Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro with Bigfoot Hostel

Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua with Bigfoot Hostel

In Activities, Nicaragua, Outdoors by Erik @ DIY Travel HQ28 Comments

Volcano boarding on Cerro Negro is not only a must do in Nicaragua, but in all of Central America. Bigfoot invented the sport in 2004, and has put Leon on the map for backpackers across the world!

Volcano Boarding History

Leave it to the Australians and their envy for snow to create volcano boarding!

If you can’t join the other countries, then beat them where they don’t stand a chance.

Travel halfway around the world, find the newest basaltic cylinder volcano, & start a new sport.

For more epic adventures, check out this bucket list of Things to do in Nicaragua!

* Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Nicaragua. We’ve been using World Nomads for over 10 years – it’s the best-value provider we’ve found & we’ve also never had any issues on the few occasions we’ve had to make a claim.

Cerro Negro Home of Volcano Boarding

Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in Central America.

This isn’t to say perfecting the sport came without tribulations.

Daryn Webb, the original owner of Bigfoot Hostel, started testing the best way to descend the volcano in 2004.

He tried mattresses, upside down tables, and finally settled on a wood sled with a metal base for speed!

We here at DIY Travel HQ can’t imagine what the park rangers originally thought watching these things hauled up Cerro Negro.

* Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Nicaragua. We’ve been using World Nomads for over 10 years – it’s the best-value provider we’ve found & we’ve also never had any issues on the few occasions we’ve had to make a claim.

Bigfoot Hostel Invents Volcano Boarding

Bigfoot Hostel makes volcano boarding look good!

The Bigfoot Volcano Boarding Experience

You need to go volcano boarding with Bigfoot if you want one of the most unique experiences in Nicaragua.

Not only are you paying homage to the inventors, but they really do have the fastest sleds in the industry.

Each day they glue a new piece of metal to the base to give you the fastest ride possible.

Bigfoot Hostel Volcano Boarding Tour

You won’t regret booking volcano boarding with Bigfoot Hostel.

Sure, some other companies offer two rides, but the metal is already so worn down by then that you go even slower than the first run.

You are better off going balls to the wall, and seeing if you can beat the 95 km/hr record measured by the speed gun.

Daily and All Time Volcano Boarding Speed Records

How fast are you willing to go?

Getting to Cerro Negro

The whole tour is extremely professional, and caters to the youth market perfectly.

You meet at Bigfoot Hostel at 8:30 am for the briefing, which is easy since most participants are already staying there.

Everyone is then loaded onto transportation, which was a chicken bus for our large group arriving for La Purisima festival the day before.

Bigfoot Hostel Volcano Boarding Group Shot

The groups aren’t usually this large, but the more the merrier!

It takes the better part of an hour to reach the remote Cerro Negro Volcano.

At the entrance to the park you pay $5 (145 Cordoba) for the admission fee before continuing the last several kilometers to the base of Cerro Negro.

Bigfoot Hostel Chicken Bus at Cerro Negro for Volcano Boarding

Stopping to sign-in & pay for entry into Cerro Negro.

Climbing Cerro Negro Volcano

Once there, you leave all large items on the bus so they & you don’t get damaged should you tumble from the board.

Keep in mind that you will need closed toed shoes, water, & can take an action camera like the GoPro HERO6 if you have one.

Bigfoot then provides you with goggles, a backpack with ‘prison’ jumpsuit, & sled for volcano boarding.

Suited Up for Volcano Boarding on Cerro Negro with Bigfoot Hostel

Suited-up & ready to go volcano boarding!

The climb itself looks challenging from a distance since the slopes of Cerro Negro Volcano are loose gravel.

However, a leveled path loops around the volcano making it easy to climb.

The hardest part is carrying the board with gusts of wind at the top.

You can always hire a local to carry the board for you for $5.

Climbing Cerro Negro with Boards

The board is heavier than expected, but still manageable since you take several breaks along the way.

At the top you drop off your gear, and check out the Cerro Negro crater.

You can see the smoke rising from vents, and can actually feel the heat if you scrape away the top layer of gravel.

One of the things we really liked about the Bigfoot tour was that the guide was very happy to take photos with a DSLR camera for us since we didn’t bring our own Nikon D3300 DSLR along.

Cerro Negro Crater

Enjoying the wonderful scenery found at Cerro Negro Volcano.

Volcano Boarding with Bigfoot

Once we returned to our gear, we finally got our instructions for handling the sled.

The short version is that you tap/drag the foot for the direction you want to drift.

You can then lean forward if you want to go slow, or lean all the way back with feet raised for maximum speed!

Learning How to Volcano Board with Bigfoot Hostel

There’s really no difference between volcano boarding and sledding.

Most people start off sitting upright while (re)learning how to sled, & then let loose the second half of the volcano.

This becomes even more insane since the slope becomes even steeper…so steep in fact that you can’t see the drop from the starting point.

Forming Volcano Boarding Lines on Cerro Negro

After some hesitation, we finally had two brave volunteers to go first.

Cruising down Cerro Negro on a sled is a blast!

The whole time you are trying to balance yourself, speed, & direction.

The main thing is to aim for the worn path as it makes steering a lot easier. I happened to hit the moguls at the end & almost lost control.

As you are leaving a trail of dust tearing down Cerro Negro, gravel is also flying at you as the front of the board clears the path.

Most people use a scarf or handkerchief like the Kingree Headwrap for protection, but I say forget that.

You want to be able to see your face when the Bigfoot guide is taking your picture!

Our other advice is to try to go towards the front so you can enjoy watching everyone else come down & see how your speed compares to them.

Wrapping Up the Volcano Boarding Experience

At the bottom you can really see why they need to replace the metal sheets each day as they are completely scraped up & hot to the touch.

When you get back to the bus you get a celebratory beer and snack while everything is reloaded.

Celebratory Beer After Volcano Boarding

The beer is rightly deserved if not for completing volcano boarding, then wearing the jumpsuit in hot weather.

The last part of the tour is a recap of the day on the big screen in Bigfoot Hostel while you sip on a mojito.

You get to see how all the pictures turned out prior to them being shared on Facebook for easy downloading.

Another takeaway souvenir besides memories is a customized tank top.

Overall, you really couldn’t ask for more for a volcano boarding tour as you get adventure, alcohol, awesome scenery, a shirt, & a better understanding of the landscape.

Recapping Volcano Boarding at Bigfoot Hostel

It was fun listening to people guess who was behind the masked boarders.

Know Before You Go

  • Meeting Location: Bigfoot Hostel @ 8:30 am
  • Price: $31 and $5 Cerro Negro entrance fee; extra $5 if you don’t want to carry your board
  • What’s Included: Transporations, Equipment, Guides, Photography, Two Drinks, & a Tank Top
  • Contact Information:

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Volcano boarding on Cerro Negro is not only a must do in Nicaragua, but in all of Central America. Bigfoot Hostel invented the sport in 2004, and has put Leon on the map for backpackers across the world! See if you can beat the 95 km/hr record measured by the speed gun.

***The Final Word – Visiting Cerro Negro is impossible without your own vehicle so let Bigfoot show you an awesome time volcano boarding.***

Did you ever imagine you would actually go sledding again in your life?

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Not recommended DIY travel; take a tour instead

* Thank you to Bigfoot Hostel for hosting us!

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that we receive a small commission if you click on a link & purchase something that we have recommended – at no extra cost to you. This helps us to keep our site running so we can continue to provide free content. Thank you for your support!

Visited in December 2016


  1. Haha that’s one thing I really regret not doing while in Nicaragua 😉

    1. I guess that is reason enough to go back then. Did you visit Somoto Canyon as well, because that is another favorite place for us in Nicaragua so far?

    2. Nope, haven’t done that either, unfortunately 🙁 I actually got pretty sick while in Granada and that cut time short for me in Nicaragua, had to pass on many stuff I had planned… But I was lucky enough to go to Ometepe and climb one of the volcanoes there as well as enjoy Granada (before I got sick haha)

    3. We’re in Granada now, it’s lovely. Which volcano did you climb in Ometepe? We’re heading there in a few days & not sure if we’ll climb one, both or neither…

    4. I think it was the Maderas one but I’m not a 100% sure… I stayed at the finca Maria on the base of the volcano and it was absolutely lovely, I loved it!! It was cheap and there was an amazing view to the other volcano (I’m talking postcard-grade pictures haha). You have to leave really early in the morning if you want to get to the top before the clouds don’t let you see anything anymore! Francisco was our guide, he lives in a house not far from the finca, just ask the people at the finca, they will be able to help you find him 🙂

    5. Sounds like our plans are made for us…weather permitting. The clouds that like to call peaks home are one of the more frustrating aspects to climbing them. We don’t do it for the workout!

  2. wow this looks so much fun – but i guess i would think that as i am australian! I think paying a local to bring the board up sounds like money well spent!

  3. It’s so fun!!! What was your speed haha I missed it! I have never tried volcano boarding before (actually never heard of it till now) BUT WOULD LOVE TO TRY !!!

    1. It’s amazing what ‘sports’ people invent in the name of fun & something new in this age of knowing about everything. We both got 38 km/hr, but I had already started hitting moguls by the time the radar gun was turned to my direction. The best of the day was in the 60’s.

  4. I’ve slid down sand dunes, but not volcanos! Have always thought this sounded like such a fun thing to do. Glad you got the opportunity to try it out!

    1. So are we! I’m guessing the sand dunes are a lot of fun too. You don’t have to worry about falling off at all since the sand is so soft. Cerro Negro is ‘fine’ volcanic rock, but still not something you want to roll down. What I liked was that it was a long & steep run on the volcano.

  5. Woow… That is quite an adventure. Loved the videos.. My only experience with sliding down the slopes has been in the Himalayas. This is something I would love to try ..

  6. Wow! This is so much fun! I never heard of volcano boarding until I read this. Say no more to snow boarding, hello to volcano boarding!

    1. You may have to stick to snow boarding though, unless you want to move to Leon, Nicaragua. There are very few volcanoes that you can board down. However, definitely give it a go when visiting Central America.

  7. This looks totally terrifying! I’m heading to Nicaragua next year. Not sure my fear of heights will let me do this but it looks like you had a hell of a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. You will love it, Claire. Plus, you can’t see the bottom from the top. 🙂 The speed really depends on how fast you want to go since your body position controls it. You only live once, and you aren’t jumping out of a plane here!

  8. OMG..this looks like a great adventure to try. And honestly, I am little terrified since I am not such an adventure person.

    1. What’s life without a little terror? The hard part is getting started, and then instinct takes over. So many people do it each day & don’t get hurt. You just have to follow their instructions on how to maintain speed and balance.

  9. So there is a volcano boarding adventure, interesting. I’ve only heard of sand dunes boarding, which I’ve never tried before because here in our country it’s a bit expensive. Anyway, it looks like volcano boarding is much more interesting, I don’t even know why. Do you only do it one time or do you guys climb up again to repeat the experience?

    1. We only did it once. It takes a lot of energy to climb up with the board. Plus, you would need another piece of metal glued to the bottom if you want any speed on the second run. You should just make your own board if you live there! Many people haven’t heard of volcano boarding since there are only a handful of volcanoes in the world that are suitable. Cerro Negro in Nicaragua just happens to be one.

  10. Wow, I can’t imagine seeing myself climbing on a loose gravel as it really challenging. I have not heard about this Volcano boarding, but this should be penned on my bucket list. Thank you for sharing your amazing experience!

    1. You are very welcome! The climb was actually okay. Cerro Negro is gravel, but the National Park has formed a nice path that is easy to walk on. We didn’t find that aspect hard at all compared to other volcanoes & mountains where it is literally 3 steps forward & 2 back.

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