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.