Last Updated on June 18, 2021
Nicaragua takes sandboarding to the next level: on the black slopes of the Cerro Negro volcano near Leon you can experience the thrills of surfing on an active volcano, officially volcano boarding. This extreme sport is similar to sandboarding but practiced on dunes made of hardened lava and volcanic ashes. There are currently only a handful of locations worldwide where this sport can be practiced, and Cerro Negro is definitely the most famous.
Cerro Negro – Leon, Nicaragua
The Cerro Negro (“Black Hill”) volcano is located about 20 km distance from the city of León, Nicaragua. It is part of the volcano chain named Cordillera de los Maribios. First “born” in 1850, it is both the youngest and most active volcano of Central America, around 2400 feet (728 meters) high. The latest eruption occurred in August 5, 1999 and gave birth to a slope of now hardened lava which made sandboarding on Cerro Negro possible.
Sandboarding in Cerro Negro is no easy feat. A trip to the volcano will last several hours, most of which you will spend hiking. Once at the top, you will have access to some spectacular views of other volcanoes in the central Cordillera de los Maribios. Take a deep breath, make your way to the rim of the crater and assume a surfing stance: you are about to slide down at speeds up to 70 km per hour! Remember all those hours you have spent hiking to reach the peak? It will take you about 3 to 5 minutes to slide back to the base of the mountain with your sandboard. Again, Cerro Negro is not for the faint of heart!
Best Volcano Boarding Tours
There are plenty of companies to choose from if you are planning to go volcano surfing down Cerro Negro, depending on your budget and whether you prefer a public tour (i.e. through a hostel with other people) or a private tour. Most tours include transport from and to your accommodation with an off-road vehicle as well as a tour guide. The cost of volcano boarding in Cerro Negro varies depending on what tour you pick, with lowest prices starting at 25$ for a group tour, or 80$ for private tours. As a rule of thumb, the more people in the tour – the less you need to pay. Sandboard rental and safety gear is always included in the package, whereas the flat 5$ entrance fee to the park may not.
Your volcano boarding tour will likely include the following:
What to wear and what to bring
It is recommended to bring the following with you:
- Closed-toe tennis shoes
- Long sleeve shirt
- Long trousers
- Water and snacks
Warnings and safety tips
Volcano boarding in Cerro Negro can be dangerous. There are unfortunately many reports of people having accidents and ending up at the hospital with a wristed ankle and filled with bruises. Keep in mind that the slope is very steep and slowing down is much harder than it seems. If you trip or fall during your ride will not land you on soft ground, but razor sharp rocks and volcanic debris. It is imperative that you make sure that you have a travel insurance that covers volcanoboarding.
We report a few personal experiences of volcano boarding from someone that that found dangerous andd required medical care, someone who reportedly had their faces ripped off, and several reports of people getting bruises and injuries due to falling off their boards. Again, sandboarding insurance is a must if you are planning to go volcano boarding in Nicaragua.
World Nomads Volcano Surfing insurance
You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from over 130 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
- Trusted reliable underwriters
WorldNomads.com is backed by a suite of strong, secure, specialist travel insurers who provide you with great cover, 24 hour emergency assistance and the highest levels of support and claims management when you need it most.
- Value for money with the cover you need
WorldNomads.com provides cover for what’s important for travellers from over 130 countries. By focusing on what you need and leaving out what you don’t, World Nomads prices are some of the most competitive online.
- Flexibility when you need it most
Had a change of plans? You can buy more cover or claim online while you are still away. You can even buy a World Nomads policy if you’re already travelling.
- Cover for a range of adventure activities
From skiing & snowboarding in New Zealand to whitewater rafting in Colorado, WorldNomads.com covers a range of adventure activities, giving you peace of mind to get the most from your travels.
- World Nomads keeps you travelling safely
All WorldNomads.com members have access to up-to-date travel safety alerts, as well as travel safety advice and tips online through the World Nomads Travel Safety Hub.
- More than just great value travel insurance
All WorldNomads.com members can learn the local lingo through a series of iPod & iPhone Language Guides and can stay in touch with family and friends with an online travel journal.
- Commitment to exceptional customer service
We want to make sure you get the most from WorldNomads.com. You can find out more about why travel insurance is important for your trip. If you have any questions about your travel insurance or travel safety in general, please contact WorldNomads.com directly.
South America Sandboarding Map
Your n°1 source of information on the world of sandsports and desert adventure travel. Our articles are the result of extensive research, personal experience, and knowledge-sharing within the global sandboarding community.