After passing the entrance and paying the entrance fee (C75 for foreigners) the road guides you right to the rim of the crater, there is a big parking lot just in the edge of the crater. The views of the caldera are really ipressive. The volcano has erupted several times, being the last one in 2006.
I was almost alone when i arrived to the crater; was great enjoying such peace and beautiful views and having the place for myself, suddenly several busses came, and hords of tourists took place of the crater. This picture is before the invasion.
The road from the entrance to the crater is a uphill 5 kms drive, but i saw some people walking the road ( if i´d had the time i personally would walked) the views are great and is not so hilly. A visitors center with toilets, information and a cafeteria is located halfway up to the volcano. So if you are in good shape and have enough time is a great experience.
There are several trails through the park that lead to other viewpoints. It´s a nice walk and the best of all is that most of the tourists only visited the Cross, so sometimes you are alone enjoying the views. Another view from the second viewpoint.
The visit of this park was one of the highlights of my trip to Nicaragua. The road that leads to the crater, has beautiful views of the Managua valley. Is also very interesting because the flora grown over the lava rocks is completely different of what i saw in the rest of the country.
During the pre-Columbian age, Masaya Volcano was on object of veneration by the indigenous people. They believed the eruptions were signs of anger from the Gods and to appease them they offered sacrifices, which often included small children and maidens. We did warn the girls that they be on their best behaviour! They then planted a cross, "La Cruz de Bobadilla (named after Father Francisco Bobadilla). It was placed on the crater lip in the 16th century in order to exorcise the Devil. The cross is still there but you can’t climb up to it because of landslides.
As it began to clear you could see the edge of the crater below and all the striations in the rock. The gases are not too smelly but they do catch in you throat of you get close. It is so stunning especially since volcanoes are always such mysterious and strange landscapes.
When we first got there you could not see anything it was just a huge cloud of steam, the vapours can also catch in your throat dso be careful is you breath in too deeply. It is not recommended for people wit asthma to go to o close to the crater.
We went straight to the Volcan Masaya National park first. You can drive all the way up to the crater where there is a large parking area. It is worth visiting the museum at the entrance to the national park.
Masaya market was a lot more modern that I had expected. You can buy all sorts of handicrafts and it is worth a look. The stalls are all neat and well laid out with tiled floors and it is covered. A little too touristy for me though.
This beautiful church was built in 1833, and is named for the patron saint of Masaya, San Jerónimo. I specially liked the bell tower and the pleasant park near the church.
I saw this house in Masaya and loved the architecture, then when travelling through the country i saw more houses with this style, i supposed is a local way of construction.
One of the best things to do is to walk the trails through the out of this world landscape of the park, and enjoy the special mixture of vegetation and lava rocks.
Near the crater there´s a small mountain with a viewpoint, i climbed the stairs to the cross, but finally the view was not so good because the smoke was too dense.
One of the most amazing things about the volcano is that the crater is continiously emiting smoke and sulfur gases.