Night Tour of the Masaya Volcano with Active, Jumping Lava!
Hello kind reader(s) and robots:
With our group of three brothers and one cousin all visiting Nicaragua together, we went during the daytime and again at nighttime to visit the Masaya Volcano National Park yesterday. Here is my report:
I was there last night (23 June) and yes you can see the lava quite well. It’s pretty well down in the Santiago crater but very visible, especially from the main promontory and also on the left side of there.
Access is quite well controlled and they do limit your time. My group and I went during the daytime too so we could visit the visitor’s center, well worth it IMO. During the day they weren’t all that strict about the time limit. There was only one park ranger and he couldn’t really keep track of all the people. However, it is officially forbidden to walk the trails. The bat cave tours also are suspended.
So back the the night tour, you can start queuing up in your vehicle beginning at 5:30 pm but I would recommend waiting like we did until about 6 or 6:30 so it is totally dark when you get up to the top. You pay $10 per personl it doesn’t matter if you are a national or foreigner. You drive up to the visitors center, which is closed after 4:30, but there is a gate there and they use that to queue up perhaps twenty vehicles at a time to allow a cohort of vehicles to drive up together.
When you get up to the parking area of the crater, try to maximize your viewing time as they are limiting the time up there to fifteen minutes. I could have watched the lava for hours as it is incredibly mesmerizing. You can also hear the sounds of the lava and it appeared that there are two currents coming in from the west and east and when the pulses coincide there is a wave of sorts…as I say, mesmerizing.
There are maybe two or three park rangers up there at the crater at night and they are in communication with the other rangers at the gates, so when time is up they use a whistle to implore everyone to get back in their cars and go back down. As you’re going down, the next cohort of vehicles is making its way up.
I hope that helps and I know for a fact you will enjoy what you see! I believe there are only three places in the world where you can see something similar, Kileaua (sic) in Hawaii, someplace in Africa, and good ‘ole Nicaragua!
Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua