Adventures / Summit Fever

Nicaragua Seven Summits Challenge

The ultimate volcano trekking odyssey. Stand atop geological giants spanning the spine of Nicaragua's Pacific highlands

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Trip Ref #10424

Adventures / Summit Fever

Nicaragua Seven Summits Challenge

The ultimate volcano trekking odyssey. Stand atop geological giants spanning the spine of Nicaragua's Pacific highlands

DURATION

10 nights

LOCATION

Nicaragua

ANNUAL LEAVE

7 days off work

SEASON

Year Round

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Managua Airport, Nicaragua

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel · Campsite

DIFFICULTY

Challenging

Seven summits in as many days, you'll need good fitness levels to tackle the gradients, but no technical trekking experience needed

Summit seven volcanoes, peer into lava-filled craters and volcano board down the face of Cerro Negro

Explore Ometepe Island, kayak the wildlife-packed Istián River and hike tropical forest to the twin peaks of Concepción and Maderas

Trek the boiling mud fields of San Jacinto, set up camp beside a crater rim and swim in the volcanic lagoon of El Tigre

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

Included

Guides

English-speaking, local volcano specialist guide

Accommodation

9 nights in local boutique hotels, 1 night camping

Meals

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 1 dinner

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Equipment

Camping equipment for the night on El Hoyo, volcano boarding equipment and clothing

Permits

All permits and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, Managua

Anytime on Day 1

Ends

Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, Managua

Anytime on Day 11

Transfers

Transfers between Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport (MGA) and your hotel in León are provided for any flight arriving on Day 1. On Day 11, your host will arrange a transfer from Granada back to the airport in Managua in time for your departing flight.

If you wish to arrive earlier or stay on later, your host can arrange private transfers for an additional cost. See Optional Extras for details. Prices quoted are each way, per vehicle (not per person) depending on your group size requiring a private transfer.

Travel options

There are frequent flights to Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport (MGA) from major airports across the UK, Europe and US. Flights between Managua and UK/Europe often transit in Miami.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8 – Day 9

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 11

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Breakfast is either a light and simple option of toast, cereal, juice and tea or coffee, or a more substantial option to fuel the hikes is the Nicaraguan breakfast, which tends to include Gallo Pinto (rice and beans), tortilla, scrambled eggs and plantain.

Included lunches on hike days will be picnic style with sandwiches, fruit and snacks. On the days where lunch isn't provided, you'll have time to browse and choose your own lunch while out and about in places such as San Jacinto, León and Granada.

Most dinners are not included on this trip, giving you the chance to explore the plentiful and very affordable eating options in León. Scope out traditional food such as at the streetside fritangas selling home-style Nicaraguan food with big portions of grilled meats, plantain, fried cheese, tortillas and rice dishes. Perfect fuel for your hikes. On Ometepe, the Hotel Villa Paraiso has a well regarded lakeside terrace restaurant for dinner time, or you can explore the other options nearby in the Santo Domingo beach area.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form. Bear in mind that vegan options in Central America can be limited.

What is the accommodation like?

León

Your main base for the trip is in the buzzy, artsy and intensely political city of León - a vibrant place decorated in revolutionary street art and home to salsa schools, colonial-era architecture, restaurants, bars, streetside fritanga food stalls and the finest rum distillery in Nicaragua - Flor de Cana.

You'll spend your time in León staying at the Hotel Cacique Adiact - a family-owned ecohotel in the centre of León. The hotel has 11 apartments and 6 rooms, almost all with their own balcony or terrace. Each apartment and room has A/C, wireless internet and a fridge. You can cool down after each of your volcano hikes around León in the hotel's outdoor swimming pool.

The hotel uses solar panels for the electricity and hot water, rainwater is recycled for flushing the toilets, watering the garden and washing. The rooms and apartments have energy-saving air conditioning units and the swimming pool uses a low chlorine system.

Camping at El Hoyo Volcano

On Day 4 you'll hike to El Hoyo volcano where your camp for the night will be set up at a campground on the volcano itself. Sleeping out here is a spectacular experience, bunking down beneath a volcanic crater with views of neighbouring volcanos and even the Pacific Ocean on clear days. Sunsets and stargazing are excellent here. You'll stay in twin-share tents.

Ometepe Island

During your time on Ometepe Island, you'll stay at Hotel Villa Paraíso which is nestled right on Santo Domingo Beach - a 7km beautiful stretch of white sand on the inner fringe of Lake Nicaragua. The hotel has private cabins overlooking the beach, each equipped with air-conditioning and hot showers. You'll have your choice of post-hike swim options in either the hotel pools or in Lake Nicaragua straight from the beach. The hotel's restaurant specialises in seafood and offers dishes using fish caught metre's away in Lake Nicaragua.

Granada

Your final night of the trip is spent at Hotel Patio del Malinche, a boutique accommodation just a few blocks from Central Park and with spectacular views of Mombacho Volcano, which you stood on top of earlier in the trip. There are 20 comfortable rooms within this lovingly renovated Spanish-colonial house, each with direct access to the terrace, garden and... guess what? Yes, another outdoor swimming pool. You'll stay in twin-share rooms.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Welcome to Nicaragua

Your host will meet you at Managua International Airport, pop you in the van and drive you along the shores of Lake Managua over to the city of León which takes around 1 hour. Settle into the hotel, maybe grab a swim in the pool before heading out with the rest of your group to get dinner in a nearby restaurant and have a chat about the adventures to come.

Day 2

Telica Volcano and San Jacinto Mud Fields

Hiking

4-5hrs · 13km · 620m up · 620m down

Take a short drive to the trailhead of Telica - your first volcano of the trip and one of the most active volcanoes in Nicaragua. The trail winds to the foot of Telica, the air full of sulphur and the roar of the active volcano. A steep switchback to the summit where you can - carefully - peer down into the crater and see the firey magma deep below. Descend Telica and drive back to León, stopping for a short hike at the boiling volcanic mud fields of San Jacinto - a martian landscape that serves as breathing holes for nearby active volcanoes. Grab a cold beer and some dinner in León to toast a cracking first day.

Day 3

Summit Nicaragua's highest volcano

Hiking

7-8hrs · 19km · 1593m up · 1593m down

Volcano number two awaits today - the active cone-shaped San Cristóbal, Nicaragua's highest at 1,745m. The hike is tough, a full day of trekking up the steep slopes to reach the huge crater rim. The view at the summit is incredible, dotted with nearby volcanoes La Casita, El Choncho, Moyotepe and La Pelona and on clear days you can see all the way to the Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras and El Salvador.

Day 4

Volcano boarding and crater-side camping

Hiking

5-6hrs · 18km · 970m up · 220m down

Grab an early breakfast before heading for the black sand, gravel and lava rock of Cerro Negro (The Black Peak). Your guide will help with the climb to the summit on the north side. The way down is a thrilling descent as you slip on a boiler suit and goggles, grab a board and swoop your way down the black sand-covered west face. Grab a picnic in the nature reserve and then hike to El Hoyo volcano where you will enjoy dinner beside the crater and camp for the night on its slopes.

Day 5

Swim in El Tigre Lagoon

Hiking

2hrs · 7km · 25m up · 580m down

Wake up on the slopes of El Hoyo, tuck into breakfast on the volcano, pack up camp and hike back down to the trailhead. Hop in the van and drive over to Asososca Lagoon, also known as El Tigre. This volcanic freshwater lagoon was formed after a violent eruption and makes for a great place to grab a swim before heading back to León where you can enjoy some downtime and explore this brilliant little city at your own pace.

Day 6

Momotombo Volcano

Hiking

5-6hrs · 10km · 450m up · 450m down

One of Nicaragua's most iconic landmarks, Momotombo is summit five. A perfectly symmetrical volcanic cone nestled on the side of Lake Managua, it is a symbol of Nicaragua, cropping up on many a revolutionary mural. You'll take a 4x4 to 450m beneath the summit and hit the trail from there as you navigate the steep and difficult terrain. From the summit, peer over to the Pacific Ocean, the city of León, and on a clear day, your next stop - Ometepe Island.

Day 7

Off to Ometepe

Kayaking

3hrs

Rise early for a 3hr ride from León to San Jorge before hopping on the ferry to Moyogalpa on Ometepe Island - a lush, tropical slab of land in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America. Rest your feet as you explore the waterways of Ometepe by kayak, along the beautiful Istián River, home to tropical birds, reptiles, monkeys, alligators, with views of Ometepe's twin volcanoes towering on both sides of the river.

Day 8

Concepción Volcano hike

Hiking

7-8hrs · 12km · 1467m up · 1467m down

Today you’ll climb up Concepción, the highest of Ometepe's peaks, passing coffee and banana plantations as you make your way to the base of the volcano. Ometepe was once thought to be the promised land by Aztec explorers, and the lush, green and wild backdrop for today's hike makes you understand why. The climbing can be tough, with harsher terrain near the top and strong sun after the treeline, but you'll be treated to another rewarding summit looking back down over the promised land.

Day 9

Maderas volcano

Hiking

5-7hrs · 15km · 1233m up · 1233m down

You can't head to Ometepe and only summit one of its volcanos, so today it's over to the dormant Maderas to see what Concepción's twin has to offer. After another early start, you’ll head to the trailhead at Finca Magdalena, a local community farm. Wind through the lush tropical vegetation while white-faced and howler monkeys heckle you from the forests. At the summit, you can look into the crater lake and over towards Concepción. You’ll have a long descent to the base before heading back to the hotel for well-earned beers and a dip in the lake and pool. A shorter 2-3hr cascades hike is possible today if your legs can't face back-to-back summit hikes.

Day 10

Mombacho cloud forest and night-time lava at Masaya

Hiking

1-2hrs · 2km · 88m up · 88m down

Bid farewell to Ometepe, hop back on the ferry to San Jorge and hotfoot it over to the verdant tropical forested slopes of Mombacho, your first of two bonus volcanoes today. You will be driven to the top (1345m) in a truck from where you'll hike the well-kept crater trail through dense cloud forest home to howler monkeys, sloths and the endemic Mombacho salamander, found nowhere else in the world except here. Head down the mountain and on to Granada to check into your hotel and enjoy the city. One last epic volcano awaits this evening at Masaya, known as the 'Mouth of Hell' where you'll watch molten lava rumble and glow inside the crater metres away from you - an experience once sacred to the pre-Columbian Nicaraguans.

Day 11

Farewell Nicaragua

Your volcano odyssey ends as your host drives you from Granada back to Managua Airport in time for your onward flight.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Camping gear for the night at El Hoya (tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag)
  • Volcano board, jump suit and goggles for Cerro Negro
  • Reusable water bottle

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (20+ litres)
  • Waterproof liner for kitbag or rucksack / drybags

CLOTHES

  • Light waterproof jacket
  • Light waterproof trousers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts / skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals

SLEEPING

  • Cotton or silk sleeping bag liner

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellant
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle (x1 litre)
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks
  • Water purification tablets/treatment system

Single room in Granada

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Granada

Twin/Double room in Granada

Payable Before Departure

Twin/Double room in Granada

Single room in León

Payable Before Departure

Single room in León

Twin/Double room in León

Payable Before Departure

Twin/Double room in León

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Car (1-2 people) Granada to Managua Airport

Payable Before Departure

Car (1-2 people) Granada to Managua Airport

Minivan (3-5 people) Granada to Managua Airport

Payable Before Departure

Minivan (3-5 people) Granada to Managua Airport

Car (1-2 people) Managua Airport to León

Payable Before Departure

Car (1-2 people) Managua Airport to León

Minivan (3-5 people) Managua Airport to León

Payable Before Departure

Minivan (3-5 people) Managua Airport to León

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 196kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

You'll need a good level of fitness for this trip. You'll be scaling seven volcanoes in ten days and some of the ascents are steep, over rough terrain in hot conditions. You'll need to be happy hiking for several hours a day on steep gradients. However, you won't need any technical ability or mountain climbing experience. To help you recover from some of the bigger summit days, we have built in some downtime during the trip in León, Ometepe and Granada, plus there's plenty of swim possibilities at the hotels in León and Ometepe, in volcanic lagoons and in Lake Nicaragua to help you cool off and soak your limbs ahead of the next leg of the challenge.

You'll only need to carry a day pack for each hike. Your main pack can be left behind at the hotels in León, Playa Santo Domingo on Ometepe, and Granada, and will be transferred in between each of your bases.

Nicaragua has 40 volcanoes, 19 of which are active. The active volcanoes you will encounter on this trip (with the most recent eruption in brackets) are San Cristóbal (2004), Telica (2004), Cerro Negro (1999), Momotombo (1905), Masaya (2003) and Concepción (1986). El Hoyo, Maderas and Mombacho are dormant. Volcanoes are an integral part of Nicaragua's history and modern-day identity, and your volcano specialist guide will fill you in on all manner of knowledge alongside their expertise at navigating the hikes and scaling the summits.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however we suggest the below as a guideline per person:

Guides: 5–10 USD per day Tour driver: 2-5 USD per day Restaurant staff: 10% of your bill

It is not recommended to drink water from the tap in Nicaragua. Bottled water is cheap and easy to find, however, please bring a personal refillable water bottle that you can fill at each of your hotels from a purified water supply. Your host includes a reusable water bottle within the trip price, but we suggest you also bring your own as the hiking can be in hot conditions so plenty of water is always a good thing.

Nicaragua is located just above the Equator and has a tropical climate. The country has two seasons: the rainy (or green) season lasts from May to mid-November - this does not mean continuous rain, but there can be some heavy rain for an hour or two, mostly in the late afternoon or at night. The dry season is November-April. Average temperatures year-round are between 21-31°C / 70-81°F - the months of March-May are the hottest, rising to average highs of 35°C / 95°F.

Yes, you can leave your main luggage in the hotels in León, Ometepe and Granada while you head off for the various volcano trekking days.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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