The Spanish baptized the active volcano "La Boca del Inferno" or in English "The Mouth of Hell". The legend is that in the 16th century the indigenous people put a cross at the very top over looking the crater in order to exorcise the Devil. They truly believed that the volcano was the gateway to hell and wanted to keep the evil away.
Local's will tell you that their ancestors would make human sacrifices into the volcanoes crater to keep favor with the spirit world.
They believed if they did not offer up human sacrifices that heaven and hell would punish them.
Holy Moses, talk about a real life 'Hunger Games'! No one knows exactly how they chose the individuals who were offered up as a sacrifice or when this ritual stopped; but I would be willing to put money on a real life Katniss Everdeen coming to the rescue. Maybe Masaya is where Suzanne Collins got the series idea from.
The Masaya Volcano National Park spans 54 km, includes two volcanoes and five craters. It is absolutely breathtaking. The craters are always emitting smoke and sulfuric gas, but don't worry, the last eruption was in 2013. The view can sometimes get foggy, but usually will clear up enough for your to see if you wait it out about 30 minutes.
The first time I ever visited Masaya was in 2000. I was 12. This was the very first Volcano I have ever seen in real life! I had this idea that is was going to be just like the volcano projects that you made in science class. You know, the cylinder cones ones that your parents basically made for you. Yea, thats what I thought all volcanos looked like! Hey, I was 12, let that one slide! What I soon found out is that volcanos are so incredible and complex. This thing is huge! It is crazy to wrap your mind around how hot steaming lava is waiting in the ground to erupt. The science behind a volcano is mind-blowing!
I have been back to visit Masaya every year since. Here are some of the amazing pictures & tips I have picked up throughout my journey over the years.
Opens at: 9:00AM until 4:45PM
Alternatives: They have night tours that you have to call a day ahead to set up
Location: on the highway to Masaya (Carretera Masaya), kilometer 23.
Cost: Nicaraguan - 10 Cordobas per person. Not even 50 US Cents
Everyone Else- 100 Cordobas per person. Which equals out to be abut $3.61 in US Dollars
There is a museum half way up the road. You have to stop and write your name on the visitors log. While there it is worth the walk around. There is no extra cost. It shows you all the wild life and history of Masaya. They have a lot of cool murals and art work. You can see the hard lava rocks up close and there is a great place out back with a spectacular view; perfect for having yourself a picnic. Plus, if you need a cold drink or restroom, they got you covered! No naked and afraid moments for you!
Jessica, is the brunette in the picture below! She is one of my best friends and often my adventure buddy! This is at the top of the 1st crater you come to. They have little resting spots for you to sit, eat and enjoy the view. This is one of my favorite picture I have ever taken while traveling.