Volcano boarding on Cerro Negro

Volcano boarding is what initially brought me to León. It is the only place in the world you can do it. Cerro Negro is the second youngest volcano in Central America. It was formed in 1850 and it’s last eruption was in 1999.

Years ago, a French guy who liked to ride his bike down mountains was drawn to Cerro Negro and tried to ride his bike down. The bike was not suitable for the volcanic environment and he had a huge stack, breaking many bones. Apparently he fell in love with the nurse who cared for him, so obviously it was all worth it. This man’s crazy downhill riding attempts brought attention to the volcano and soon volcano boarding was born.

We started our mini adventure at the ranger station, checked in then set off. We were given a backpack which contained a denim jumpsuit and gloves. Along with some water, my GoPro, phone and of course the board, I hiked with the group to our launching spot.

The scenery is really cool. Beautiful green hills behind lumps of black earth. We had a clear day and the clouds stayed away for our first ascent. At the top, we looked around a bit, down into the crater and across the ‘black desert’.


We got some safety and operation instructions and made our way over to the run. Sitting at the top of the run, the hill looked very steep. I was feeling a bit nervous. Some others were worse than me though! When it was my turn, I headed down and it was a lot slower to start with than I expected. I played around a bit, going faster at times then backing off. It was a lot of fun!

A couple of people in a separate group were absolutely flying down and stacked it at the end. One guy had cuts all the way down his arm.

After a snack we went up for a second time, less some of the group who didn’t want another go. Hiking up the second time was more challenging as it was hotter and we were more fatigued. We went into the crater to check it out this time, which was super cool! The colours of the different mineral deposits were awesome, as was the smoky and stinky stack of rubble we came across.

We had our second ride down the volcano. Unfortunately it wasn’t as quick, as too many groups had gone down by then and had messed up the run a bit. Even still, it was again stacks of fun! Definitely one Dante would have loved.

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