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Nicaragua: Granada, Leon, Masaya
Masaya, Nicaragua: Home to active volcanoes
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
The Masaya Volcano National Park comprises an area of 54 sq. km. and includes two volcanoes and five craters. The volcanoes have erupted several times in history, and were feared by both the indigenous people and the Spanish conquerors. The Spanish baptized the active volcano "La Boca del Infierno" or "The Mouth of Hell". They planted a cross, "La Cruz de Bobadilla" (named after Father Francisco Bobadilla), on the crater lip in the 16th century in order to exorcise the Devil.
A 90-minute drive from Leon brought us to the Masaya National park. From thereon it was a 5 km. drive from the gates of the National Park to the crater's edge. Depending upon the traffic and number of tourists, visitors are allowed about 15 minutes to stay and observe the crater. Guards whistle to signal your way down.
The eruptions have had a dramatic impact on the surroundings. Rocks and volcanic ashes still cover the area surrounding the volcanoes. The nature is rough yet peaceful. Different types of vegetation appeared after the eruptions. The park is also inhabited by many different kinds of animals. The park's wildlife includes coyotes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, deer, iguanas and monkeys.
There are several trails that lead to the other craters and the Tzinaconostoc Cave in which hundreds of bats house. Those trails distance vary between 1.4 and 5.9 kilometers, but are closed to the public for now.
At the time of our visit, the wind was strong, thus the smoke out of the crater was spreading all over. Unfortunately, we did not get the view of the glowing lava, just got the feel though. Visitors who have the time can also visit in late evenings where the night views of the glowing lava is awesome. We missed that opportunity.
From the volcano we made a brief halt in the Masaya Mercado - an artisans' collective. From here the visitors get access to local handicrafts and things of sorts.
Before arriving in Granada another brief stop with a little detour got us to an artisans’ village Mirador De Catarina. The lookout point offered spectacular views of Lake Apayo and the town of Granada beyond.
Early evening we were welcomed at our hotel - La Gran Francia; our home for the night.
Masaya Image Gallery Photo viewer
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