“When we get to Leon we should go volcano boarding in Cerro Negro!” Ash said to me.
As usual, I was only half-listening, but responded with the standard, “Sounds good…”, not really understanding what I was agreeing to.
Our stop in Leon was Bigfoot Hostel. They’ve got parking out front with a 24hr security guard to make sure nobody was going to jack with our truck. They’re also one of the few companies that offer volcano boarding on Cerro Negro. Perfect… wait, what?
Volcano boarding is where you haul a 4ft long piece of ½” plywood up to the top of a volcano (yes, those things with lava on the inside), sit down on the board, hold tight, and try not to touch the brakes. That’s actually easy to do since there are no brakes.
Our guides from Bigfoot picked us up from the hostel in a giant Unimog with bench seating in the back, hauled us about 45mins on a dirt road towards the volcano, and gave us a sweet outfit (orange coveralls and goggles) and a plywood board. What more could you ask for? The beer and mojitos come after the ride 😉
It’s a short 40min trek up the hill where you learn stuff about the volcano’s last eruption and other science. Once you make it to the top you don your ‘safety’ gear, wait your turn, and go for a ride. Ash and I rode doubles so we could die together (it’s kinda like Romeo and Juliet). We heard that the double boards were fastest so we knew that we had to do our best not to be the slowest down the mountain…. err volcano. These guys have a radar gun at the bottom so everybody knows how fast you were going. We hit 57km/h although it felt significantly faster than that…. Not bad considering we’re on a plywood death trap. Our newfound friend Ian broke the all-time record and hit 95km/h before coming to a halt, being crowned champion, and picking up all the chicks.
In summary, if you’re in Leon make sure to go volcano boarding (but do it at your own risk, and don’t mention our names). We hear it’s on CNNs Top 50 Things to do Before You Die list.