Volcano Surfing, Anyone?

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
April 18 2014 10:04 AM

Cerro Negro: Surf Down a Volcano

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

Today's installment of our exciting new series, I Didn't Know You Could Surf That, features a Nicaraguan volcano.

Cerro Negro is Central America's youngest volcano, having popped up in 1850.* It is also the first volcano to offer ash boarding.


Ash boarding, also known as volcano surfing or volcano boarding, involves strapping a wooden plank to your feet and coasting down the 1,600-foot ash-and-pebble slope of Cerro Negro. Boarders, wearing gloves, goggles, and jumpsuits, reach speeds of up to 50 miles an hour, kicking up clouds of dust on the way down. Those of a more timid disposition can opt to sit on the board or simply run down the steep slope.

The ascent is less thrilling—it's an hourlong hike—but the summit brings its own rewards. A stunning 360 degree panoramic view reveals the chain of active and dormant volcanoes, lined up one after the other, surrounded by blue skies and lush green foliage. Cerro Negro itself is an active volcano whose crater often emits smoke. It has erupted 23 times, most recently in 1999.

Other volcanic vacation spots:

View Cerro Negro in a larger map

Correction, April 18, 2014: This post originally misidentified the location of the volcano Cerro Negro. It is in Central America, not South America.

Ella Morton is a writer working on The Atlas Obscura, a book about global wonders, curiosities, and esoterica adapted from Atlas Obscura. Follow her on Twitter.


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