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Momotombo Volcano

Department: León

Municipality: La Paz Centro (view on map)

Type: Volcanoes

Height
1,258 meter
Volcano Type
Stratovolcano
Latest Eruption
1905

Comments:
2 comments

Comments

  • :P wrote on Jan 21, 2014:

    :P

  • Jesus wrote on Jun 27, 2006:

    Effectively if you want to climb by yourself the Momotombo volcano from de geothermal plant lying at the volcano’s foot, the easier way, you will need a special permit from Ormat, the enterprise having the right to convert deep water heated by the volcano into electricity. Here you have the address and phone contact of Ormat in Managua for getting your clearance:

    Ormat Momotombo Power Company, tlf. 2705622, Centro Finarca Bancentro, Carretera de Masaya, 1cuadra al Oeste Modulo No 10. www.ormat.com

    Getting the plant by car is easy from Managua. First you take the good road to La Paz and before arriving there you turn right following Leon el Viejo by a paved road. Then you must follow the signals indicating the geothermal plant where you will finally arrive driving on an unpaved road in good condition. If you haven’t a car, you could maybe get the workers’ plant’s bus from La Paz or Leon (ask Ormat about this possibility) or get the public transport to Leon el Viejo and get out at the crossroad to the energy plant; at this point you must walk for about 5 km or try to get a lift.

    Once at the plant, if you have a 4wd car you can drive for 20 minutes or so in a small track through the forest winning time and force in your way up. So, at the guardian’s control, you take left and you follow the principal path going up till find a dirty track on the right marked with a white arrow in a tree. You could drive in this narrow track until it could be possible. Then, you park your car and you get on your backpack, trekking start. At this point you need to follow only the existent trail ahead to the volcano. Once you pass the forest limit in this way you have 2 possibility to get the top: going straight to the summit (steep and difficult way because you slip all the time and the ground move down under your foot) or going to the right looking for a kind of buttress covered by vegetation in which border you can move up easier. If you choose the second option, from the top of the vegetation is still a 30 unpleasant minutes across a sandy volcanic steep slipping and winning meters with both hands and foot. If you aren’t alone be careful with stones falling down.

    In a good condition you should reach the top on 3 hours and a half from the car and about 5 hours from the plant’s entrance. If it is sunny you could enjoy a spectacular view but be careful where you put your feet, specially close to the steam’s exits, ground under your weight could collapse and you could be burnt by the steam or the very hot mud.

    The way down is very fast and funny if you manage the descends on steep and sandy surfaces otherwise it will be a little bit unpleasant for your knees and bottom and hands as well.

    Tips: start as early as possible to avoid the warmest hours in the way up. If you move in public transport think you will probably need to spend a night on.

    Jesus Gavilan

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Description

As you head towards León from Managua it is impossible to miss the perfectly shaped cone of the Momotombo Volcano as it towers 1,258 meters above sea level on the northern side of Lake Managua.

The Momotombo Volcano took a permanent place in Nicaraguan history in 1609 when a violent eruption made the inhabitants of the old colonial city of León (León Viejo) decide to move their city away from the foot of the volcano. The city of León has been rebuilt some 30 kilometers westward, but Momotombo still continues to threaten smaller settlements located around its immediate perimeter.

Although its most recent eruption was in 1905, volcanic activity at Momotombo has been measured as recently as April 2000. As the temperatures of certain parts of the volcano continually exceed 500°C a geothermal plant has been created at the base of the volcano, producing energy from the volcano's heat.

Climbing the Momotombo is a challenging task. The first step is obtaining a permit from the company that runs the geothermal plant as the plant also serves as the staging area for the beginning of the hike. Due to the fact that this it is a classic cone-shaped volcano, the trails and paths that lead up to the summit are oftentimes very steep. Volcanic sand and rocks coat most of the upper portion of the volcano so good physical shape is necessary to navigate these difficult surfaces.

It is difficult to ascend and descend within one day as the round trip can be from 8 to 10 hours so climbers are advised to either spend the night on the volcano or leave really early in the morning. Campers need to bring their own tent, and are recommended to sleep near the end of the tree line However, be warned: it is often very windy at the campsite and it can be very cold so come prepared with a sweater and a sleeping bag.

This all being said, all these hardships that may be faced climbing Momotombo yield some very substantial rewards. Views are magnificent from the volcano, as you have a great view of the crater itself, the neighboring volcanoes, the Pacific Ocean, the city of León, and on a clear day you can even see as far as the Masaya Volcano and Ometepe Island. The Momotombo is not a volcano suitable for everybody, but if you are up to it, the Momotombo offers a great challenge and an unparalleled climb that is definitely worth the effort.

Getting There

The most accessible route to get here is by the Geothermic Plant, which can be reached from La Paz Centro. Near this city, in the Leon-Managua highway, you will find a sign pointing to León Viejo. You must take this road and after a while the road splits to the right for León VIejo. Instead, continue straight for 5 kilometers and, after getting to the geothermal plant, you have to walk until reaching the foot of the volcano.

There is no public transportation to get to the plant. However, it is possible to reach La Paz Centro and from there take a cab or a bus to León Viejo. Once you are at the crossing mentioned above, get off the bus and then walk in direction to the foot of the volcano.

Note:
If you are going to the Geothermic Plant on your own, you must have a permit by the Ormat Momotombo Power Company.

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