We arrived in Nicaragua’s capital city of Managua with a couple days to spare before our next destination and spent most of our time hanging out at a nice hostel with a pool in the middle of the city.
After a day by the poolside, Alex and Max spent part of the next day hiking a nearby volcano, Volcán Masaya. Joined by our new friend Evelyn from Amsterdam, we caught a local bus to the park entrance and spent a couple hours hiking to the caldera on top.
The trail up to the top was carved through dried lava fields from a huge eruption in 1772.
A few kilometers along the way, we stopped at the park museum, where a guide led us on a tour of the history, geology, and culture of volvanos in Nicaragua.
We learned that the giant eruption of 1772 was perceived by the people of the timeas a vengeful act of God, which shaped the contemporary religious views for generations to come.
Intricate paintings and 3D maps showed the dynamic landscapes of Nicaragua, more or less to scale.
After seeing these maps, we understood why Nicaragua is nicknamed Land of Lakes and Volcanos.
Seeing a big model of the inside of a volcano was a flashback to elementary-school geology, but I now saw it with a newfound appreciation.
The following world map shows the Earth’s techtonic plates, where volcanic activity occurs. Notice how one of the red lines in the middle passes through Nicaragua in the southern part of Central America.
Outside the museum, there was a nice view of the surrounding jungle with Lago Masaya in the background.
Dark clouds, bright lightning, and loud thunder made for an eerily exciting walk.
Once we had gained some elevation, we stopped and looked back at a sunset that lit the big white clouds in a beautiful multi-colored pattern.
These brilliant clouds sat on top of a vast, flat landscapes that stretched wider and wider as we ascended futher.
Eventually, we reached the top, where a sign marked the volcano’s caldera.
The caldera was filled with sulfuric smoke, rising from the bottom and dispersing with the wind once it escaped the walls of the hole it came from.
Seeing an active volcano spew this much smoke was impressive, but after a few minutes of breathing in the thick, noxious smoke and caughing it out, we decided it was best to leave.