Hiking Volcan Mombacho – Granada, Nicaragua

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When my husband and I traveled to Nicaragua, we didn’t have any hard and fast plans. We spent our first week in a rental home called Casa Del Sol overlooking Laguna Masaya, near the city of Granada. It was gorgeous, and came with a 24-hour onsite caretaker and awesome housekeeper/cook. But as beautiful as the property was, we still went out exploring every day. Our best day by far was the one we visited Reserva Natural Volcan Mombacho, which translates to the Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve.

Volcan Mombacho

Hiking Reserva Natural Volcan Mombacho is an amazing way to explore the natural wonders of Nicaragua. Image credit: Cherri Megasko

Reserva Natural Volcan Mombacho

At the time we visited the reserve, the entry fee was $28 US per vehicle, or $5 US per person. We opted to pay the extra for our vehicle, because it was not immediately evident how visitors on foot made it to the top. (I have since learned that they walked!) The drive up was an adventure in and of itself. There is no way we could have made it without a 4 x 4 vehicle, which we kept in low gear the entire distance.

Volcan Mombacho

At times, the dense forest growth reduced air flow and seemed to make the stifling humidity even worse. Image credit: Cherri Megasko

El Crater Trail on Volcan Mombacho

Once at the top we hiked the El Crater Trail – a moderate 1.7 km well-groomed trail through the forest. The first 15 minutes or so was all downhill, and I seriously began to worry about my ability to climb back up at the end. The humidity was brutal, and although the hike was short it was not a walk in the park.

Volcan Mombacho

El Crater Trail is a moderate 1.7 km well-groomed trail through the forest atop Volcan Mombacho. Image credit: Cherri Megasko

El Tigrillo Trail and El Puma Trail on Volcan Mombacho

For those who are more adventurous and in better physical shape there are two additional trails that are rated difficult. To hike the El Puma Trail you must have a guide as the descent/ascent is an incredibly steep 45 degrees for about two miles. It takes you into the dwarf forest of Volcan Mombacho and provides gorgeous views of Lake Nicaragua. There are also numerous fissures emitting steam along the way to remind you that below all this natural beauty lays an active volcano.

Volcan Mombacho

From the El Puma Trail on Volcan Mombacho you get magnificent views of the cloud forest and Lake Nicaragua. Image credit: Cherri Megasko

My husband, being the endearing renegade he is, hiked part of the El Puma Trail on his own (without a guide). I sat on a nearby bench and waited for his return. He came back about 45 minutes later smiling from ear to ear and insisting it was one of the most beautiful hikes he had ever taken. Maybe next time I’ll have the audacity to join him!

Volcan Mombacho

Although the rules were clearly communicated, my husband ignored the signage and explored the El Puma Trail on his own. Image credit: Cherri Megasko

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31 thoughts on “Hiking Volcan Mombacho – Granada, Nicaragua

  1. Greg Todd

    As the renegade mentioned in the article, I just want to say that I would have missed a lot of amazing and spectacular scenery and wildlife in my life by following every rule. This volcano and surrounding forest were fantastic! It was something you see in the movies where a lost tribe is discovered. It was a fairly moderate hiking experience with a world class jungle environment, inspiring views from the heights and very lightly visited. I will do this again on our next Nicaragua visit!!

  2. Robin Masshole mommy

    That sounds like the most amazing experience. How lucky that you want to do something like that. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

  3. Christy Maurer

    That has got to be so cool! I wouldn’t have gone on the forbidden trail either! With my luck, I would have been attacked by a giant anteater or something like that and never be found due to my lack of following the rules!

  4. Alli

    I’m a stickler for playing by the rules. My husband is not. He would have gone off on that trail by himself, too. Sometimes you have to stray off the beaten path to have a wonderful experience.

  5. rochkirstin

    How long did it probably take for people to reach the top when they walk? I guess it’s tiring but also a great experience. We will also be hiking next Saturday.

  6. Jeanine

    What an amazing experience. I would absolutely love to do something like this. Thise photos are so unbelievably gorgeous. I couldn’t imagine!

  7. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    What an amazing experience to have! That wooden bridge looks so enticing for the start of an epic adventure 🙂

  8. lisa

    This sounds like a trip I would love to make. I have never been to Nicaragua but the pictures you have here are phenomenal and hiking is right up my alley!!

  9. Liz Leiro

    What a gorgeous vacation spot! I love how lush and green the forest looks – especially since there’s such an awful drought here in LA. I would love to explore South America with my husband some day 🙂

  10. Travis

    My former pastor and high school principal did mission work in Nicaragua and said that it was a beautiful country. These pictures show that his words did not do the nation justice.

  11. CourtneyLynne

    omg Nicaragua sounds like such a great place to visit!!! I would love to visit one day. Definitely on the bucket list!

  12. Camesha

    Sounds like a once in a lifetime trip. And definitely a place to enjoy the outdoors. I’d never considered going there. Such gorgeous photos.

  13. Amby Felix

    These photos are stunning! My husband and I have decided to start traveling more internationally now that our little ones are a bit older. I’m going to keep this place in mind. I’d love to visit!

  14. Jessica @ Green Global Travel

    Wow, I would love to hike this trail– from your photos, I can tell that it’s an incredibly beautiful area! How far is it to the top? I imagine it must be quite exhausting to walk all the way up, especially in that humidity!

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Heather – That entire trip was awesome! Both Greg and I plan to go back as soon as our schedule allows.

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