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The National Park Masaya Volcano reopens

Róger Solórzano Canales | Jun 20, 2012

The Cruz de Bobadilla, on the shores of the Santiago crater, will still remain closed until further notice. | Photographer: Paul Hoekman

There are new safety standards and the same services continue, except for the closure of risk points.

Today the Masaya Volcano National Park reopened its doors, after been closed to tourism over a month and a half due to increased activity reported in its active crater Santiago, since late last April. According to its administrative office, schedules and tours remain the same, however, new regulations have been issued and some high-risk sites around crater Santiago will be closed, such as the Cruz de Bobadilla and two viewpoints.

It was last April 30th that the park closed by guidance of the “Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales -INETER-” (Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies) following events such as increased in the regular seismicity of Santiago crater, the continuous expulsion of gas columns, and explosions that threw some amount of incandescent rocks. All this had begun three days earlier, on April 27th. Here you can read our article on the closure of the Masaya volcano.

Since this morning the park was already open to the public, and even yesterday there was a meeting between the site management and the tour operators that offer tours to the volcano. The park will be open every day from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. As stated by the administration, they will be maintaining the "regular service day tours to the Comalito, the Coyotes Path, the Caves Trail, self-guided tours in the Visitor Center and the inactive craters San Fernando and San Juan". There will also be performing the night tours by reservations, beginning at 5:00 pm.

Not even during the open visits on the daytime, or during the night tours by reservation, there will be visits to the Cruz de Bobadilla, the Viewpoint II and the Viewpoint Wind allowed, points located along the active crater Santiago that will remain closed "until further notice". Even the “Plaza de Oviedo”, also located along the crater, can only be accessed for a period not longer than 5 minutes, say the guidelines.

These new regulations were designed by the administration, and were reviewed and approved by an interagency committee composed of the “Ministerio del Ambiente y los Recursos Humanos MARENA-” (Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources), the INETER, “Defensa Civil del Ejercito de Nicaragua” (Civil Defense Army) and “Sistema Nacional de Prevención de Desastres - SINAPRED -” Nicaragua (National System for Prevention of disasters).

Here are the new regulations:

1. You are accessing into an active volcano where explosions or eruption without notice may occur as well as phenomena (expulsion of gases, rocks, ash, etc.).

2. Do not expose yourself too long to gases, this irritates the eyes, the respiratory system, affecting asthmatics and reduce visibility.

3. Anyone entering the park must pass through the Visitor Center knowing and signing these rules.

4. All visitors must report their health and inform the guide or ranger whether or not he/she presents respiratory problems like asthma, heart or other that keeps them from being among volcanic gases to atmosphere.

5. For your safety, when visiting the active crater area is not allowed to stay longer than 05 minutes in the Plaza de Oviedo.

6. The areas of the Viewpoint II, Viewpoint “Eco” and Viewpoint “Cruz de Bobadilla”, are closed because of been high risk areas and volcanic earthquake hazard.

7. Visitors must assign a group leader when entering the park, who will sign the rules and take responsibility for their safety, providing his/her details (name, last name and nationality).

8. All groups of visitors must remain together until the end of the tour, meeting the guidelines of the guide or ranger.

9. When visiting the “Plaza de Oviedo”, near craters and caves trail you must meet the evacuation routes in case of volcanic activity.

10. In case of any emergency distress call the park ranger and/or the nearest tour guide for help.

11. Wear appropriately comfortable shoes (preferably boots or sneakers), jeans and cap to enter the area of guided trails.

12. All tourist services (Tour Operators Companies and Tour Guides in general) should observe and respect the provisions of these regulations, following the guidelines issued by rangers and/or guides PNVM. </h1>13. It is recommended that visitors pre-screen the mechanical state of vehicles moving within the PNVM, to avoid accidents. The PNVM is not responsible for any eventuality that may occur with your vehicle during your stay.

14. Keep the speed of 40Km/hour, because as well as the slopes and curves, the existing fauna eventually crosses back and forth on the main road.

15. Park the vehicle in the outbound direction, with the visitors’ belongings locked away.

Translated by Aída Pichardo