Visiting Nicaragua a few weeks ago for my work trip truly feels like going back home. Of course it's different but there are many things that remind me of home. Including this volcano.
Kalau di Indonesia, kita sudah terbiasa ya melihat gunung, baik yang masih aktif atau tidak, dan bahkan mendaki hingga ke puncak untuk melihat kawahnya. Saya ingat waktu jaman Pramuka saat SMP pernah hiking ke kawah Tangkuba Perahu saat mengikuti Jambore Nasional tahun 1991 (ketahuaaan deh umurnya :)). Dan setelah beberapa lama tidak pernah melihat kawah gunung dari dekat, ternyata dalam perjalanan ke Nikaragua beberapa waktu yang lalu saya mendapat kesempatan lagi untuk melihat hal yang sama, namun di negara Amerika Latin :).
Dubbed as one of the most active volcanoes in the country, the National Park of the Masaya Volcano is indeed another beautiful spot we visited in Nicaragua.
It took around 30 minutes to go to the National Park from Managua by bus. It was an organized tour after we closed the session of our 3-day seminar. By the time we got to the gate, it was still another 10 minutes drive to the top. I heard that those visiting this place can have the taxi taking them up, hike, or try horseback riding tour for around USD 15. I would love to try the last one but we all went in group so I sat nicely in my bus :).
Nearing the top, we spotted the cross on top of the hill and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Nicaragua, our host, who happened to share the same car as me, said that they put it there in order to keep the devil coming out of the volcano.
Since the volcano was very active, the indigenous people living around there call it "the mouth of hell" or La Boca del Infierno in Spanish. I can imagine how dreadful people at that time witnessing the rumbling volcano erupting lava, rocks and sulphur. And I guess by putting the cross there they must have felt much, much safer.
We managed to see the crater which is still smoking and emitting sulfur gases. So we really have to be careful and refrain from staying near the crater too long.
Looking down at the craters amidst its smoky screen and rather unpleasant smell is quite an experience :). The misterious surroundings add the beauty of the place.
The typical vegetation around the area is also interesting to look at.
And the fauna...We were informed by our guide that there is one particular bird, the green parakeets, that has adapted to this rather dangerous habitat with sulfur and smoke and live within the crater. Can you imagine that? They build their nest within the craters and some visitors can see them returning to their nests in the evening or after sunset.
That's why this National Park offers a night tour.
How cool is that! We would be able to see some of those animals, including the flocks of bats, and I guess, perhaps, some glowing lava :).
But of course, I didn't get a chance to try the night tour as right after this visit, we went to Granada to enjoy the sunset sail at Lake Granada :). For sure I will share it in another post :).
We have to be extra careful at some parts along the edge of the craters because of the loose rocks. But the signs are all clear so you should be okay as long as you follow the rules.
Just some quick notes if you come to this area>
1. It's hot, hot, hot
Make sure you have your hat and bottles of water to ensure that you are well hydrated. Although it depends on the the time you visit the area, but Nicaragua is generally tprocal in terms of climate.
2. Wear you comfy shoes
Sneakers and walking shoes will be the best, especially if you plan to try the hiking trails. It's also very sandy so the sands might get into your shoes if you don't wear the proper one.
3. Be careful
When you walk around or take picture, make sure you observe the area and take precautions. Some part of the area are very loose and slipery because of the sand. And the crater is deep as well. so watch out for your loose items like hats, glasses etc when you look down.
All in all, it was an awesome day for me and the group...
Visiting Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua is highly recommended.
Lake Nicaragua, Granada :)..
Wanna hear the story on that? I'll be right back ...