Cassie and I have had the opportunity to enjoy many outdoor activities during our time in Central America. We have hiked along the great canal in Panama, wandered through the rain forests of Costa Rica, cliff dived into the beautiful lake of Atitlan in Guatemala, and have now completed one of the most challenging hikes in Nicaragua, Volcan Concepción.
Volcan Concepción is the second tallest volcano in Nicaragua at 1,610 meters. It has erupted 25 times with the most recent eruption occurring in 2010. Even though it has erupted so many times, it is unique in the fact that its cone is almost still intact. This means that for the last two hours of the grueling hike, we were on our hands and knees attempting to scale the uppermost part of the cone. The last hours of the hike also included circling ravens and other scavenger birds, emissions of sulfur and steam from the volcano and its vents and continuous stories from our guide about who had lost their lives in the very spot where we were walking. Lets just say we were very careful during the last part of the hike.
The views were spectacular as you can see, and we were blessed by the fact that the clouds gave way just after we started our descent - a rare event on Concepción.
The round trip took us almost 10 hours and it took us about 3 days before basic daily tasks like walking up steps or getting out of a chair did not hurt anymore. The hike was fun and we were glad that our friends Andrew and Morgan were able to join us. I am not sure that we will ever do it again, you will have to visit and talk us into it, but it will be an experience that will be with us forever.
Here are a few more photos to enjoy:
To arrive at La Isla de Ometepe, one needs to take a one hour ferry ride across Lake Nicaragua. We began our hike the following day, early in the morning to get a head start before the sun came out. As you can see, we are at the start of our hike, smiling and enjoying each step.
The plant life and vegetation was beautiful. We passed through many different layers of ecology – including plantain trees, coffee plants, desert vegetation and finally the desolation of the cone from years of eruptions and constant emissions of sulfur.
We made it to the top! Here we are standing amidst the clouds and sulfur.
Chacos are the secret to our success. The hike down was more challenging than the hike up, due to the steepness and slippery volcanic terrain.
This picture gives you a good idea of the steepness.
We were exhausted after the hike and it took a few days for our bodies to recover. But we are glad that we did it!