Best Volcanoes In Nicaragua For Adventurous Travellers

Are you looking for some great hikes on the best volcanoes in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua is known as the land of Lakes and Volcanoes and it is so easy to see why. In this post, we will share some of the best volcanoes in Nicaragua for every kind of traveller.

When we visited this awesome country we we blown away by the nature and the landscapes and just how many volcanoes there are that are accessible to us tourists.

Whether you are looking for a lava sighting, some hiking or extreme sports, there’s a volcano for you.

For more inspiration on how to spend your time in Nicaragua, you can also check out our detailed Itinerary.

7 Best Volcanoes in Nicaragua

We have picked these as the best volcanoes in Nicaragua either because we loved our experience with them or because we met others who had told us about their adventures.

  • Cerro Negro for Volcano boarding
  • Masaya Volcano for Impressive Lava Views
  • Volcano Momotombo for the most challenging Hike
  • Conception & Maderas Volcanoes for Challenging hikes and incredible views
  • Telica Volcano for Hiking, camping & volcanic activity
  • Mombacho Volcano for cloud forests and wildlife
  • El Hoyo Volcano for Hiking & Camping

In this Map you can see the locations of all of these volcanos throughout Nicaragua;

map showing the locations of the best volcanoes in Nicaragua

1 – Cerro Negro

This is the best volcano in Nicaragua for an activity called volcano boarding.

It is one of those things that even if you try to resist you will most likely end up standing at the top of the volcano holding your board wondering how on earth you ended up there.

Everywhere we went, everyone we met had either done it or was planning to do it. So naturally we had to give it a try for ourselves and see what all the hype was about.

TOP TIP*** I highly recommend joining the sunset tour.

The tour will consist of a 30-40 minute drive to the base of Cerro negro volcano from where you will begin the hike to the top. The Hike takes around an hour and it is fairly tough, especially since you are also carrying a large wooden board with you.

A group of people walking up the side of a volcano in a line

If you don’t think you will manage, you can also pay one of the guys to carry the board for you. They don’t mind honestly, it is the way they provide for their families.

Once at the top you suit up in the orange jumpsuits they provide and get ready to slide all the way back down to the bottom. Trust me when I say it is a long way down!

How fast you go is up to you, just remember to listen carefully to the safety instructions because it is pretty easy to end up with a serious injury if you do something wrong.

When you are all back down at the bottom the real fun begins as the guides light a bonfire and get the drinks out!

✔️ The best company to do this with is Bigfoot Hostel and you can find them here!

a girl in an orange boiler suit sliding down a volcano on a wooden board in Nicaragua

2 – Masaya Volcano

If you are keen to see some real-life volcanic lava then Masaya Volcano is the place to be.

Masaya volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in all of Nicaragua. It is pretty much how our childhood imaginations would picture a volcano too. A great big crater with a bubbling pool of red hot lava deep inside it.

The best time to visit Masaya is at sunset. The lava is much more vivid the darker it gets.

Masaya Volcano is a short drive away from Granada and believe it or not the car park is situated right at the top next to the crater. There is little to no walking involved in this one. Just a few steps up to a higher viewpoint if you want but the best views are from the edge of the car park.

✔️ Book your tour to see the bubbling lava for yourself at Masaya Volcano!

Looking down on the car park on the edge of the crater of Masaya volcano in Nicaragua

3 – Volcano Momotombo

Momotombo Volcano is known for being one of the most challenging hikes in all of Nicaragua.

This makes it the best volcano to visit if you want to challenge yourself.

The hike is only 5.5km but it is steep and the ground is volcanic gravel and dust making it incredibly hard to walk on. Not to mention this is an active volcano so also potentially pretty dangerous.

It is worth it though because at the top you will be treated to some epic views across to Lake Nicaragua. Just remember that it is mandatory to do this hike with a Guide and you will need to book a couple of days in advance as they will need to apply for permits to access the volcano.

We have heard that this local tour company in Leon are great to do this hike with.

4 – Conception & Maderas Volcanoes

Although Conception and Maderas volcanos are two very separate volcanoes, I have joined them as they are both located on Ometepe Island.

This unique island was formed by these 2 volcanoes and is now a super popular place for both tourists and locals to visit.

Both Conception and Maderas are very large volcanoes and the hikes are classed as very challenging. It is possible to hike both of them but each one will take a full day. However, for both of them, you will NEED to have a local guide with you.

These volcanoes are not for the faint-hearted but I can only imagine how incredible the views will be from the top of either of them.

✔️ Feeling up to the Challenge? Book your guide to hike up Conception Volcano Here!

5 – Telica Volcano

Telica Volcano is perhaps one of the best volcanoes in Nicaragua because it is so diverse in terms of tours and hiking options.

You can choose to do the hike with or without a guide. You can do a sunset or sunrise guided tour or evening an overnight camping trip on the volcano. Whatever takes your fancy.

Telica is located around a 1.5-hour drive from Leon and the hike to the top of the volcano Takes around an hour. It is also possible to reach the volcano by public transport making it a super easy day out.

However, joining a guided tour will include your transport, snacks and usually even a t-shirt and dinner too.

The sunset tour is usually the preferred way to experience Telica volcano. This way you get to do the hike, experience the beautiful sunset and then see the lava more clearly once it is dark.

✔️ Take a look at this guided sunset tour to Telica Volcano from Leon!

6 – Mombacho Volcano

One of the best volcanoes in Nicaragua for wildlife and nature is Mombacho Volcano.

Mombacho is totally unique thanks to it being almost fully covered in lush green jungle and towards the top, a magical cloud forest. Even the crater is now fully covered in thick forest.

It is possible to visit Mombacho independently but in the end, we opted to take a guided tour and we are so glad that we did. Not only did it save us tonnes of time and energy thanks to not having to walk up the first half of the volcano (where there isn’t too much to see).

We also had a great Guide who showed us the way and made sure we didn’t miss a single viewpoint along the way. Some of them are well hidden so we definitely would’ve.

Once we arrived in the cloud forest, right at the start of the hike we saw a small sloth sleeping in one of the trees. What a great start!

There are 3 different routes you can do that all vary in size. We did the shortest one which was around a 1.5-hour hike and took us on a whole loop of the crater. The longest is far more challenging and would take half a day to complete.

✔️ Check out this tour of the same route we did around the crater of Mombacho Volcano!

The crater of Mombacho Volcano in Nicaragua full of trees

You can see our full list of our favourite hikes in Central America here!

7 – El Hoyo Volcano

El Hoyo Volcano is another great volcano located not too far from Leon that you can visit independently or as part of a guided tour. You also have the option of visiting the top and back or camping on the volcano overnight.

The hike is around 6.5km each way and there is a campground located near the top.

One of the special things about this active volcano is that at the top there are 2 cool natural attractions. The first is a large sinkhole that looks like a mini crater on the grassy slopes near the top. This is actually how the Volcano got its name. El Hoyo translates to the hole.

The second is a large fumarole or hole that is constantly producing large amounts of steam due to the volcanic activity below.

The hike is fairly simple if you choose to do it independently. Otherwise, you can opt to join a guided tour. You may prefer to have a guide so that you can worry less about timings and navigation and spend more time and energy enjoying the scenic views along the way.

✔️ Check out this sunset tour to El Hoya from Leon!

Good To Know Before You Hike The Best Volcanos In Nicaragua

Now that we have covered some of the best volcanoes in Nicaragua for hiking, seeing lava, camping and enjoying nature. Here are a few tips to help you make sure you are fully prepared before you embark on your volcanic adventures.

✅ Always check first if you will need a guide or a permit.

✅ Make sure to carry plenty of water with you on any of these hikes.

✅ Download the app MapsMe. This way you can download the area while you are on WIFI then if you lose connection on the hike you can still access a map.

✅ Make sure you check how you will get back to your accommodation when you are finished with your hike. The last thing you want is to miss the last bus back after a long hike.

✅ Tell someone where you are going. This is a sensible thing to do no matter where in the world you are if you plan to head out into nature.

✅ Take a torch. Especially if you plan to do a sunset hike.

✅ Leave the drone at home. Drones are banned in Nicaragua and if you are caught with one they will take it from you or expect a hefty bribe.

A girl walking down a path on a volcano in Nicaragua covered in bushes

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Nicaragua

Nicaragua has only 2 seasons. The wet and the dry seasons. For many people, the best time to visit is during the dry season months of November to May.

Best Volcanos in Nicaragua FAQs

Just in case you were still left wondering about the best volcanoes in Nicaragua, here are a few more answers to some frequently asked questions;

What volcano can you swim in Nicaragua?

Apoyo Volcano is said to have created Apoyo Lagoon, which is now perfect for swimming in. It has an ideal temperature of 28 °C all year round.

Can I see lava in Nicaragua?

You certainly can. Masaya Volcano is the ideal place to see Lava in Nicaragua if you don’t want to do a full volcano hike. Alternatively, you can also hike up Telica volcano and see the lav there.

How many volcanoes are there in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua has a total of 19 volcanoes.

How many active volcanos are there in Nicaragua?

Out of the 19 Volcanos in Nicaragua, 7 of them are currently active.

A view of the crater of Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua

Best Volcanos in Nicaragua – Final Thoughts

Nicaragua will forever be the land of Volcanos for us. We spent some much time on them or admiring them and found a new sense of appreciation for the sheer force of nature that they embody.

I would also recommend if you have time, to take a walking tour in either Leon or Granada and hear first-hand from a local how the volcanoes have impacted their lives. It was truly eye-opening.

As for the best Volcanoes in Nicaragua, I would have to say my favourite was Mombacho.

I hope you found this guide useful and I would love to hear which Volcanoes you end up exploring.