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Article written by: Jayson Kowinsky - Fossilguy.com/travel

A View of the Masaya Lava Pool

Video: The Masaya Volcano Lava Pool in the day and night! Watch the bubbling lava!

Panoramic view of the Masaya Volcano caldera.

The Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua - See the bubbling Lava Pool!

Sulphur from the Masaya volcano can be seen from Grenada. This is from Lake Nicaragua at Grenada.

Please note, I visited Nicaragua a few months before the civil unrest. Although the civil unrest has nearly ended, if you go, many of the restaurants and hotels are now closed due to the near stop in tourism during these troubled times. The Masaya Volcano is still open to visitors.

Nicaragua is a fascinating and beautiful country. It's also still slightly off the beaten path, as you won't find the hordes of tour busses like neighboring Costa Rica. Nicaragua is full of rain forests and active volcanoes. It boasts the largest lake in Central America, Lake Nicaragua. It's a beautiful place to visit. One can kayak on Lake Nicaragua, while taking in the views of the Mombacho Stratovolcano and watching spider and howler monkeys in the trees.

One special location is the Masaya Volcano. It boasts one of the few lava pools that you can actually go to the summit and see. It's an otherworldly experience to see, smell, hear, and even feel the rumbling of the giant bubbling lava pool!

Masaya Volcano National Park
Masaya Volcano National Park, is next to the town of Masaya, on the main road (Route 4) between the Airport at Managua and the city of Grenada. It's only a 25 minute drive from Managua. There is a visitor center, hiking paths that follow lava fields, lava tubes, and a road that goes to the top of the volcano.

During the day, the lava pool is not visible, as the large clouds of Sulphur cover it. It's still worthwhile to go to during the day, so one can stand on the caldera and see the enormity of the volcano. You can also book a tour at the visitor center to hike into the lava tubes and see a bat colony. To drive to the caldera in the day, you must register in the visitor center and pay a small fee. At the caldera, you have to back into the parking spot, that way if the volcano erupts, this allows you to pull out faster. No reservations are necessary.

Night is where the action is, as the lava pool becomes visible. The park opens for a few hours during the evening. Depending on the height of the lava pool, which varies, one can watch splashing and bubbling lava. The low base of the churning lava can even be felt!

How to go to the lava pool at night
Around sunset every day until around 8 or 9 pm, the park opens to allow visitors a brief look at the lava pool in the main crater, Santiago Crater. Due to safety reasons and crowd control, they only allow a small amount of vehicles to the caldera for periods of between 10 and 15 minutes. Once the cars come back down, they send up the next batch. As a result a line of vehicles quickly build along the main road (route 4). If it's peak tourist season, or if the lava pool is extra high, you may have to wait in the que for over an hour. Don't get there too late, or the park may close before it's your turn to see the lava lake. While waiting in line on cars on route 4, locals will often sell food and beer. The cost to get into the park after sunset is approximately $10 USD per person. It is well worth the price and wait to see a bubbling pool of lava!

Google Map of the Masaya Volcano National Park

Additional pictures of the Masaya Volcano park and the lava pool

View of the caldera at the Masaya Volcano. At night, one can see the lava in the Santiago Crater.

View at the top of the Volcano. There is a parking lot and a couple observation decks.

The Masaya Volcano Caldera at night. The volcano is well worth returning to at night.

Posing in front of the bubbling lava pool in Santiago Crater.

Sitting on top of the Volcano, taking it all in.

Sitting on top of the Volcano.

This is the most recent lava flow from the 2008 eruption.

This is the line of cars waiting on Route 4 to get to the Caldera at night. As you can see, the backup was 6 km long, and took about 1.5 hrs. It was well worth it!

Rocommended Books and Items for Nicaragua

Lonely Planet Nicaragua (Travel Guide)
Lonely planet is my favorite travel guide. I always load the country onto my Kindle before going!

Nicaragua Volcano Surfing T-Shirt.
This is a fun shirt! Just make sure you've actually Volcano surfed down the Cerro Negro Volcano in Nicaragua!

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