Volcan Masaya lies a few miles north of Granada and can easily be seen from the road leading up to La Mariposa. The early Spanish priests were convinced it was the Gates of Hell and who are we to argue that point? Last eruption was in 2008 but locals told us that boulders and other debris were thrown all over the place in 2012.
We wanted to go in the evening and so we booked a night tour only to be told during the day that the volcano was on fire and no access was possible. Erm…. what does that mean? …no one seemed to know. The volcano is one of the most active in Nicaragua and steam and smoke are continually pouring from one of its five craters. It was closed again the next day and as we were off to Leon and then Esteli the trip was postponed in the hope that Lucifer was satisfied by offerings and we could make our trip on our way back to the area the following week.
We were lucky – the fire was out. On our way from Esteli to Isla de Ometepe we stopped for a night in Granada. About 8 of us were first driven up through lava fields to the lip of the crater and sure enough smoke, steam and sulphur poured forth, fortunately blowing away from us. Then a walk up a small adjoining hill for views over Managua and the plains stretching far to the East. A short drive and then as the sun set a steep walk up loose gravel/lava (Tricia was convinced it was vertical) to a ridge to peer into another crater. This crater appeared very innocent but this is the one that will blow it’s top next!
The sunset views of the the steam and smoke in the opposite direction were stunning.
Next was a lava cave and bats. There are a number of these caves and ours stretched some 160 metres. A bit eerie and it did get warmer as we descended. Not many bats about…must have flown.
It was then back in the dark to the original crater in the hope of seeing magma..red hot lava. Erm again. The steam and smoke were so dense, we couldn’t see anything initially. After a while some of us convinced ourselves there was a pink glow, or was it a clever setting on the camera?
We never did find out for certain what had been on fire. However assuming, and as the obvious is usually the correct….