Last Updated on November 4, 2022

Have you ever heard of volcano sledding? Overwhelmed by a moment of adventurous madness, you might want to take up a new extreme sport, one that takes you to exotic places to make you rediscover the true taste of adrenaline.

Also known as “volcano boarding” or “ashboarding”, it is a sport practice born a few decades ago on the peaks of Mt. Yasur, a volcano in a distant island in the Pacific Ocean, in the country of Vanuatu, but since then has exploded in popularity especially in Latin America.

Considered one of the most absurd and fun extreme action sports, it has now become viral throughout the world, to the point that every month about three thousand tourists fling themselves on the volcano Cerro Negro, near the city of Leon in Nicaragua, to practice it.

Volcano Sledding in Cerro Negro, Nicaragua
Cerro Negro Volcan, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy of Ben Turnbull

The act of volcano sledding is quite similar to that of descending on snow with a sled or snowboard, but instead of the white mantle what you will find are the ashes of an active volcano.

To practice this sport, you need a sturdy board that allows you to slide down the valley. Those who love speed will be able to reach 100 kilometers per hour, volcano boarding is in fact considered an extreme sport and not for the faint of heart.

Volcano Sledding Destinations

1. Cerro Negro – Nicaragua

Cerro Negro, an active volcano in Nicaragua which last erupted in 1999, is currently the most popular destination for volcano surfing. Not only that: it’s also the main attraction that brings people to the nearby city of Leon!

The practice was popularized by the Australian Darryn Webb, who owned a hostel in Leon and decided to attempt sledding down the black slopes of Cerro Negro using whatever he could get: a surfboard, a picnic table, a bed mattress… even parts of a fridge.

Today, volcano boarding is practiced with boards and sleds made of hardwood with a laminated bottom, similar to sandboards. There are countless tours offering to take you on a hike on top of the volcano so that you can enjoy a ride, and you will find plenty of tourists that you can share this experience with.

Video: Volcano Sledding on Cerro Negro

Credits: Scott Perry

2. Pacaya Volcano – Guatemala

An emerging volcano surfing destination in Central America is Pacaya volcano, near Guatemala City and Antigua. It is not nearly as popular as Cerro Negro, but there are a few tour operators that offer volcano boarding tours on Pacaya.

3. Mount Bromo – Indonesia

Mt Bromo is a popular tourist attraction in East Java and suitable for volcano sledding. Known locally as Gunung Bromo, it is accessible from one of the villages nearby, but only when volcanic activity is low.

4. Mount Yasur – Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a small country in the pacific where volcano boarding was first “discovered”, and it can be practiced on the peaks of Mt. Yasur in Tanna Island.

This volcano is extremely active with several small eruptions occurring at the same time, but it is generally considered safe to visit provided you keep an eye on local alerts.

Volcano Boarding Worldwide Map

Read also: History of Volcano Sledding


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