Road Dispatches: Activities around Léon

Two words: Volcano Boarding. Wait, no… three words: Go Volcano Boarding.

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I’ll try to keep this dispatch brief, as J and I are about to hop a shuttle to Granada. I haven’t posted since Saturday, as our last two days were pretty dang busy.

Sunday, we snagged a great, traditional Nica breakfast at El Desayunazo, right around the corner from our hostel. Our appetites sated, we caught a shuttle (really, just a hired car and driver) from the nearby Surfing Turtle Hostel to the beautiful sandy beaches of Las Peñitas.

We caught a boat out to the renowned Surfing Turtle lodge, and swam in the wild Pacific surf, then lounged on the beach for a while before grabbing a late lunch at the lodge.

One long, slow chicken bus later, we were back in Léon, in time to grab a little dinner, before hitting the hay; Monday would be an early morning.

We woke before 7 the next day, up with the rooster crying near our hostel. Monday was the day of our big hike: guided by the local Quetzaltrekkers tour operator, we joined a big group of fellow travelers in hiking up and sledding down Cerro Negro.

The hike was wild. It wouldn’t have been particularly taxing, except that each of us had a sled strapped to our backs like wings, and we were being buffeted by gale force winds. The views from the top of the active volcano alone made the hike worth it; blasting down the mountain side of a sled made of plywood and PVC was icing on the cake. I even climbed back up to go a second time (stay tuned for some video of sled rides down… I’ll be posting it when we get home).

I can’t give the Quetzaltrekkers team enough credit. Our guides, Alice and Leo, were super friendly and helpful, and made damn sure we made it up and back down the mountain in one piece. I highly recommend hiking with Quetzaltrekkers.

Our excursion ended with a long, bumpy ride back to Léon in the covered back of our tour truck, all of us caked in volcanic sand and grinning in spite of the wind blasting us. We had a great, late dinner at CocinArte — a restaurant that caters to everyone, but really specializes in vegetarian dishes — and crashed early.

Today, we’re hitting the road to Granada. Stay tuned!

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