Tourist Possibilities - Nicaraguan Volcanoes

Across the horizon of Nicaragua, you can see volcanoes peek up at various points along the way. The country has quite a few volcanoes, some active, some dormant, but all impressive. Some are more accessible than others, and some are more scenic than others, but they are all testaments to Earth's violent core. Here are two of special interest you may want to check out while in the country.

San Cristobal is the tallest volcano in the country, at slightly under 1750 meters. It is still active, and routinely billows gas and steam from its summit. It is possible to scale this volcano, but it is no simple task. The volcanic sand provides no foothold, meaning you slide downhill one step for every two steps forward. The hike above the tree line is especially daunting. On a clear day, Honduras, El Salvador, and the Gulf of Fonseca are visible from the summit.

Consiguina also rests above the Gulf of Fonseca. At 850 meters, it is not high, but a good hike none-the-less. The last time this volcano erupted was in 1835, and the effect was a huge crater that is now a lake. Panoramas from the top of this peak encompass the Pacific Ocean, and it is possible to drive most of the way to the top before beginning your hike.

It is possible to drive all the way to the summit of another active volcano, Masaya. There is even a parking lot with attendants. The air is sulfur-laden and thick, but not so overpowering that you can't gaze over the rim and into the crater. As you drive up, you will see huge lava flows along both sides of the roadway. It is possible to hike to a few other craters at the top if you so desire, but this is definitely the most accessible volcano around.

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