Cloud Forests and Volcanos

On the last two days of my time in Nicaragua, we traveled between Masaya, Granada, and Managua, visiting local shops and seeing the sights. And we visited not just one volcano, but two!

The first was on Friday, in the afternoon after we left Makengue. We entered Masaya Volcano National Park and drove up and up and up, higher and higher, in an experience that reminded me of riding up San Simeon to Hearst Castle in California. Here’s the view:

Masaya Overlook

Then there was the actual crater itself. The smoke and sulfur rising from it was so thick we couldn’t see very far into it, but we could go right up to the wall on the edge of it.

Peering into the crater of the Masaya Volcano

Here was a sign detailing all of the dangers:

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And a final shot from Masaya:

That was just day 1. On the next day, Saturday, we went to the Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve, near Granada. This stratovolcano is over 1300 meters high, and am I glad we took a van to the top. It would have taken a few hours otherwise… But never fear! We still got our daily exercise walking the mile trail around the crater. Mombacho is extinct, having erupted last in 1570. Since then, it has been covered in a forest, which due to the altitude, is always covered by  frequent low-level cloud cover. Hence, a cloud forest!

Before starting on our hike though, the guide called us over to the end of the road. Pointing to a tree above him, he showed us… a sloth!

A sloth at Mombacho

The hike around the crater was fantastic. There were so many pretty flowers and little animals:

Mombacho Lizard

Fantastic views:

Camille Mombacho

And we could even see Masaya from Mombacho:

Mombacho Masaya

There were also some very cool geographic features, including a steam vent (rising from a mile down)…

Steam Mombacho

…and a small hill that an earthquake ripped apart, creating a path through it.

Earthquake Rift

Visiting these volcanos was truly one of the highlights of the trip. And I completed a bucket list item! Here’s one last picture: the group pre-hike (Nico and Professor Tudge were on an alternate trail, and Angela took the picture).

The class pre-hike.

Jack Struck

Student in our nation's capital, studying International Relations with a focus on the Middle East. Web designer, runner, reader, and leader.

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