What? A 4-6 hour hike up to the still active Telica Volcano. There is the chance to camp overnight and see the magma in the crater under the night sky and stars.
Where? Near the city of León in Nicaragua
How Much? Anywhere from US$35 to US$65
I can still remember the first time I saw a video of an active volcano.
I was about 6-7 years old and was watching an episode of Reading Rainbow. Do you remember that show?
I remember the guy from Star Trek was talking about how immense and powerful the volcano was. I was truly in awe and here he was standing in front of it as hot magma was flowing and spouting from the top of it!
I didn’t know how, if or when but I knew that I needed to witness something amazing like that.
Finally, a few months ago, the opportunity came and I made plans to hike Telica Volcano in Nicaragua.
I had been traveling in Central America for almost a month and kept hearing about people hiking up volcanoes. Some said they saw magma and some didn’t.
I talked to some local tour guides and they said that’s how it goes. Sometimes you go up and you can see it while other times you don’t. It’s just the luck of the draw.
I admit, I was a little flustered that I may leave Central America having hiked a volcano but never seeing the heat and power from it.
I was in León Nicaragua when I finally came across the answer I had been looking for.
I asked the tour guide through EcoCamp, “Will I see the hot magma?”
“Yes, we’ll camp at the base and in the night, we’ll hike to the edge and you can look down and see it”
Sold, I booked the hiking expedition and prepared for the trip the next day.
Looking back, I just now realized that I hiked up two volcanoes in one day. The morning of, I went volcano boarding down Cerro Negro and immediately after began the trek up to Telica Volcano.
Anyway, it was myself, two of my friends and our guide that made the hike up to Telica Volcano. We started at a bus stop near the volcano but still quite a ways away. It’s about a 4-6 hour hike to the top depending on how fast you go.
The hike up was incredible. It was the rainy season so everything was incredibly lush. Dense jungle and fascinating wildlife met us all along the way up until the crater itself.
Being that we started late (due to volcano boarding in the morning) we actually ended up doing most of the hike while the sun was out and the last quarter in the dark with our headlamps.
I have to admit. I don’t know if it was the fact that I had hiked the other volcano earlier or the fact that I didn’t have time to eat a great lunch, but towards the end I was struggling. Maybe it was a combination of the two and the gear we were carrying.
Either way, the last quarter portion of the hike kicked my ass.
It was pitch black when we got to the base camp and a couple of other groups were already there. Fumbling in the dark, we erected the tent, ate a quick meal and started the hike towards the top.
With every step I began getting more excited. At the base camp you can hear a low rumble emitting from the volcano. As we made it to the top the crescendo of noise grew so immense it was as if we were standing next to jet engines.
We finally made it.
We stayed up there for a long time. For a long while I just laid and sat there.
Here I was, at the edge of a volcano, peering down at hot magma at the base of the crater.
Above me thousands upon thousands of stars covered the night skies.
It was one of the most surreal experiences. Here I was…
One person, next to One massive volcano, in One country, on One large continent, on One huge planet, in One giant solar system, part of One enormous galaxy, and all of that is only a fraction of a fraction of a spec in this Universe…
I was in awe and felt so incredibly small. Not in a bad way. In the way that I realize that I have so much more living and learning to do.
Have you ever felt like that?
(Myself and Felix, one of my buddies that came with, love photography so of course we had attempt to take some cool shots)