It’s hard to pick just one thing to do while in Masaya, Nicaragua — but this nighttime lava tour might be one of the coolest things to do during your semester volunteering abroad.
If you don’t know much about Nicaragua, you are in for an absolute treat. This country is bursting full of adventures, gorgeous beaches, volcanoes to kayak around, hike and explore … one of which is nestled in the colorfully vibrant city of Masaya (it’s a place you cannot miss). Good thing that city is just a day trip away if you’ll be volunteering in Central America with ILP!
Wondering how to make your dream of volunteering in Nicaragua actually happen? Overcome those obstacles and make it a reality!
While you’re teaching English in Nicaragua, you’ll be living in the rad city of Granada (which we also love), which means you’re close enough to head to nearby Masaya for a day trip or short weekend getaway. Pretty prefect, right? Here are the details you need for the ideal trip:
Tips For Travelers In Masaya
- Masaya Volcano Tours
- Visiting The Markets
- Getting to Masaya
Masaya Volcano Tours
Picture yourself peering over the rim of a bubbling lake of lava, with the red embers glowing eerily in the dark … be sure to take a listen too; the lava pops and crackles like a massive bowl of Rice Krispie treats. You might also spot bats if you’re up there at night.
Your tour will also probably include the chance to walk through the thick lava tubes created by volcanoes hundreds of years ago. Keep an eye out for bats and glowing magma at the center.
This impressive (and very active) volcano is in the Masaya National Park … you’ll be able to find a driver to take you up once you get to Masaya. There are tours that go in the daytime and at night (anytime from 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM) and it’s good to know that this once-in-a-life-time experience will only cost you around $10. Unreal.
Visiting The Markets
When it Masaya, the volcano might be the most impressive thing to see, but these markets absolutely can’t be missed. Sprawling stands are piled high with local produce, like bunches of red and orange peppers and fresh passion fruit and pineapple. If you’re looking to do a little souvenir shopping, you’ll be in heaven.
Grab your ILP group and explore the huge market that is overflowing to artisan products — we’re talking jewelry, paintings, colorful woven bags and purses, and the classic Masayan hammock; don’t be afraid to barter and snag a great price! Oh and please order up lunch while you’re shopping. This part of the country is known for a local dish called “vigoron”; soft boiled yucca (sorta like a potato) and tangy cabbage, topped with crispy and salty pork. Yummmm.
Getting to Masaya
It’s easy to snag a bus from Granada (where ILP volunteers live) to Masaya and will cost less than a dollar (don’t you love the prices in Nicaragua?) Or you can take a shuttle or taxi from Granada, which will cost around $10 which isn’t bad if you split it with your group.
Since the volcano tours run pretty much all day (5:00 AM to 8:00 PM) you can plan on getting to Masaya whenever you’d like … just make sure you leave time to wander the markets in Masaya sometime during your semester abroad! It's a perfect Saturday activity while you volunteer in Nicaragua.
After all that, aren’t you dying to be volunteering in Central America? Luckily for you, that’s easy to make it happen! Come volunteer to be a part of one of ILP’s humanitarian programs in Nicaragua. You’ll stay busy teaching English during the day and exploring Granada, then can head out to Masaya on the weekends, and over to places like Costa Rica on your ILP vacations.
Have a couple of questions? Not a problem! Come talk to an ILP representative about that and learn more about Nicaragua, right here: