We had an early start going into the next day, which would be one of the most packed of the trip. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes and saying goodbye to the sound of the ocean waves, we headed out to the van and piled in to head to the nearby airstrip. We would be taking a private plane to the city of Leon, where we would be exploring some of the major cultural sights and braving the Cerro Negro volcano.
First, we would be taking a prop plane to the other side of the country. After going through security, we waited for our private aircrafts to take us to a whole new part of Nicaragua that we hadn’t experienced before. Popping open some champagne, an air of celebration was in the air. It’s not every day that you have access to a private plane, and it was thrilling feeling the machine lift up in the air. More champagne was passed around, and we all posed for selfies to post later.
No time was wasted as soon as we landed. It was onto the next activity of volcano boarding. We took about an hour car ride to the Cerro Negro volcano, which is still active on occasion but hadn’t exploded in several years. Hopping out of the car, we were equipped with a board and the gear we would need as we would head down the mountain. We strapped the boards on our backs and began the arduous journey up. IVY had supplied a medic in case of emergency, but no one could have predicted the storm that was rapidly blowing in.
“Hurry!” our guide cried. “We need to get going.”
Running the rest of the way, we worked to throw on our denim suits, goggles, bandanas, and gloves. The rain started falling and picking up, and the wind kept whipping us around. I was thankful when we made it to a more sheltered part of the volcano where we could sit out of the storm. In the distance, lightening flashed as the first boarders began their journeys down the mountain.
I watched to make sure that I was doing it right. Over a bit of time, I noticed that leaning back got you going enough that you could fly down the hill just like you were on a sled. When it was my turn, I was so ready to head down the hill that I hardly waited for them to tell me when to go.
Sliding down the volcano, I couldn’t help but giggle and holler all the way down. It was hard not to enjoy the experience of feeling like a kid again—on an active volcano nonetheless. Letting myself barrel down through the volcanic soil was a blast. Any adrenaline I had climbing up was wiped away as I headed down toward my new friends.
We laughed and posed for photos as we congratulated ourselves for still being alive. IVY supplied us a lunch which we ate with a fever before hopping back on the bus. We would be headed back to Leon—a traditional dance performance and salsa class was awaiting us. It was difficult to say goodbye to Cerro Negro without another ride down, but I was excited to test out my rusty salsa skills and to enjoy a night with some of the local Nicaraguan people.
We checked into our beautiful hotel in Leon (a converted convent) and began a quick beauty routine for a night of dancing and fun. I was ready to see what kind of traditional dances the locals had and meeting some of the people that IVY was helping.
Thanks for IVY for sponsoring my time in Nicaragua. Interested in traveling with them? They’re headed to Cuba next.
Have you done anything extreme like volcano boarding on your travels?