The Cerro Negro volcano is a young and unique volcano. It is also a unique tourism scenario providing a stunning natural setting, the opportunity to hike an active cone and see its crater, and canopy lines available for visitors.
The steep slopes of this black volcano lack any vegetation. On and around the volcano lies a big layer of volcanic ash and rocks. An eruption in 1999 has left a wide border of black, volcanic material around the Cerro Negro and there are two smaller craters right next to the volcano which were recently formed.
Climbing the Cerro Negro is not like any other volcano in Nicaragua. The volcano is only about 500 meters high (726 meters above sea level), but the ascent is steep and tough. There is no paved trail; just a merely natural path along a rim that leads to the top. The ascent takes about one hour to the top, and although it requires some effort the superb views are certainly rewarding. The absence of trees provides fantastic scenery, and upon reaching the top visitors have a 360 degree view of the area.
The crater – often emitting smoke and gas – can be observed from above, and the crater rim leads to the other side where the imposing volcanic chain can be seen with several volcanoes (including the Telica and San Cristóbal) lined up one after another. You will enjoy the view before starting the descent. This is a whole other adventure by itself.
One of the volcano’s slopes is too steep to climb – but consequently great for a fast descent! Instead of large rocks this side only has volcanic sand, providing a great surface for running downhill. This thrilling experience takes less than ten minutes before reaching the bottom, but for the less athletic hikers it is also possible to walk more slowly while again enjoying the superb views. Alternatively, experienced snow- or sandboarders can use a wooden board to go downhill, much like snowboarding down a mountain but now on a volcanic slope! In any way, the Cerro Negro provides a unique and intense experience that can be enjoyed by anybody in a fair shape.
Since 2015 it is offered a canopy activity. Canopy Cerro Negro offer a 829 meters (95 ft.) trhough 7 platforms providing panoramic view, an information and waiting house and a suspension bridge of 17m. The idea is that visitors can return from the volcano to the Visitors Center in the canopy.
The most important difficulties are the heat and intense sun. Be sure to bring enough water and sunscreen but most importantly plan this trip as early on the day as possible. Travel around sunrise to climb the volcano when it is still warming up. It is furthermore useful to bring good clothing: a pair of pants and solid hiking shoes or boots to provide protection against the sharp volcanic rocks.
Visitors should be in a fair shape and able to hike a steep, rocky path. The whole hike (ascending, exploring, and descending) takes relatively a little compared to other volcanos, making the Cerro Negro more accessible than many other, higher volcanoes which require much longer hikes.
The volcano is located in a rural area, 25 kilometers northeast of León. The unpaved, sandy roads that lead to the volcano should be traveled in a high-clearance vehicle. Hiring a guide is highly recommended to reach the volcano and its summit easily and safely. Tour operators in León offer tours to the Cerro Negro, including transportation.
The price to enter the volcano (which is a protected area) is US$5 for foreigners and US$2 for Nicaraguans.
The Cerro Negro can be reached by taking the bypass road from León that leads to the highway to Chinandega. Only a couple kilometers from León there is a sign pointing to Lechecuagos, a rural community, and there is also a sign that indicates the Cerro Negro. From here the road is unpaved and signs are set up in the direction of the volcano. Sometimes roadsigns are missing in this maze of sandy paths, so be sure to ask around whenever the direction is not clear.
We have 6 related tour(s) available that can be booked online.
Cerro Negro Tour
By: Cooperativa Pilas-El Hoyo
By: "El Perezoso" Agencia de Turismo Responsable
Cerro Negro Volcano Boarding from Las Peñitas Beach and Leon
By: Volcano Adventure Nicaragua
Cerro Negro volcano boarding plus Mangrove tour
By: Volcano Adventure Nicaragua
Five Day Volcano Circuit
By: Eco-Camp Expeditions
ShadowCaptain6784 wrote on Mar 10, 2023:
Hello, I like this volcano because I can image what slide canceling would be like on there.
wrote on Apr 9, 2019:
yo this volcano is pretty hot haha get it
wrote on Apr 1, 2019:
what city is near the volcano
wrote on Mar 11, 2019:
i like airpods and got drip.
wrote on Jan 15, 2019:
wrote on Nov 27, 2018:
kj wrote on Mar 9, 2018:
kj wrote on Mar 8, 2018:
this is litt
ViaNica.com team wrote on Mar 6, 2018:
Thanks! We have revised the info with Nicaragua volcanoes authority (INETER) and we changed the volcano classification to Cinder Cone.
lookarthisdude wrote on Mar 4, 2018:
and thank you too patrick
wrote on Mar 4, 2018:
thanks egg master
patrick wrote on Mar 23, 2017:
its a cinder cone volcanoe
egg master wrote on Nov 20, 2016:
just so you know the type is wrong it is actually a cinder cone
Fábio wrote on Nov 1, 2016:
Hola yo hize el volcano boarding con ustedes y gustaria de ver los vídeos y fotos. Donde estan ?
TYRONNE wrote on Sep 20, 2016:
YO DOGGGGGTG THIS CANO SWAGILICOUS
Mitchell K Harris wrote on Aug 22, 2016:
Just went boarding down Cerro Negro. Make sure you lean back all the way to get enough speed to make it fun. I finally got up some good speed, then fell off my board! Didn't hurt at all and was a boat-load of fun!
The hike to the top is gorgeous too! Be sure to hike up the back-way for the best view.
billy wrote on Dec 7, 2015:
billy was here
wrote on Dec 7, 2015:
bob wrote on Dec 7, 2015:
i like chicken
Alyssa wrote on Jan 9, 2014:
i am very confused is Cerro negro a cinder cone or a strato pls write me!! b4 the 13th!
ASUNCION MALTEZ wrote on May 28, 2013:
ESTO ESTA BÁRBARO ESTO ME ENCANTA
Alcela wrote on Feb 28, 2013:
Piper wrote on Dec 13, 2012:
i like the pictures becasue they show how nice and cool Ometepte, Nicaragua. And i like how you put information next to the pictures.
salmita mejia wrote on Oct 4, 2012:
esta cool la pagina sigan asi
eduardo moraga wrote on Apr 5, 2012:
esta excelente la pagina
anna wrote on Mar 28, 2012:
who told you that it was a stratovolcano!?
irias francisco wrote on Mar 27, 2012:
please leave me information on the stay in la maquina
ana wrote on Oct 13, 2011:
nacio en el 13 de abil en 1850
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Rachel wrote on Nov 9, 2008:
You actually CAN climb the steep side of the mountain, if you're in for a good workout.
That truly gives you a sense of accomplishment.
All you need is to pace yourself.
Donna Watkins wrote on Mar 20, 2008:
Climbing Cerro Negro was awesome! I was certainly say....pile on the sunscreen. I am paying the price; blisters on my shoulders.
Also, if you decide to board down the ash.....be sure you have upper body strength because you may have to carry your board the whole way!
Kristin Van Cauteren wrote on Nov 27, 2006:
CLIMBING THE CERRO NEGRO IS EASY.THE CLIMB TAKES ABOUT 30 MINUTES AND IS NOT THAT STEEP.BUT THE VIEUWS ARE VERY BEAUTIFUL AND YOU CAN SEE THE OLD LAVA GLIMMERING ON THE SLOPES OF THE VULCANO.IT'S VERY INTERESTING BECAUSE THIS VULCANO IS FULL OF LIFE.YOU CAN SEE THE STEEMING CLOUDS AND SMELL THEM.THE GOING DOWN TAKES 10 MINUTES, EVEN WHEN YOU ARE RUNNING VERY SLOW!
andy wrote on May 21, 2006:
pretty much the same advice as the others. sun lotion and lots and lots of water! we caught the bus from leon to malpaisillo early in the morning, had a pretty large meal there to stock up and set off on the 10km walk to the cone. long, straight sun drenched dirtpaths so it is very tiring. found a guide, who led us up to ascend the cone. this was less tiring than the walk from malpaisillo! stunning views of sorrounding area and previous lava flows. an absolute must if your in the area. the rubber on soles of my boots began to melt at the summit, and the sulphur in places was unbearable. 10 minute descend was definately the highlight tho. enjoy.
Gerrit wrote on May 27, 2005:
Climbing the Cerro Negro is really great. I'm not such a climber, but I took a more or less easy way up. And for sure, there is also a faster but more or less killing way up (but as I said, I'm not such a climber). The view is breathtaking and the volcano itself is quite special with nothing else than the volcano. And please take water and sun protection with you. If you're on top look down at the slope and imagine how it would be to go down by bike. I was told a Frenchman did it twice. Others seem to return to earth by a (sort of?) snowboard. Don't take this as an advice to go up with a bike or snowboard because it really must be dangerous. So just think of it.
Have lots of fun!
Lotte wrote on Apr 29, 2005:
Yeah, its clever to protect yourself against the sun. Otherwise, it will be 'Let it burn!'
The Cerro Negro is a beautiful volcano. On the top, the surroundings are amazig. Its like another planet! Never seen this nice things before!
The nicest way back is there were the stones are like gravel. You can slide down like ski-ing. Don't do this at your ass, because your pair of trousers are worthless afterwards.... ( very funny!)
Jeronimo wrote on Apr 16, 2005:
If you're around Leon, you should climb this amazing vulcano! You'll find your way up climbing over hot vulcanic rocks and after taking some 'fresh' sulfurous breaths, the way down (wich you'll probably do running)is even more exciting.....
My free but important advice :
If you start climbing early in the morning, you can enjoy your afternoon in the citycenter of Leon watching the people walking by; otherwise (and in my case) you'll be laying down on your Leon 'hotelito' bed, dehydrated and tired for the rest of the day......