Christmas, Volcano Sledding and Bull-fighting, oh my!

Posted: December 29, 2012 in ADVENTURE STORIES!, TRAVEL
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Dec 23rd, Leon, Nicaragua

Dear Mom,

I went volcano sledding. Hold on, let me repeat that for you. I SLEDDED DOWN A VOLCANO! Yep. new sport. Basically, you hike (30 min) up the side of the youngest (and most active) volcano in all of central america (Cerro Negro) with a make-shift toboggan (basically a board with a piece of PVC pipe on the front and a piece of formica board on the back), change into an orange jumpsuit (“for protection”), take a deep breath and sled down.

The “ash” is basically fish-gravel (but black, smelly and hot). The sun was beating down on us and most people were still hungover from the night before (the Big Foot Hostel had a huge party the night before with free drinks and a lot of beer pong). The sunset was breathtaking and the thrill of going 70+km on a piece of wood (DOWN A VOLCANO) is totally worth the price of admission (25$– plus you get 2 free mojitos… If you survive).

The only scary thing was the potential of the mountain spewing at any minute. Other than that- it is just a great story and bucket-list item. Not to mention that Leon, Nicaragua is probably one of the safest and cleanest cities I’ve been to yet in all of Central America. Totally worth a visit.

Dec 24th, Isla Los Brasiles, North of Poneloya, Leon, Nicaragua

Dear Mom,

The Hostel had a special where they drove you to the beach for the day and then they provided an all-you-can-stuff x-mas dinner with an open bar. I gladly paid the 25$ and laid on the beach and did absolutely nothing. To say this is paradise is an understatement. Except for the 15 people that were included in the special, the beach was deserted. It was actually a sea-turtle sanctuary (Nicaraguans will scour the beaches in search for the eggs, dig them up, and sell them on the black market. This organization buys the eggs back from them, hatches them as best as they can and releases them back into the wild.) So after a very hectic day of laying on the beach, sunbathing and playing in the bath-water-temperature ocean, I decided to be productive and save some sea turtles before going back to the hostel for an amazing dinner that didn’t disappoint! 🙂

Dec 28th, San Jose, Costa Rica (Zapote)

Dear Mom,

I went to see a bull fight today at the “Annual Festival”. The whole area was set up with carnival rides, beer and food tents, and a huge stadium that holds (maybe) 5K. The seats are, well, ok–there are no seats. More just like platforms. In the center is a dirt pit and a “moat-like area” that holds all the people (out of reach of the bull).

My (crazy) friends were in the moat until it was their turn to jump into the pit with the bull. No one, sadly, was able to explain to me why this stuff happens– except it’s like Central America’s version of Hockey…. You wait for the blood to show up and then you get all excited and really pay attention.

I should note, though, that my friends got a t-shirt and admission (and the best seats in the house)– and I had to pay 30$USD for a semi-crappy seat. So I think they got the better bargain. (Remember: Risking your life sometimes pays off!)

Would I have jumped in as well? ABSOLUTELY! But someone had to take the pictures.

That’s all for this week, Mom… I hope you didn’t have a heart attack from this.



  1. Traci says:

    I remember a sea turtle project off the coast of Sumatra similar to the one you described. Tourists could watch the turtles lay eggs and then buy them back to be released into the ocean once they were strong enough to increase their odds of survival. A very worthwhile project!

  2. Zak Weinberg says:

    The volcano sledding looks awesome – you make us want to be back in SA so badly. Glad to see you’re having a blast!

    Zak + Maddie

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