Nicaragua's Natural Beauty:
Masaya Volcano National Park

check out a
close up picture I took
of the
wooden cross

Welcome to The Masaya Volcano National Park, a place with such a rich history where visitors can contemplate some of Mother Nature's most spectacular sceneries.

The Masaya Volcano
The Masaya Volcano and Lake Masaya as seen from the Masaya Malecón
Darwin Vivas
This volcano, located in the county of Nindirí, in Masaya, is perhaps the most visited volcano in the country for many reasons. Maybe because it is very close to the capital city (19 km SE of) or because it has an excellent access road, but I think the main reason is because it provides its visitors with extraordinary views of Mother Nature.

Santiago Crater
Steve Jordi

This volcanic complex consists of two volcanoes: Masaya and Nindirí, and five craters; Masaya has one of its same name and San Fernando (dormant); Nindirí has two: Nindirí, and San Pedro, and the other one, Santiago, lies between the two volcanoes. Nindirí's last eruption was back in 1670 while Masaya's was in 1772. Both Santiago and Nindirí's San Pedro crater started forming in 1850, however, only Santiago is currently active as it constantly emits sulfur dioxide gas that can be seen from many miles away.

The Masaya Volcano is the country's shortest volcano (635 m) but it did record a huge eruption about 6,500 years ago. In fact, that eruption was so catastrofic that it's one of the top 10 largest eruptions in the past 10,000 years in the region. It was a category 5 eruption out of 8: 5 is described as "paroxysmal" while 8 is "megacolossal". Another Nicaraguan volcano made that list, Cosiguina, with the same category.

This volcano, also known as "Popogatepe" ("burning mountain", in Chorotega language), drew a lot of attention back in the pre-Columbian as well as the Colonial times. When it would erupt, the local indians believed it was a sign of anger from the gods. So, in order to stop the eruption, they'd sacrifice children.

the steps leading to the wooden cross as seen from Oviedo Plaza

The Spaniards called it "Boca del infierno" (mouth of hell) and really believed it was possessed. That's why they placed a wooden cross (Cruz de Bobadilla; named after Father Bobadilla) at the summit in order to exorcise the volcano.

>>> To learn about the national park, go to Volcán Masaya National Park in my new Protected Areas Section.


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