Mombacho Volcano looms ominously over the city of Granada. It is a favorite photo op especially with Granada’s beautiful church in the forefront. However, not many travelers make the trek to the tropical forest and trails that cover the dormant volcano.
Related: Hostal El Momento in Granada
It is extremely easy to travel in Nicaragua if you stay along the main tourist trail. Once you step off, it can get a little more difficult, especially if you do not speak Spanish. Mombacho Volcano is only less than 20 kilometers from Granada; however, not a lot of people go there. It can be a little bit of a challenge to travel there.
How to get to Mombacho Volcano
Take a taxi
The first step is getting there. Granada is the most likely stepping off point, since it is so close. There are basically three ways to get there. You can take a tour, take a taxi, or take a chicken bus. Taking a taxi would be the easiest. Just stop any taxi in Granada and ask to go to Mombacho. It should not cost more than $4.00 to $7.00 depending on your taxi and negotiating skills. If they want more, I would recommend trying another taxi.
Take a tour
You can set up a tour in Granada to visit Mombacho Volcano. There are both day tours and overnight tours. A day tour should cost anywhere from $25.00 to $40.00 depending on what is included. If you do an overnight tour, it should cost around $75.00 to $80.00. I tried to set up an overnight tour, but the company I inquired with was not running it for that day, so I went with option number three.
Go your own way
Option number three is to go there yourself. If you are renting a car you can drive there, but if you are backpacking, you can take the bus. Go to the main bus terminal for Rivas and jump a bus going to Rivas. Let them know you are going to Mombacho. It cost around one dollar to get to the road to Mombacho. It then cost me $4.00 for a tuk-tuk to my hostel. You can also hike up, but it is uphill and about 2-3 kilometers depending on where you are staying.
Where to stay
If you plan on staying the night near Mombacho, there are several options. If you leave early in the morning, you can do Mombacho in one day and return to Granada, but I recommend staying in the area at least one night.
Alburgue la Granadilla
This hostel is basically a room with a family that lives near the volcano. They charge $20.00 a night. They serve three meals a day that are fresh and tasty. The only issue is no one in the family speaks English, but as far as a cultural experience, it does not get any more authentic than this. Despite the language barrier, I did not have much trouble communicating, and they helped arrange a ride to the gate of Mombacho Volcano for $1.00.
Mombacho Volcano Hostel
There is a hostel at the top of the volcano. For travelers the price is $50.00 with meals included or $30.00 without meals. It is a little pricy, but it is worth it to stay on top of the Volcano and have easy access to the trails.
There are a few higher priced lodges within a short distance of the reserve. El Respiro Eco Lodge and Mombacho Lodge cost around $80.00 to $100.00. With the lodges there are obviously more amenities and comfort.
Getting up Mombacho Volcano
Once you have made it to Mombacho Volcano, the next task is getting up to the top. The park entrance is down below, but to get to the trails, you have to get to the top. You can either hike or pay for transport. The price for transport is included if you stay at the hostel. If not, it costs $10.00.
I highly recommend paying for the ride because it is an exhausting hike straight up the volcano. The incline is insane. It takes over an hour and you will arrive tired and sweating. Save your energy for the trails at the top.
Hiking Mombacho Volcano
There are several trails at the top. Some require guides and some do not. I hiked the crater trail that did not require a guide. The Puma Trail is the main long trail and this cost $22.00 for an English speaking guide or $17.00 if you can speak Spanish. It also costs $6.00 to enter the trails.
The prices for Mombacho Volcano are not that high, but they add up. I ended up not doing the Puma Trail. I enjoyed my time at Mombacho, but I would like to come back and do the Puma Trail and stay at the hostel in the park. If you stay at the hostel, you can also do a night hike, which does cost another $10-$15.
The Crater Trail is less than a mile and goes through sections of the forest and then out into some fabulous overlooks of Granada and the surrounding area. You can even see the smoking Masaya Volcano.
Recommend coming to Mombacho
The Mombacho Volcano is a bit off the tourist trail, but it is worth making the effort. If you stay on the Granada, Leon, Ometepe Island, San Juan Del Sur tourist trail, you will not see a whole lot of wildlife and nature. At Mombacho Volcano you have the opportunity to see wildlife and there are 278 species of birds seen throughout the year.
Another perk for coming to Mombacho is the climate is a little cooler than the rest of the area. Mombacho Volcano is a tropical forest and due to its elevation makes for a more pleasant environment.
The adventure is up to you
As you can see, there are many options on how to tackle a Momacho Volcano adventure. Depending on your budget, time frame, and fitness level, you can experience a lot here; on the other hand, you can have a cool experience in just a day. Mombacho Volcano is worth getting off the tourist trail for a day or two.
Check out this website for more information on visiting Mombacho.