Absolutely incredible! Although, I didn't get to see any lava (which was probably a good sign) there was plenty of heat, smoke, volcanic ash, and other things volcano-ish. We were also lucky to have had this trip on a windy day. The wind helped to push away the plumes of smoke billowing out of the crater. Because of this, we were able to see the bottom. Not that it was anything extra special. Just scary, painfully sharp- looking rocks. Even still, I was very happy..even after inhaling a heavy helping of sulfur. I felt it in my throat. ecck! Wonder what sulfur smells like? Think 10,000 rotten eggs. Mmm Delicious, right?
This volcano has an interesting history. In its early history, indigenous groups believed that the volcano would erupt because the Gods were angry. Therefore, they used children and maidens as sacrifices to appease the Gods and prevent further eruptions. During colonial times, a cross was erected at the top by the Spanish baptizing the active volcano, which they nicknamed "La Boca del Infierno" or "The Mouth of Hell". And more recently, my host sister told me, a man fell into the volcanic crater and has yet to be discovered. Unfortunately, he probably wasn't the last person to call the crater their final resting place.
We spent about an hour looking at this giant inferno from a few different vistas. This was 3 times the recommended visit time of 15-20 mins. In addition to visit times, the park rangers also encouraged cars to park facing the exit and to watch for shooting rocks…..just in case. It was humbling to be surrounded by something so tremendously powerful and unpredictable. I know that Nicaragua is full of natural wonders- mountains, lakes, rivers, volcanoes, etc- and I have the feeling this wont be the last time I am stunned by the expansiveness or capriciousness of mother nature.