Defying the intense smell of sulfur, the tourists come to look out at the seething lava pit near the surface of the crater of the Masaya volcano , whose fury the Indians tried to placate in the past by sacrificing maidens and children.
Photos: Masaya Volcano, impressive
“It is something extraordinary, unique in the world,” Noheli Pravia, a French tourist told AFP while watching the turbulent magma seen from the crater rim less than 100 meters deep.
Masaya, Kilauea in Hawaii and Nyiragongo in Africa are the only volcanoes in the world that have periodic outpourings of magma in its crater, says the Nicaraguan geographer and environmentalist Jaime Incer .
Lava of Masaya Vocano, located 20 km from the Nicaraguan capital, has been rising to the surface every 25 or 30 years since 1902 and after a while it disappears, but it always keeps emitting sulfur fumes that spread around the area, rusting roofs on houses and ravaging vegetation.
According to Incer, if the incandescent material rises its level up each occurrence, it is possible that within 150 years the volcano will make a similar eruption to 1772, when the flow reached the area where the international airport exists today.
A few kilometers from the volcano, the village of Piedra Quemada that keeps the vestiges of that eruption is based.
“Before there was no land here but stones , ” says Sandra Perez, one of the 6,000 people who have learned to live with the volcano and do not believe it is a threat.
The small cone, 400 meters high, came 5,000 years ago. It consists of five craters of which only one -called Santiago- remains active, crowned by a dense plume.
Six months ago, the hole increased activity with magma flows accompanied by sporadic micro-earthquakes.
“It ‘s the first time I have seen something like this, it is very impressive , ” says Mijaela Cuba, an Austrian nurse.
She is one of the 4,000 tourists who have climbed to the burning throat of the volcano in the last two weeks since the government authorized the entry of people, although limited to a visit of a few minutes due to gases.
Only green parrots and bats nest permanently and survive in the toxic environment of the crater.
It s “very special” adds excited young Taiwanese Sami Yen who takes photos to the crater rim where the magmatic waves are heard.
The volcano is located in the most populated area of the Nicaraguan Pacific and is part of a protected area of 54 km2, which include vast fields of petrified lava populated by white trees, the Sacuanjoche, the national flower of Nicaragua.
Snakes abound, white-faced monkeys and animals that can withstand high temperatures, says the guide Luis Solano.
The flames of Masaya, who made two strong eruptions in 1670 and 1772, frightened the Spanish conquistadors.
“It ‘s a mouth of fire that never stops burning , ” the first governor Pedrarias wrote to the king of Spain in 1525.
The friar Francisco de Bobadilla was believed that the door to hell, so he installed a huge cross at the edge of the crater.
While the greedy Friar Blas del Castillo thought the gold was melted and washed down hanging from a basket to remove material according to the legend.
Chorotega Indians who inhabited the area tried to calm the angry volcano offering a sacrifice of children and maidens They claimed that the witch “Chalchihuehe” lived in the burning pit.
In the 70s, the Somoza dictatorship launched into the mouth of the volcano an ex-colaborador of the Sandinista guerrilla, David Tejada, the Sandinista excolaboradora Vilma Nunez told AFP.
I am arriving in Managua around 8pm and was wondering if I have time to get to UCA for a 9 pm shuttle to Masaya, and also if shuttle buses from the airport to Granada run that late. Any suggestions on the best way to get to UCA at that time? Would it be more advisable to stay in Managua and travel the next day?
I’d say no chance to get to La UCA at that time and that there would be no bus leaving that late. Like others have written, it is basically either do the shuttle or private sedan, so max $40 but you can split that up to three ways with 3 pax. The other option would be to look for a nice place to stay that will come pick you up and be located near the route from UCA to Granada and then the next morning you would only pay about a buck to go to Granada instead of up to $40.
Arriving in Managua at Night?
This question comes up fairly frequently in the travel forums about Nicaragua, as a lot if not a majority of flights come in at night, when arriving in Managua how would one get to Granada or is it better to wait until the next day?
I’ve answered this before in an original blog post: Head-to-Head Comparison: After Arriving at the Managua Airport, Going Directly to Granada vs. Staying near Carretera a Masaya
Bottom line is that, after arriving in Managua, you should be able to decide if it’s okay with you to get to Granada the next morning instead of at a late hour at night.
If you decide to go with the El Portón Verde solution, you can:
- experience the “soft landing service” in which we specialize
- save yourself some money
- have a cooler, more natural and certainly more tranquil night time sleeping environment
- by taking the short 45 minute bus to Granada you can see a nice bit of the country, including lakes and volcanoes
Now I’ve had expats of Granada give me a really hard time about this modest proposal I make, as if enough tourists don’t go directly to Granada as soon as they land! I don’t argue that what is right for an individual traveler is always the best thing for everybody, but I do contend that for someone who wants a softer landing to Nicaragua, have a chance to see a friendly face, be greeted by someone who speaks your language meets you at the Managua airport, gives you a nice comfortable ride and room at a farm where in the morning you’ll have an incredible view, eat a great filling breakfast, have a chance to do a quick farm tour or a dip in our swimming pool, then we get you on the bus for a short trip to Granada that only costs $1 USD, well, that is a good proposition for some people, am I right?
elportonverde Managua, Nicaragua Level Contributor 754 posts 22 reviews 2.
Feb 08, 2016, 2:13 PM
Greetings winger88: Coming in at night there would be no public bus available. If you are up for another 2 1/2 hours in a vehicle after flying all day and are okay with arriving late at night, then you can use a private shuttle service like iSKRA Travel, NicaRoads, etc.
The last scheduled (shared) shuttle is cheaper but leaves the airport at 5:30pm so you might not be able to make it. The private shutlle is $80 for one or two passengers.
Taking the bus the next morning would be a lot cheaper if that is important to you, If you go that route, I would suggest staying at a place off of Carretera a Masaya so you could catch the bus as it heads out of town. Otherwise, go to the Mercado Huembes and get the bus to SJdS or to Rivas, then switch to a bus to SJdS from there.
Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua
Finding a good Rental in Nicaragua: How to rent a house or apartment in Nicaragua without paying the “Gringo” price
Are you thinking of coming down to Nicaragua for a few months? Is a house or apartment Rental in Nicaragua in your future? This article will help you make sense of how rentals work in Nicaragua and give you some tips on what you can do prior to coming down in person and what you can do when you finally arrive in-country. The goal is to ensure that you are paying the going rate, not an overly-inflated “gringo price.”
If you look like something like the Cobb family below and start asking about real estate prices, you won’t get the best prices. (Of course, Mike Cobb runs the Gran Pacifica resort and residential development so he and his lovely family don’t have this as a challenge!)
Would you like to rent a place for the majority of the time you’ll be staying in Nicaragua instead of moving around from town to town? That’s a great idea as you’ll really get to know the area and will be able to get a better feel for living in Nicaragua as opposed to just visiting as a tourist. This is also an excellent step to take if you are seriously considering relocation here.
As you might imagine, visiting a place on vacation is different than living here. Even if it’s just for a winter or a summer, renting a place for say three months will give you lots of insight as to what it’s really like to live here. There’s not doubt that this step will give you plenty of opportunity to have the sorts of experiences that separate the wannabees from the folks with true expatriate abilities and suitability. Not everyone is cut out for expat life!
If you are back home scouring the Internet, you’re not likely to see too many bargains, and some of the listings probably don’t even show photos, so it might be a bit difficult to judge whether or not a place looks suitable for your needs. Sure you can look at encuentra24.com for some decent listings, but even so, very few rentals in Nicaragua are listed on the Internet. The standard advice is to come down to Nicaragua and, if you have an idea already as to where you would like to live, go there.
If you’ve never been to Nicaragua and don’t have any specific place in mind that you would like to live, then you have some basic homework to do, which mostly consists doing your research. (Check out this article by Darrell Bushnell for help on Where to Live in Nicaragua?) If you haven’t already, consider going around the country and seeing the main towns and villages. You need to find out if you really are a beach person, city person, country person, etc. and only by moving around frequently can you figure that part out.
For purposes of this article, let’s assume you have decided on a place you like. Once you are in your location, take a room at a cheap hostel or rent a room in a private house for a week or so. For your short-term housing, in addition to the usual sources of information like TripAdvisor for reviews of your lodging options, you might also look at airbnb.com which offers excellent social content in the form of reviews from past guests. You might also try the Nicaragua craigslist.
Now that you have your place for the week, here is some advice and tips to help you find a couple of possibly good places for you to rent:
- Hit the streets!
Walk the streets of the town, or hire a driver if you are looking for somewhere out in the country or outside of the town or village and look around.
- Bring a person to translate for you if your Spanish is not up to snuff.
Tip: Don’t just talk to other foreign expats. Get out and talk to Nicaraguans. If you find this step to be uncomfortable, then you may not be ready for expat life. Word.
- If you find a neighborhood you like, walk the streets. If you see someone sweeping the sidewalk or coming in/out of the front of their house, stop and ask them if they know of a anyplace for rent in the area.
- Talk to your host or landlord of your short term lodging. Tell them what you’re looking for, they might be of some help. But if they are fellow expats, just be aware that they may only know of places for rent that are owned by other expats, so you might be paying “gringo prices.” Also, they may want you to rent one of their properties, even if it isn’t suitable for you.
However, since your host or landlord obviously already lives in the area, and if you like the general vicinity, he or she may be uniquely situated to be well-informed as to what is available in the neighborhood.
- Don’t talk to a realtor, real estate agent, or property management company unless paying the gringo price is what you want. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen prices doubled and sometimes tripled when you go this route.
Realtors and agents, this is just my opinion and everybody needs to make a living, so feel free to chime in here to let us know why your services are so valued. Comments are welcome!
Now that you have a couple-three places identified, here are some more tips:
- Walk the area at different times of day and different days of the week. You might find the place quiet on a Sunday afternoon but Friday night might be a whole different story!
- Hire a Nicaraguan to go and scope out the rental(s) for you.
Note: You may also have to hire a translator for this part if your Spanish isn’t up to snuff. If they are one and the same, all the better! We’ll call this person your helper.
- Show your helper the places in which you are interested. Let him or her know where the places are located that you want to look into, (maybe do a drive-by first to familiarize your guy/gal with the area) and ask them to go to the locations later, preferably on foot, and make phone calls and knock on doors.
- Helper goes alone and asks questions. When your helper gets ahold of the owners/landlords, have them ask about the availability, the price, terms, and what the neighbors are like.
- Helper reports back their findings. Schedule a meeting later that day or the next day so that your helper can tell you what they found. Take notes!
These steps can be very helpful in that you will find out what the “real” rental price is, and a local will be better equipped to find out the real deal with both the specific location and the larger neighborhood.
For example, it’s good to find out ahead of time:
- If there is an evangelical church nearby, there will be lots of loud singing and music several evenings a week in addition to Sundays.
- If there is a “cantina” “taverna” or bar in the area, there will be music at night, especially on weekends, and probably drunks staggering about and possibly peeing in your front yard.
Once you get this “inside scoop” information, you’ll be in a much better place to make an informed decision. Good luck finding the perfect Rental in Nicaragua for you and your family! Please add any of your tips or comments below.
Vancouver Island…Level Contributor579 posts41 reviews
Easiest nice beach to reach by bus from Managua for a weekendJan 13, 2016, 4:45 PMGood day. The headline says it all. Looking for recommendations for a nice beach close to Managua suitable for a weekend break and reachable by bus without too many hassles.
Thanks in advance.
Managua, NicaraguaLevel Contributor717 posts17 reviews
1. Re: Easiest nicebeach to reach by bus from Managua for a weekendJan 13, 2016, 9:06 PMGreetings wix:
Two come to mind. The easiest and closest is Masachapa/Pochomil and the other would be La Boquita in Carazo department.
The first you would take the bus from Israel Lewites market. The second you would take an expresso from la UCA to Diriamba, then a local bus from Diriamba to La Boquita. Both have restaurants, hotels, and a tourism infrastructure.
You’d probably actually get to the beach quicker going to La Boquita as the Pochomil bus is a real “Ordinario” chicken bus that takes at least two hours to get there! The bus from Diriamba continues onto Casares after stopping in La Boquita, so that’s another option for you.
Cheers and enjoy!
Mike @ Farmstay El Portón Verde, Managua
Yes there are definitely some nice beaches just an hour or a bit more from Managua that are easily accessed via public bus. This post lists Pochomil/Masachapa and also La Boquita. I remembered at the end there that the same bus that goes from Diramba to La Boquita also continues on to Carares beach, which is another nice beach to go to from Managua.
Granada, Nicaragua. A Spanish-colonial city can be a great choice for retirement, and Granada is one of the best options. This city has a great variety of classic and charming Spanish-colonial homes with high ceilings, painted tiles and private courtyards that you can own for as little as $40,000. Granada is among the most carefully restored and preserved colonial cities in the Americas. This city of 120,000 has a sizeable expat community and attracts many international travelers with its upscale hotels, fine restaurants and well-kept buildings. Many parts of the city are walkable, and the nearby airport in Managua provides many connections to the United States. However, Granada maintains an authentically Nicaraguan feel. You will be able to sample local delicacies and pottery is made by hand. You may even see old oxcarts in the streets. The city is a blend of native Nicaraguan life with modern amenities. You can qualify for Nicaragua’s retiree residency visa program with as little as $600 per month of retirement income. But you’ll probably need a budget of at least $1,200 per month to live here comfortably.
International Living really does a proficient job in selling the dream of retiring overseas and this is a good “get” for them to be published in US News. However, they do omit lots of very important details but once you’ve sold up back home and plopped down in Granada, they don’t really care about what troubles and travails you will experience once you are actually living here! And yes, I am a wee bit jealous of their success! 🙂
From El Porton Verde we see two volcanoes on a clear day, neither of which is this one, Momotombo Volcano. We see Masaya Volcano and in the background we can sometimes also see Mombacho Volcano.
We drove up to see Momotombo Volcano a couple of weeks ago after the initial eruption had died down and were amazed by its beauty. There is a lovely little port where artesanal fisherman head out to Lake Managua to fish. We might go again as seeing the actual eruption would be really cool!
Luckily for us this volcano is some eighty kilometers away from us, so we are safe for the moment! Cheers everyone and here’s to living on the edge!
NIO75 / 2br – Available for Christmas & New Years: Beachfront House, Great Deal! (Masachapa/Pochomil)
2BR / 2Ba available now furnished no smoking wheelchair accessible house carport Casa Ayers in Pochomil
24 Steps to the Sand!
If 24 short steps to a golden sand tropical beach sounds like a good location for your upcoming Nicaraguan vacation, consider booking a stay at this beachfront home which offers two bedrooms and two baths. Perfect for accommodating a couple or family,
Casa Ayers is located in the beach town of Masachapa/Pochomil and offers easy access via paved roads; it is an easy one-hour drive from the Nicaraguan capital of Managua and the international airport.
This home offers good value for your hard-earned vacation dollar. Both bedrooms are air conditioned, there is a nice palm-thatched rancho structure that affords a fresh breeze and sunset views. Imagine yourself in your chaise lounge with a cool drink enjoying a lovely tropical sunset every night of your stay!
True beachfront, with modern amenities and a great airy rancho with awesome sunset views. Whether on a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation, the sounds of the Pacific surf will lull you to sleep and the sunset views from the upstairs Rancho will provide many hours of relaxation and enjoyment.
Whole house, rancho, beach. Onsite secured parking. Interaction with Guests Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde will normally be the one to take you from either the MGA International airport, or from our other listing, Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua, so we can get to know one another and have a chance to pick up groceries and change money when in Managua. I’ll show you how everything works, introduce you to the onsite 24 hour caretakers/security, and in general make sure you are oriented on what you need to know to have an enjoyable vacation.
Casa Ayers is located within walking distance of local restaurants, discos, and bars. A variety of types of food offerings are available, including pizza, seafood, Nicaraguan and international cuisine. Both swimming and surfing beaches are nearby. Just to the north of Casa Ayers is a channel naturally cut into the reef affording a safe sandy swimming area suitable for children and toddlers during the lower tides. Just south is the surfing beach of Pochomil Viejo. Nearby are several other attractive destinations. In the early mornings, you can walk up the beach to the fishing village of Masachapa to meet the fisherman as they come into the beach with the day’s fresh catch. A local public market, supermarket and other amenities are on offer at the nearby town of San Rafael del Sur and right in the village are basic stores offering groceries, clothing, etc. For $2 per person, the taxi will take you into town. The Barcelo Montelimar resort is also located nearby, where there is a gaming casino and all-you-can-eat and drink restaurant.
Buses run daily every half-hour to both the nearby town of San Rafael del Sur (banks, grocery stores, etc.) and to the capital city of Managua. There are taxis and bicycle taxis to take you to bars, restaurants and discotheques. Other Things to Note Casa Ayers is located one hour away from the capital city of Managua, where the international airport is located. Transport via bus, private shuttle, or taxi is readily available. For those arriving at the Managua (MGA) airport late or departing extra early, see my other listings for Farmstay El Portón Verde, Managua, where we offer our famous “soft landing” service, which is specially designed to take the hassle out of the arrival process and is great for first-time visitors to Nicaragua. We can provide transportation between the airport, Farmstay and/or Casa Ayers. Also local tours can be arranged to visit volcanoes, Colonial towns, lakes, and artisan’s markets.
Have a great time! Be respectful that this is a vacation home for the owner, so try not to break things 🙂 We have pets onsite, so your pets are best left back home. Outdoor smoking is okay. Security There is 24 hour onsite security and the property is fenced. You’ll have the keys and it’s perfectly safe to go walking in the area.
CHICHIGALPA, Nicaragua – A new attraction for fans of extreme tourism has been inaugurated at the foot of San Cristobal Volcano, Nicaragua’s tallest, in the northwestern region of the Central American country.
The site, with its inn, dining hall, visitors center, tourist service facility and trails for climbing the 1,745-meter (5,721-foot) high volcano, was constructed with a budget of 250,000 euros ($276,125), funded 80 percent by the European Union and 20 percent by the Chichigalpa city government.
Its construction is aimed at promoting the comprehensive development of the tourism value chain based on the Route of the Colonial Cities and the Volcanoes, the EU said.
“We used to think that all this volcano could do was erupt, but now it’s on the national route of tourist attractions,” Chichigalpa Mayor Victor Manuel Sevilla told EFE.
Gazelle1 London Level Contributor 100 posts 29 reviews
Surfing beaches near Managua or Granada
Sep 13, 2015, 7:22 AM
Hi there, Can anyone tell me the easiest good surfing beach to get to from Managua or Granada? Thank you
Re: Surfing beaches near Managua or Granada
Sep 16, 2015, 12:09 AM
Greetings Gazelle1: The best surfing beaches near Managua are Pochomil, San Diego (Gran Pacifica), and Playa Quizala. More here, “Top five Managua-area Vacation, Surfing, and Fishing Villages” elportonverde.com/2014/…
From Managua, the beaches are about 1 hour away while from Granada, the beaches are about 1 1/2 hours away, plus they aren’t really that great for surfing with possibly the exception of La Boquita.
Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua
Surfing is definitely more accessible and with better quality waves from Managua than Granada IMO. There is one world-class surf spot and three or four other good surfing beaches near Managua. Granada on the other hand, is further away from the ocean and the only real surfing beach is La Boquita, which is okay but definitely neither world-class nor is is it a good beginner’s beach.
I replied later on to the same thread on TripAdvisor that if they are leaving from Granada, they’d be better off going down to the Tola beaches, which are lovely and have fantastic surf! They’ve even held World Surf Championships in Tola!
Overall, there’s an embarrassment of riches as far as surf spots go, as you can see illustrated in this post. I posted there four different Google maps images of just a handful of the known surfspots in Nicaragua. But there’s probably a good twenty or thirty more spots besides the ones I’m posting.