The Masaya Volcano National Park comprises an area of 54 km² and includes two volcanoes and five craters. The volcanoes have erupted several times in history, and were feared by both the indigenous people and the Spanish conquerors. The Spanish baptized the active volcano "La Boca del Infierno" or "The Mouth of Hell". They planted a cross, "La Cruz de Bobadilla" (named after Father Francisco Bobadilla), on the crater lip in the 16th century in order to exorcise the Devil.
The eruptions have had a dramatic impact on the surroundings. Rocks and volcanic ashes still cover the area surrounding the volcanoes. The nature is rough yet peaceful. Different types of vegetation appeared after the eruptions. The park is also inhabited by many different kinds of animals. The park's wildlife includes coyotes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, deer, iguanas, and monkeys.
Visitors can peek over the edge at the Masaya Volcano, and look into the impressive crater, which is continuously emitting smoke and sulfur gases. From this central crater it is possible to start hiking to other craters or viewpoints. Be sure to walk a bit up to get a view of the smoking volcano and the fascinating surroundings. There are several trails that lead to other great views, other craters, or to the Tzinaconostoc Cave in which hundreds of bats house. These special trails vary in distance between 1.4 and 5.9 kilometers and are all guided, with prices between C$10 and C$20 per person. Each trail takes between 1-1½ hour.
An interesting and well-equipped visitors center is located halfway up to the volcano. The center provides information about the Masaya volcano, but also about the other volcanoes in Nicaragua and related geological processes. Visitors can also learn more about the flora and fauna of the park.
Another spectacular activity is to undertake a nocturnal tour. The Masaya Volcano National Park offers this tour every day from 5PM until around 7.30-8PM. The tour starts right before sunset, with a visit to the cross (La Cruz de Bobadilla) overlooking the volcano and the surroundings. Next is the observation of Green Parakeets that come back to the volcano to roost. These birds have somehow adapted to the sulfur smoke from the volcano and actually live within the crater. During the day the birds are out finding food, but around sunset they return to their nests. The birds can often be seen returning to the volcano during the tour, but the arrival time varies every day so the sightings are not guaranteed.
The second attraction is to watch a large number of bats depart massively from their caves, another great natural spectacle! These bats can also be seen in the caves during daytime, but only at night do they leave their home en masse.
Next is a visit to an underground tunnel which was formed by lava streams. Equipped with flashlight and helmet, visitors can enter the tunnel and observe the interesting rock formations. The tour ends with a visit to a viewpoint that provides the possibility to actually look inside the crater mouth of the volcano, observing the red, glowing lava! This crater opening, which was recently formed (at the end of 2006), is located deep down in the crater and can only be seen at night, when the red glow of hot lava lights the surroundings.
Important: for the night tour reservations should be made at least one day ahead. Flashlights and masks are provided by the park; visitors should bring water and solid clothing. Transportation is not included in the price but can be arranged on request.
The park is open every day from 9:00AM until 4:45PM for regular visits. It is located on the highway to Masaya (Carretera Masaya), kilometer 23.
The park lies less than half an hour away from Managua, and ten minutes from Masaya. From the entrance of the park it is five kilometers uphill to the Masaya Volcano, located at the center of the park. Visitors can drive uphill themselves or ask a taxi driver to drive to the crater. Hiking uphill is another option, but it takes a while and the road is steep, so a good condition is necessary.
We have 5 related tour(s) available that can be booked online.
By: Vapues Tours
By: Vapues Tours
By: Vapues Tours