@TheNest: Holy @*$! Just surfed down a live volcano! BFN!
Volcano Surfing in Nicaragua
If the buzzing sound of a canopy zipline feels about as exciting as the hum of vacuum cleaner, head to Nicaragua to coast down a 1,300-foot-tall, still-active (it last erupted in 1999) volcano known as Cerro Negro or the so-called, “ring of fire.” Summit the volcano’s steep face and then shred toasty black ashes on a surfboard for 10 of the most exhilarating minutes of your life. Stay in the colonial city of Leon about an hour from Cerro Negro, where local volcano “sherpas” (+505-2311-6695;Quetzaltrekkers.com), from $30 (includes transportation, guide, all equipment, lunch and a T-shirt) provide transportation to the volcano, as well as boards and orange jumpsuits (to protect your skin).
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Hiking boots (it will take about an hour to climb the slope’s roughish terrain to the top)
WHERE TO STAY
STEAL: The cozy, six-room Posada Dona Blanca B&B (+505-2311-2521; PosadaDonaBlanca.com) looks like a local residence with its Spanish colonial architecture, from $49 for an air-conditioned room and breakfast.
SPLURGE (well, by Leon standards at least): Head to the nicest lodging option in town -- El Convento (+505-2311-7053; ElConventoNicaragua.com), a 17th-century convent-turned-hotel and historic landmark that includes an upscale restaurant, from $114.
WHAT ELSE TO DO
•Relax after your adventure with the Nicaraguan national drink -- El Macuá -- a summery elixir of white rum, guava juice, lemon juice, sugar and ice.
•Visit Leon’s ornate Basilica Catedral de la Asuncion and the 16th-century Spanish colonial settlement of León Viejo, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
• Sample international cuisine spiked with Nicaraguan flavor at Restaurante El Victoriano. Be sure to try the coconut squid served with mashed quequisque (a local vegetable similar to yucca).