Only 23 kilometers from the capital, the Masaya Volcano National Park is the first, and largest national park in the country, consisting of a volcanic caldera with two volcanoes and five craters. Its crater “Santiago” has an altitude of 635 meters above sea level, and continuously emits large amounts of sulfur dioxide. The crater also maintains an incandescence inside due to a persistent lava lake, reason why it was object of veneration by the inhabitants of the area before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, who baptized the active volcano with the name of “The Mouth of Hell”.
The volcano is located at the center of the National Park, and at its feet is the volcanic lagoon bearing the same name. It is one of the seven active volcanoes in the country which crater rim is reachable by vehicle. The park hosts an interesting system of lava tubes where thousands of bats and insects live in harmony with the surrounding nature. Pre-Hispanic artifacts were also found in the caves where presumably Nicaraguan natives carried out important rituals.
The Masaya Volcano National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Pacific, thanks to the fact that it offers the opportunity of direct contact with the area of its crater, as well as with the flora and fauna of the site. The park also offers a Visitor Center with information panels on the country’s geology and different ecosystems. Every night the park offers a spectacle that astonishes its nocturnal visitors: the appreciation of the so-called “lava lake” that can be observed from the very shore of the crater. A cross stands at the top of the hill, next to the crater of the volcano, in the same place where another similar cross was planted in 1528 by the jealous Mercedarian friar Francisco de Bobadilla, in order to exorcise the devil.
Every day the park opens its doors for the daytime visit from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. It is also possible to take a short night tour, available every day, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, depending on the arrival of visitors to the park.
Entrance Fee: Residents: C$30 / Foreigners: US$10
Evening Tour (5:00-7:00 PM): US$10.00
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