The Concepción is a near perfect cone-shaped volcano. It is the biggest on Ometepe, with a height of 1,610 meters. The volcano is still active. Smoke is coming out of its crater, and there are other fumaroles on the volcano’s slope as well.
You’ll need a lot of energy, stamina, and you should be in good condition to climb the Concepción. It is one of the toughest climbs in Nicaragua. The slopes are very steep and the volcano is one of the highest in Nicaragua. The bottom part of the volcano is covered in trees. You will first walk through plantain and banana plantations. Halfway, there is a dense, humid forest. Vegetation becomes less dense and less tall more to the top.
Big and smaller rocks do not provide an easy path to the top. You will sometimes be climbing your way to the top, and once descending you will have to continuously pay attention where you put your feet. In addition, rain and humidity can make the rocks slippery and add another difficulty to the hike.
No not envision yourself sunbathing at the top of this mighty volcano. The crater is often covered in clouds and the weather conditions at the top are not very inviting. Your clothes will be soaked at this point, due to sweating and humidity, and a very strong, chilly wind that blows continuously will force you to descent as soon as possible.
Nevertheless, your efforts and the hardship you have to endure will be rewarded. At the first place ascending such a giant volcano is quite an achievement. In addition, standing at the rim of the crater of this volcano is a truly unique experience. The cold wind chilling your body will be countered by the hot smoke that is emitted by the crater. You will feel the heat of the volcano as well as the coldness of the wind. Odd plants growing around the crater only add to the unique atmoshpere.
If you are very lucky to be at the top when there are no clouds, you will have a magnificent view of Ometepe, Lake Nicaragua, and the main land. Nevertheless, the views when descending are quite spectacular as well.
Ascending and descending the Concepción will take between seven and ten hours. You should therefore bring enough water and food, and prepare well. A dry shirt or jacket can help too. Leave early (preferable at sunrise) so you return on time. You have to hire a guide, which can be arranged by your hotel.
We have 2 related tour(s) available that can be booked online.
By: Asociacion de Guias Comunitarios de Altagracia
Concepcion Volcano Tour
By: Unión de Guías de Ometepe
Lou wrote on Dec 20, 2017:
The "Last erupted" column is outdated or wrong. fix it!
Lester Ardila wrote on Aug 27, 2013:
I will be staying in San Juan del Sur on January, how much will it cost me if i would like to take the tour of Volcano la Concepcion?
daliresp wrote on Apr 28, 2013:
Guide was really pushing us to get to the top fast, but we were rewarded with great cloud free views. Not too crowded, maybe 50 other people on mountain? I will say it was pretty strenuous. Have done a lot of mountain climbing, and while it wasn't crazy, it's certainly not a stroll. It is straight up, like walking up stairs. We did it in 6 hours round trip, including half an hour on the summit. Thats a fast pace, and I blame it on the German marathon runners we got paired up with! Coming down is really miserable, and the views from the top are not really worth the trouble. Still, glad I did it. Great exercise at least!
jija wrote on Jul 9, 2012:
es como me rio... montañero avezado...
dixie normous wrote on Feb 14, 2012:
this is a niger place
George wrote on Oct 12, 2011:
the guide could have told us that the volcano was active... that central america's second highest volcano, volcan conception (1610 meters), had been increasingly active and experienced a minor eruption about two weeks ago... but Xxxxx said nothing. maybe he thought the risk was worth the $25 he would earn for leading us on the 12 hour roundtrip to the summit. xxxxxx tapped on our door at first light. we grabbed our gear and started walking from altagracia and beyond the village in the early light.... an hour or so on the flank... bean fields, bananas, avocados. sounds of machetes... birdsongs. howling monkeys... rising on... the farms were behind us now... onward through the circle of jungle surrounding the base. the trail became harder. our pace slowed. continuing on... climbing now. at about half way we could see lago (lake) de nicaragua below. the vegetation was getting shorter as we entered the clouds... when the plants were head high we stopped for boiled eggs, oranges and bread. xxxxxx had some tasty little strawberry cookies he shared with us. We continued on.... alternately walking and climbing. It was getting rough. When the plants were about waist high the wind intensified. By now we could hear the clouds scouring the plants as they raced up the slope. and then the plants were small... we braced ourselves against the wind. no vegetation now to hold the soil in place... the ground is loose... each step is calculated so as not to slide...it's down to all fours. like dogs we climb.... we feel the heat in the sand on our hands. looking up we see what appears to be the top. a precipice...perhaps 50 meters above. wet from climbing in the clouds, grimacing and grunting...struggling... rocks sliding down from our steps... "rock" we cried. loudly...over the sound of the wind...... approaching the top...the warmth...the smell of sulphur.. at last we are there. sitting on the edge of the crater. some quick pictures...... silvio suggests we go down slope and rest there. we did that... and started on the long trip down....beautiful hell. legs arent used to this... should have done it 20 years ago....
later back in altagracia... having beers... we meet another quide... he says only half way would he go... "Es peligroso!" (it's dangerous... he says.... apparently everyone in the bar knows its not a good time to go up there... maybe we will ask more questions next time... but hey...we went. we made it...
so we are alive (very much so) and well (legs sore) now it's on to rio san juan... the vast jungle river...where pirates and conquistadores plundered and fought... where fresh water bull sharks swim... and eat little fish and leave people from alabama alone... onward to el castillo...the castle in the jungle...
Glenda wrote on Apr 24, 2011:
I am looking for an experienced English speaking guide for the Concepcion hike. Does anyone have any recommendations? I will be hiking this volcano alone on May 16th, 2011. Thanks!
Niko wrote on Apr 3, 2011:
I will attempt to climb this mountain around May 18th ~ 19th. Does anyone have experience being on the mountain around that time and what type of weather to expect. Also, my girlfriend and I aren't super experienced climbers, but we're great hikers. We've scaled peaks in Yosemite so I'm hoping this is along the same lines. I'm very excited. If anyone has any information that might be important to know, please reply to me. Thanks!
franco wrote on Dec 1, 2010:
climbed concepcion in april 1991. without any food exception of "polvillo". We started climbing in 7 but only 4 arrived at the crater. The others stopped at the umid forest level.
Jeff wrote on Mar 26, 2010:
climbed it July 5, 2008. Climbing it again May 25, 2010. cant wait to do it again. if anyone will be in the area that date feel free to join my group of 3. (2/3 have climbed this before) we plan on going to the top with no problems. its a hard trip but an amazing experience. the top was unlike you could believe. of course it was more difficult than anyone else's experience because we had celebrated the 4th of July so we were very dehydrated. i reccomend lots of water. i was hallucinating, talking jibberish, and falling hard and getting bloody upon our way down. its so fun tho. DO IT
Slawek wrote on Mar 10, 2010:
I did it in 1996 (a long time ago) together with two other Poles and one Swiss. We climbed without a guide and in completely rough terrain, cutting the path with a small knife. It took us some 15 hours up and down and was a fantastic adventure. As I heard, the second volcano on Ometepe, madera, is much easier to climb, but I haven't been there.
Dave wrote on Nov 28, 2009:
I have now hiked 5 active volcanos, all in either Central or South America and Concepcion was by far the most difficult, even at a much lower altitude than say, Nevados del Ruiz in Colombia where we reached an altitude of 16,500' in 1/2 foot of snow. What makes Concepcion so difficult is the steep, narrow and rocky "trail" and the loose footing. It took us about 4 hours to reach an altitude of about 4000' with fairly dense fog and clouds at that point. We had about 1300' remaining to reach the top but the 5 of us decided to descend due to the fog and wind and all being very tired. The guide said it would take about 3 hours and I disagreed estimating another 4 hours after observing the 5 of us on the ascent. It took 4 hours! The descent is the most difficult and dangerous part of the hike. All 5 of us slipped or fell at least 1 time but no serious injuries. I was the oldest (in fairly good condition for my age) at 66, a male and was the only one to wear gloves, a lifesaver as the rest of the hikers hands were roughed up somewhat, scratched or bruised. The guide said I was the 2nd oldest person to hike with him, the oldest being an 80 year old experienced male mountaineer from Europe in excellent shape. He also said the last time any of hikers wore gloves was a Finnish couple a while back. There was one woman in our group, of Japanese descent, living in Seattle. I consumed 2 liters of water during the hike. My leg muscles, especially the quadriceps, were very sore for about 3 days after the hike. The 4 other volcanos I have hiked are Cotaxpaxi (reached about 16,000' to El Refugio in the snow) near Quito, Ecuador, Picaya (very sharp and dangerous lava bed to go through) near Antigua, Guatemala, Mumbacho in Granada, Nicaragua and of course Ruiz near Manizales, Colombia. Loved them all!!!!
A visitor wrote on Jul 20, 2009:
I hiked Concepcion several years ago and loved it. Our group consisted of several keen teenage students, myself and another teacher and our wonderful guide Marlon (from Balgue). The description above describes our experience well. We headed up with fantasies of enjoying a relaxing, well deserved lunch at the summit but after a few moments laying down on the warm rim of the volacano trying to warm up, we too decided to head down to a less windy and more protected spot. We all felt a great sense of accomplishment upon our return.
My four and a half daughter loves to hear my story of Concepcion because I always remind her that it was her first hike up a volcano - I was a month pregnant with her at the time! Not surprisingly, she's a confident and skilled rock climber at four and half. In fact she just enjoyed her first multi-pitched climb a few weeks ago. Ole Concepcion!
Angie wrote on May 28, 2009:
We climbed Concepcion in mid 2008 and the description above is so accurate... it all came racing back. Hard climb to the top with almost zero visability and I was scared witless once we arrived - the heat and the smell of sulphur was incredible. 2 minutes at the top then we practically walked/ran/slid/fell back down the side of the volcano. Hard work and we were sore for days afterward but one of the best things I've ever done. Very worth it. We had a young guide whose English was as good as our Spanish and we got along fantastically. Highly recommend.
yesi wrote on Mar 23, 2009:
I recently did this hike and it is so beautiful and a definite must if you visit Ometepe. We had a great tour guide who we contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org.
tato de zubicaray wrote on Jan 14, 2009:
hola señor de oslo, desde luego no lo intente dos dias seguidos, se lo dice un montañero avezado que le costo lo suyo subirlos
volcano master wrote on Oct 2, 2008:
The description above is quite acurate of the experience. I only wish I had read it prior to hiking the volcano a few years ago. Our guide alllowed us to wear Tevo-like sandals which made the descent feel like every unstable step could lead to death. Nor did we pack enough food or water, nor told how hard it would be. Luckily I was in descent shape and able to do it, but there were a few people ino our group who weren't in good enough shape to make it to the top. Overall, great experience and glad I did it.
Tanner Hahn wrote on Jun 18, 2007:
I just got done hiking this volcano two days ago on June 16th. I was working at NPH, (an orphanage on the island) when i decided to hike it. It was rough and hot but I made it all the way to the top and I smelt the sulfur and looked down into the crater.
bill wrote on Jan 21, 2007:
have you guys actullay climbed a volcano thats wiked!!!
i wish i were that brave
unanimouse wrote on Nov 19, 2006:
when climbing a mounting you must make sure ure guide nos exactly what there doing and make sure youll feel safe in there arms
laura wrote on May 1, 2006:
Hiking Volcan Concepcion was the highlight of my trip to Nicaragua. Ask for Berman to be your tour guide. He can be found in town and is a wonderful guide and fun to get a beer with afterwards!
Greg wrote on Aug 1, 2005:
Climb Volcan Concepcion! for wicked pics of my climb, see --->