About a month ago we heard that the Masaya Volcano was not only active as we had seen before, but now bubbling lava. We visit Masaya Volcano regularly when friends come into town because unlike anything in the States, you can actually drive up to the lip of this active volcano. It is part of our “Volcano Day” when we take our guests to see an active and the imploded volcano of Laguana de Apoyo. When we heard that it was now flowing lava we knew it was a bucket list moment we could not miss.
We were told to get there at 5pm because 300 people were showing up each night, but time only allowed for about 100 to view. We made the turn off the main road at 5:02pm and there were parked cars already filling the front area before the gate. A lot of people were out of their cars and waiting at the gate, so I got out of the car to investigate.
Turns out it was mostly Nicaraguans who were mad that the park had temporarily closed the gate until 5:30pm at which time they would begin charging the Night Tour fee of $10 per person (fee for kids 4 and under). This may not sound like a lot to you, but the average daily income in Nicaragua is about $6, so this was a lot of money. It was also significantly more than the C$30 (about $1) that Nicaraguans usually pay before 5:30pm.
It appeared that the angry mob had convinced the park attendants that they should be allowed to go up for the lesser price because suddenly there was a stampede of people rushing for their cars & motorcycles. I had to pick up Azalea to make sure she didn’t get trampled over. Once our car finally made its way to the gate we told the attendant that we wanted to do the Night Tour and would wait until 5:30pm to pay our $10 each. The attendant had been shouting something about being allowed 5 minutes at the top and after our 2 hour drive, I wanted to spend more time than that. I also assumed by the word “tour” it meant that we would get a bit more hand holding once at the top.
It wasn’t until 6:30pm that we were able to pay and proceed up the mountain. We think the staff needed the people who paid the lesser fee to leave before we could be allowed to enter, but we are not really sure why the long wait. Finally at the top, we were met with an immense red glow coming out of the cavern like a large witches brew. Instantly, it was worth the wait. The parking attendant had us park backwards in case there was an eruption and we needed to escape quickly.
It was pretty amazing to see the lava bubbling far below. It turned black at the top and then back to fire orange with each bubble. Azalea zoomed around in the dark too close the edge of the crater and so I held tight to her shirt so she couldn’t accidentally hurl herself over the edge. The park only lets a set number of cars up at a time, but it was still pretty busy with everyone trying to capture a photo that did the scene justice.
It is very hard to get a good picture or video of the lava. Not only is at night, so everything around it is dark, but the movement of the lava called for a steady hand and a fast shutter speed. I forgot to take my good camera, so we had to make do with my phone camera. I have included in this post some pictures and video off the internet so you can better see what we were looking at.
We left Titus with Juanita for the night because we knew he would be unimpressed with the lava we would be getting home late. It was a great little night excursion for us. We left the volcano at around 7:20pm and had a nice dinner before driving home.