Nicaragua is home to a series of volcanoes; some still active and some that have not erupted in a very long time. This is also a country where you can go can for a swim in the now water-filled craters of long-since extinct volcanoes, such as Laguna de Apoyo and Laguna Asososca.
In the 21st century, volcano boarding has become very popular in the country. The volcano of choice is Cerro Negro, which is not very far from the colonial city of León. Cerro Negro is still an active volcano, which is why there is no plant life on the cone. This makes it ideal for sliding down on sleds at break-neck speed. There are several tour operators available in León through which you can hire a sled and protective clothing.
If you want to peep into an active volcano, the volcano complex Masaya is a convenient choice, since a paved road has been constructed all the way up to the Santiago crater. This volcano complex is the epicentre of one of Nicaragua’s oldest national parks, and the views from the Santiago crater are stunning. The active Santiago crater frequently emits large amounts of sulfur dioxide gas. For a better view of the magma deep within, night tours are available. At night in this national park, the magma glows eerily against the darkness.
The stratovolcano Mombacho near Granada has not had an eruption since 1570 and is covered in lush vegetation. At higher elevations, it is home to a cloud forest famous for its biodiversity and many species of orchids.
Mombacho is a haven for many Nicaraguan animals, including monkeys, sloths, and the endemic Mombacho salamander. At its peak, Mombacho stands 1,344 metres (4,409 ft) above sea level, and from the higher parts of this volcano, it is possible to view both Lake Nicaragua and the colonial city of Granada from above. Mombacho has several nature hiking trails, including a difficult one that consists mostly of steep inclines and declines.