NICARAGUA: VULCAN MASAYA
The Masaya Volcano National Park comprises an area of 54 km² 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. 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. The park lies less than half an hour away from Managua, and ten minutes from Masaya. From the entrance of the park it is five kilometers uphill to the Masaya Volcano, located at the center of the park. Visitors can drive uphill themselves or ask a taxi driver to drive to the crater. Hiking uphill is another option, but it takes a while and the road is steep, so a good condition is necessary.