Hiking Nicaragua’s Ring of Fire
- Where to Go
- The Best of Nicaragua
- Nicaragua’s Best Surfing
- Hiking Nicaragua’s Ring of Fire
- Nicaraguan Arts & Crafts
- Nicaragua’s Great Green North
- Sportfishing in Nicaragua
- Down the Río San Juan
- Nicaragua’s Celebrations & Fiestas
- Volunteering in Nicaragua
- Diving & Snorkeling in Nicaragua
- Managua’s Revolutionary Driving Tour
Volcano hopping, anyone? Pack some sturdy boots and hike one or all of the more than a dozen ascents detailed in this travel guide.
Nicaragua’s Maribio and Dirián mountain ranges contain both dormant and active cones, each one completely unique in scenery, difficulty, vegetation, and length. A few of these hikes have established, well-blazed trails (Mombacho and Masaya), most don’t.
In undeveloped-for-tourism areas, “hiking” means turning off the pavement, taking a poor dirt road to an even poorer one, and then entering the country’s vast network of mule- and footpaths that have connected rural communities for centuries. Always hire a local guide, as a way to both support the community and to not get lost, both respectable goals: León has an excellent selection of guides and tour services specializing in volcano treks.
Following is a quickie weeklong jaunt up a couple of favorites, but after seeing the long chain of gas-streaming peaks stretching off into the horizon, you’ll realize that this is only the beginning.
Arrive at Managua International Airport and transfer to Granada.
After enjoying the specter of Volcán Mombacho looming over the colonial streets, get a ride to its summit and walk the various ridge trails around its jungled craters; the wonderful loops make a good warm-up for what’s to come.
Spend the morning at Volcán Masaya’s gaping crater, only an hour from Granada and guaranteed to impress. On the way back, enjoy a swim in the Laguna de Apoyo, an unspoiled crater lake, easily accessed by bus from Masaya.
Today’s the big day. Hook back up with your guides in León and set out early to tackle Momotombo, a 1,300-meter, eight-hour round-trip on horseback and foot. Celebrate with a fancy dinner in León that night.
Back to Managua, back to work, or back to the beach.
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition