Masaya Volcano Museum
The Masaya Volcano National Park is situated in the Nindiri region about five km from Masaya and is easily accessible off the main highway. It opens everyday from 9AM to 5PM and is considered a popular tourist area. The Masaya Volcano National Park contains two volcanoes. The first is called Masaya and is Nicaragua's shortest volcano, standing at 635 meters, and the other is Nindiri. When you stand in the car park you can see quite clearly the burning lava in the active crater.
Between the two volcanoes there are five craters. Fortunately only one of Nindiri's craters is still active and persistently fumes sulphur dioxide into the air to let everyone know. If you are keen to see it up close and personal you can travel in your car up to the mouth of the active crater and peer in to this spectacular natural phenomenon. While you are up there take a moment to look around you, as there are beautiful views that can be seen from up here. If you suffer from any type of lung problem take note that the fumes released by the volcano can be unhealthy. Once you have finished you can head down and explore the park by following the trails that have been set out for your convenience.
You will also find a small museum located in the vicinity of the Masaya Volcano Park that gives you the history of the volcano as well as other relevant information. The Masaya Volcano has a long history. Its biggest eruption is thought to have occured almost 6,500 years ago and this is considered to have had one of the top ten worst eruptions ever to have occurred here in the last 10,000 years.
In the days before the arrival of Columbus, the Masaya Volcano was worshiped by the local people as they viewed any activity of the volcano as signs of displeasure from their gods. They would then head up the volcano with sacrifices, which often included young maidens and small children, to try and please the gods. In the 16th century the Spaniards called the Masaya Volcano the "Mouth of Hell" and placed a wooden cross near the top of the crater to rid the volcano of the Devil and his demons who were thought to inhabit it. Since then there has been at least nineteen eruptions, with the last one taking place in 2003.