Directly upon arriving in the town of Masaya, we tell the lady of our accommodation that we want to visit Masaya volcano that day. She arranges a driver who shows up late, but then we are on our way. Traffic is heavier than expected, and at the entrance to the National Park (the first one of Nicaragua), we have to wait a long time to just pay our fee. During the day, entrance is free, but you have to pay for an evening visit. It is amazing how badly organised the place is. Our driver feels the pressure, and makes sure he drives up the volcano as fast as he can. We have seen the mountain from a distance, of course, and saw the smoke coming out of it - but since Masaya is only 635 high it is not overly impressive from a distance. When the driver finally parks the car, we almost run to the rim of the crater to get our first glimpse.
There, deep below us: a smouldering, orange lava lake, in which we can see violent mini eruptions. Unfortunately, there is a fence blocking us from a more direct view into the spectacle below. We want to walk the crater rim, but much of it is off limits. Surely for safety reasons: apart from the gases and the steep crater, we can see that the rim is eroding. We walk to the nearby viewpoint, with many people on the way up. The small viewpoint is crowded, and when it is finally our turn, we look deep down into the crater. Alas, it is only partially visible. Climbing on the wall is not allowed, and there is even a supervisor to make sure no one even tries. We stay to see the sun set behind the gaseous clouds billowing out of the crater, giving some amazing light effects.
Once the sun is really down, we walk back to the first viewpoint again. There are more people now: after nightfall, the volcano is at its most spectacular. We stay for a long time to watch the intense orange glow, the smoke rising up from deep below, the constant moving of the lava. There are four craters inside the caldera: Masaya, Nindiri, Santiago, and San Pedro. Masaya is one of a string of volcanoes that runs across Nicaragua. After a while, we decide to walk back to our taxi. In the next days, we will regularly see Masaya from a distance, with a constant plume of smoke coming out of it. From a distance, it looks almost peaceful, but we now know that inside, Mayasa holds a fierce heart and a seemingly direct connection with the inner earth.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Masaya Volcano (Nicaragua). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Masaya Volcano. Read more about this site.