Surfing Cerro Negro Volcano

23 May

One of the major activities in Nicaragua is surfing down the active Cerro Negro Volcano. We volcano bordered with Bigfoot Hostel, the founding company of this sport. CNN named Bigfoot’s Volcano Boarding #2 on the “Thrill seekers bucket list: 50 things to do before you die” and Reader’s Digest rated it #4 on the “10 Death Defying Travel Destinations.”

When I told Hani I wanted to do it, he said sure, not really understanding what it entailed. I think if he knew beforehand exactly what “surfing down a volcano” meant, we wouldn’t have gone. Though I’m glad we did it, it’s one of the once in a lifetime experiences.

We boarded a 1017 Mercedes truck leaving from Bigfoot Hostel in Leon and rode a bumpy 45 minutes to the park.




From there we were given a pair of goggles, a skateboard looking thing minus the wheels, and a bag that contained a stinky orange jumper 5 sizes too big. And we were off, ascending the jet black rocky terrain with the sun beating down on us as we clumsily carried our boards.


It was a very hot, very tiring hike to the top of the volcano. Along the way, our guide would stop us and point out stuff no one paid attention to. Everyone was just anxious to board down.

After a brutal 45 minute hike, we arrived at the top. The view was spectacular: mountain ranges and other volcanoes looking out and black volcanic ash looking down from when it had previously erupted. You could feel the steam coming off the volcano.


this face says it all


Everyone put on the ridiculous jumpers and sweated it out even more waiting to surf down. I didn’t want to watch anyone go because I thought it would scare me too much and I wouldn’t want to do it. But we ended up watching everyone–all 40 others in our group–go down before us.


Hani and I were the last two to go. I went first then Hani after me. I posted videos on our Facebook page but surfing down goes a little something like this: you sit on the back of your board, feet on either side, holding a thin rope that’s attached to the front of your board. With goggles in place, you scoot with your feet and lean back until the board catches a flat enough slope and off you fly.

Hani's demo

Hani’s demo

There’s no controlling your direction really because you are woobling so much. You just kind of go, vibrating and free falling, all the while rocks are pelting your face and body. It’s awkward and painful and exhilarating all at the same time.

Bigfoot takes a picture of you midway (notice my closed mouth to keep rocks out) and clocks your speed with a radar gun on the final almost 90 degree downward slope. I went 55km and Hani did 36km. We both fell off the boards entirely, me during that final slope and skinned up my leg pretty nice and Hani at the start of that same slope.






We got to the bottom filthy and shaking, happy to have done it but not eager to do it again.



One Response to “Surfing Cerro Negro Volcano”

  1. Barbara Maya May 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    What a detailed description I guess it’s not on my bucket list.

    Sent from my iPhone


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