VOLCÁN MASAYA AT NIGHT!
Volcán Masaya is one of Nicaragua’s most active volcanoes, with an elevation of 2,083 ft. and steep interior walls of 984 ft. This volcanic complex contains several summit craters, including Santiago crater, which has recently experienced a surge of activity, causing its enormous lava lake to rise significantly. The churning molten lava is now visible (and audible) for visitors to experience first hand! It has been 25 years since Volcán Masaya’s lava lake has been visible from the summit.
About 6,500 years ago, one of our planet’s most violent and destructive eruptions occurred at this site, releasing enormous amounts of energy and spewing columns of gas and ash up to 35 miles. This cataclysmic eruption created the 33.5 mile-wide ancient caldera which now encompasses the Volcán Masaya National Park. Hacienda Puerta del Cielo Eco-lodge is perched on the rim of this ancient caldera—which is the reason for our spectacular vistas!
Soon after the Spanish arrived in Nicaragua, Volcán Masaya’s activity was first documented (c.1525). Although the lava lake has been visible from the edge of the crater’s rim many times over the last 500 years, the lava lake has over-topped Masaya’s craters only twice since that time. Both of these lava flows occurred on the northern side of the complex, once in 1620 and again 1772. (To assuage any fears you might have, Hacienda Puerta del Cielo Eco lodge is located on the southern ridge of the National Park, immediately above the Masaya Lagoon, at a 3 mile distance from the active Santiago Crater.)
Due to the volcano’s recent activity and increased public interest, the National Park Service now strictly limits night-time access to the Masaya Volcano, issuing only 100 entry permits per night.
Our Volcán Masaya at Night Tour departs from the Hacienda at 4:30 PM on Thursday nights (only) and at 3:00 PM every other night.
Visit the rim of the active Volcán Masaya! After a 30-minute drive to the park entrance, we will wait in our vehicle (approx. 30 min.) for our turn to ascend. After a 15 minute ascent by vehicle, we will disembark at the rim. Once at the summit, Park Rangers will allow us to peer into the “mouth of hell” for about 20 minutes from a designated viewing area. Hiking or exploring is no longer allowed. For the last decade, Santiago crater has been constantly emitting plumes of sulfur dioxide, (which can be seen from space). Since that time, prolonged exposure to these gasses at the summit has not been recommended.
THURSDAY NIGHT ONLY: After departing the National Park, we will drive you through the bustling city of Masaya, to enjoy a lively and colorful Nicaraguan Folk Music and Dance Festival called La Verbena. Preferred seating will be reserved for you, from which you can comfortably enjoy the traditional performances. Dinner, snacks, refreshments and cocktails can be purchased at your table during performances, (not included in the tour price). Please note: outside food/drinks are not permitted and a one-drink minimum (soda, beer or cocktail) is required per person, to sit at the reserved tables.
As the festival is only available on Thursday nights, an alternate itinerary would be available for this tour during the rest of the week:
Friday through Wednesday, the visit to the rim of Volcán Masaya at Night would be the same as explained above, except on Friday through Wednesday we tour Masaya’s Artisans’ Market before visiting the volcano and the Verbena Folk Festival is not available. After visiting the volcano, we would escort you to a reputable restaurant where you could purchase dinner and cocktails, (not included in the tour price). Every day but Thursday the Volcan Masaya Night Tour would depart the Hacienda by 3:00 PM.
Duration: 6 hours
Market/Volcano Tour Departs by 3:00 PM (Fri thru Wed). Volcano/Verbena Tour Departs at 4:30 PM (only on Thursdays).
Tour includes: Transportation from Hacienda Puerta del Cielo to Volcán Masaya National Park, night-time entry fee to volcano, transportation to La Verbena Festival or to Masaya’s Artisans’ Market.
Departure: Night Tour with Festival departs at 4:30 PM (return approx 10:30 PM) -OR- Night Tour with Artisans’ Market departs by 3:00 PM (return approx 9 PM)
Cost: US$149.00/one person touring alone; US$99.00/per person (in a tour group of 2); US$89.00/per person (in a tour group of 3 or more)