of the adrenaline rush and when it was time of the last and fourth fall I was actually disappointed because I couldn’t fall once more and the descent was finished.

Flipping your board and rolling down is painful but that’s the kind of pain you’ll actually enjoy and talk about in the years to come. I survived volcano boarding and it was TOTALLY awesome!

The base of the Volcano boarding area

Adrenaline rush of volcano boarding! Can I get a hell yeah?

Once the adrenaline rush was over, we headed back to the ranger base where we had an amazing vegetarian taco lunch and the guide asked us if we wanted to climb up again to do another round of volcano boarding. To nobody’s surprise, only one Polish girl wanted to give it a second go. Polish travelers are beyond awesome!

The rest of us, already crushed and tired of our volcano experience, decided to hang back at the base, sharing life stories and wondering if our grandchildren will one day believe that we boarded down an active volcano and lived to tell the tale. To be honest, they probably won’t. At least until I show them the amazing GoPro vide of my four falls.

Have you ever felt such an intense adrenaline rush? Would you dare to try volcano boarding? What’s your favorite thrill-seeking adventure? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!

Cerro Negro seen from the ranger base

Cerro Negro seen from the ranger base

June 21st, 2014|Categories: North & Central America Travel|Tags: |
Raphael Alexander is a Nomadic Digital Marketer and Travel Influencer who overcame the chains of the local economy and found a way to achieve his dream of having a professional life while traveling the world non-stop. His goal in life is to inspire the people of the world to unleash their full inner potential. A perfect day for him includes exotic animals, ancient pyramids, breath-taking waterfalls and tasty tacos. Lots of tacos.


  1. Agness June 21, 2014 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    This is absolutely awesome and crazy and I’m so jealous of this adventure. Was it expensive to do it?

  2. Dave Cole June 22, 2014 at 12:19 am - Reply

    Such a unique and cool experience. I was pretty interested after a couple of paragraphs, but the taco lunch clinched it for me. How long were you in pain for following the ride?

  3. Surya Bhattacharya June 22, 2014 at 2:05 am - Reply

    Wooowww!! I wonder if I would have the courage to go through with it!! The only vaguely thrill seeking activity I did was cliff jumping, and it took me AGES to finally jump (also I fell on my face, so ow ๐Ÿ˜› ). Would love to give this a go though!! Looks awesome!!!

  4. Michael Huxley June 22, 2014 at 2:16 am - Reply

    Looks like a lot of fun! Certainly a unique way to enjoy the landscape.

  5. Ryan Biddulph June 22, 2014 at 4:53 am - Reply

    Stunning stuff as always Raphael, you do man! I’ve heard the volcanoes and scenery are quite amazing. Thanks!

  6. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer June 22, 2014 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Queztal Trekkers is a great company to go with – I went with them on my overnight camping hike to the base of a volcano. Unfortunately I missed volcano boarding during my trip (looks like I will have to return to Leon). Looks like you had a great time! ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. tommyshaw June 22, 2014 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    I remember doing this a couple of years ago, nearly made it all the way but axed myself at the end. Great fun though.

  8. Karen Warren June 23, 2014 at 5:55 am - Reply

    I love volcanoes but not too sure I’d want to have a go at this myself. But you have persuaded me that I really want a Go-Pro!

  9. Anna June 23, 2014 at 9:15 am - Reply

    I love snowboarding so I would absolutely try volcano boarding as well. Although I am a bit skeptical… Is it really fast? can you drive curves and the like? Or do you get stuck in the ash? I tried sand boarding once and found it really boring because ist was soooo slow…

  10. antonette - we12travel June 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    I’d love to try this one day! So far I’ve attempted to climb a volcano in Chile (but failed because there was too much ice on the glacier) and gone sandboarding in Australia so this would be the perfect adventure for me!

  11. Lauren June 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Wow that sounds incredible! Thank you for sharing all of your “mistakes” with us – it sounds like a super memorable and very thrilling time! I would really like to try this sometime. And I love that they served you a vegetarian lunch, too!

  12. Emily June 23, 2014 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    Sounds awesome! We did sandboarding in Huacachina and I loved it – but I SUCKED at it! Can’t imagine I’d be any better at volcano boarding, but I’d love to give it a whirl!

  13. Bianca @itsallbee June 24, 2014 at 4:05 am - Reply

    Such a cool activity! I would love to try boarding in the dunes of Nambia this year.

  14. Margherita @The Crowded Planet June 24, 2014 at 10:02 am - Reply

    A friend of mine tried that some years ago, and I’ve wanted to do it ever since! Amazing adventure, and what a scenery!

  15. Hitch-Hikers Handbook June 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    This looks like great fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Bob R June 26, 2014 at 4:04 am - Reply

    This is something I’ll have to try when I return to Nicaragua. I was there several times in the early 1990s, and volcano surfing wasn’t ever on the agenda. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Angela Anderson August 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    Wow, you were right about it being similar to the Tongariro Crossing! Great post.

  18. Quetzaltrekkers Nicaragua September 29, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Great review Raphael. We love to hear that you enjoy the hike, even the falls! Thank you for hiking with Quetzaltrekkers Leรณn and supporting our local projects.

  19. TakaTaka February 15, 2016 at 6:37 am - Reply

    This is just bringing back the memories there in Leon. Reading your words is just like bringing me back there. Wish I could go back and do it once again!

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