Volcano Masaya

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
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167
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Trip End Nov 04, 2008


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Where I stayed
Oasis - where the cook makes a point of being rude and annoying

Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Sunday, June 8, 2008

Going up an active volcano is always quite exciting...although after our travels in Bolivia and Peru we sometimes get disappointed if a mountain is below 2 thousand metres..it just sounds terribly small!

However, the Ninidri (the active volcaton at Masaya) is a wonderful experience of earth working its entrails and showing its power off.

The Hostal Oasis is really a great little place, but someone should take the kitchen staff out of their misery...unemployment seems to attract them viciously! They need to be fired either physically or literally... Again this morning we had to chase them round to get into the kitchen and when we managed to catch them the grumpiest one said "we dont serve breakfast until 7am". I looked at my watch and asked her "what time do you have on your watch as mine says 7.15am." She took a watch out of her arse pocket and said "7.10...now we can take orders"...thanks!

Anyway, off we went with pancakes in our stomachs, did some shopping of vegetables and bread at the local market (for lunch at the volcano) and jumped on a local bus towards Managua which dropped us off at the entrance of the Masaya Volcano ($20 Cordobas each = $1 US).

A point to be made at the above...all tourist guides keep calling the local transport "chicken buses", and we still have to see one in Nicaragua. Perhaps we have been lucky, but up to now all buses were either old US school buses or quite new Mercedes Benz minibuses. No chicken buses for the time being since Peru....
Back to the main story. We arrived at the national park and paid the entry fee of $70 Cordobas each ($3.5 US). There are 2 options, you can either wait for the bus to take you up ($2.5 US) or walk up 5.5 kms.

Of course we decided to walk up! There is nothing like trailing slowly up 5 kms of lava rock and 200 year old forrests full of the local bird "Urraca" (crow we think) with its wonderful blue crest.

The first stop is after 1 km at a little information centre which explains all sorts of volcanos and data related to them. They also sell t-shirts and other souvenirs there, which much to our surprise were as cheap as the street sellers at Granada. We bought t-shirts with "Nicaragua" on them at Granada for $80 Cordobas ($4 dollars). Funnily enough they are all made in Honduras, so we canīt wait to buy a couple more cheap t-shirts for our trip there!

The tougher part starts after the information centre, although to be sincere it is tough because its 4.5 kms walking upwards (especially the last km) and the heat and humidity are strong, but all the way until the end its a paved road...so no real victorious climbing to be done...

Once we arrived there we quickly rushed to the active volcano (Ninidri) which is very impressive to watch. Its constantly releasing fumes and the stench of sulphur is strong. There is a sign when you climb the last steps which warns that no one should be at the top more than 15-20 minutes due to the acids released...you cant beat that to make tourists move on!

After a short lunch at the top with the food we had bought we moved on to the higher volcano of Masaya, which is nice to watch but after seeing its active sister next door makes it a bit duller.

Back down all the way and into Granada for a nice swim in the pool and use of internet (free and fast in the hostel). That makes a useful 11kms on our legs which we will increase tomorrow with another volcano visit.

All of our trip from Chile upwards has been in company of volcanoes, but Nicaragua certainly has lots of them, and they are mostly accessible from the main towns in day trips. Here is a good drawing Veronika made this morning with all of them:

http://www.vianica.com/go/specials/9-nicaragua-volcanoes.html

We will be at least visiting:
- Masaya and Ninidri
- Concepcion
- Madera
- Laguna de Apoyo
- Telica
- San Cristobal
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