Hiking the Cosiguina Volcano

If you enjoy hiking or walking and are planning a trip to Nicaragua soon, you may want to consider hiking the Cosiguina Volcano. This walk is relatively easy and will afford you with some stunning views of more than just water and trees. It is definitely worth the effort – it is one of Nicaragua’s lesser-known natural gems.


According to the history books the Cosiguina Volcano in Nicaragua was once the site of Nicaragua’s most violent volcanic eruption. On January 22, 1835, a large chunk of the crater was blown away as a result of volcanic activity. The chunks were so large that they later came to form islands in the Gulf of Fonseca! Moreover, the resulting ash stretched out a whopping 1400 kilometres – as far away as Mexico City. The ash blocked the sunlight out completely in a 150 kilometre radius, engulfing many in complete blackness and striking fear into their hearts. However, despite this radical outburst, it seemed the Consiguina Volcano didn’t have much more to offer. A few small eruptions were all that anyone saw before the volcano became dormant in 1859.

Learning about the history of the volcano helps one to understand why it is so difficult to spot; since half of the volcano was blown away it no longer resembles a typical volcanic cone. Its somewhat flattened slopes are now mostly covered with trees and other vegetation, making it quite picturesque. What’s more, this distinct change in the volcanoes topography means that it is easy to hike.

If you plan to hike the Cosiguina Volcano you will like choose to drive there. The attraction is located about 70 km north of Chinandega where you will find plenty of hotels offering you a chance to rest up before making your final arrangements for your ascent of the 859 m high volcanic slope. The official trail starts at MARENA near the bottom of the volcano and takes approximately eight hours to walk. For those who are not quite up to the challenge of a full days walk, you can drive the first half provided you do not mind getting your mode of transportation scratched. If you drive and park at the halfway mark, the walk will only take you about three hours. The walk up is beautiful in itself, but the true treasure lies at the top of the peak: a glistening 2km diameter crater lake and views of not only Nicaragua, but of El Salvador and Honduras too! The hike is relatively easy and most people can cope with it, making it the perfect way to spend an afternoon taking in the wonders that nature has to offer.