Mombacho Volcano: Nicaragua’s Greatest Rip-off?

One of our days in Granada, Nicaragua, Randi and I left the city for a daytrip to Volcan Mombacho. Mombacho is an inactive volcano that is home to coffee farms and cloud forests.  Our day started out by shamelessly embracing our tourist status and going ziplining over a coffee farm halfway up the volcano.

We only realized once we arrived that we had purchased tickets to Mombacho’s second-most famous zipline course. I can’t speak for Miravalle, which has decent reviews, but I can say this for Café Las Flores: it wasn’t great. The course was largely flat and the lines were short, making for a somewhat lackluster experience.

Still, we were ziplining so we had fun. The best part was the dismount from the zipline platforms: they dropped us at freefall for twenty feet, yanking us to a stop inches above the ground. Can you say ADRENALINE RUSH?

After we finished ziplining we decided to hike around the cloud-forested craters at the top of the volcano. This is when we realized the truth of it: Volcan Mombacho is the single biggest rip-off in Nicaragua.

It costs twenty dollars to take a truck to the top of the mountain.  That is an absolute fortune in Nicaragua. Granted, for only five dollars you can walk the 5 kilometers straight uphill on a shoulder-less road in the tropical heat. This sounded particularly unpleasant to us so we attempted to get a discount on the truck. We were starting halfway up, after all — right?

Wrong. After much finagling, bartering, and generally humiliating interactions we had to accept the fact that we would need to pay twenty dollars to get to the top of volcano. We coughed up the money and climbed in the truck.

Mombacho’s Free Path and an Unexpected Surprise

When we reached the top, we were dumbstruck to find that the ripoffs were not over. Not even hiking is free on Mombacho. There is one short free loop but all of the interesting trails that go to the peak or the cloud forest cost additional money.

WHAT!?

Angry and frustrated, we blew off the rangers’ suggestions and took off on the free hike. It was pleasant and had nice views of Granada, but was most definitely not worth the twenty dollars it cost us to get there.

view mombacho nicaragua
I’m secretly mad under that adorable smile

I was fuming and stomping my way along the path when something miraculous happened. We had come across the one thing that could have possibly pardoned Mombacho of all its ridiculous fees: a sloth.

ADORABLE SLOTH NICARAGUA
JK I’M NOT MAD CAUSE I SAW THIS SLOTH

A sloth! A sloth! I had given up on my chances of seeing a sloth when I decided to skip Costa Rica on my trip. Sloths were the only Costa Rican experience I wanted that I was fairly sure I would not be able to find in Nicaragua.

FALSE. I DID IT. I SAW ONE AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.

The adorable, fuzzy creature sat in the tree staring at us for minutes on end. On occasion he blinked . . .  v e r y  ,  v  e  r  y    s   l   o    w    l    y     .

I was still busy cooing at him when Randi finally put her foot down and we continued the hike.

Luckily, the short hike involved passing the sloth again ten minutes later. I was thrilled to find that he literally had not moved a single inch. Adorable and consistent – what more can you ask for?

sloth mombacho nicaragua
The sloth — fifteen minutes later.

Needless to say, I left with mixed emotions. Mombacho is definitely a royal rip-off. But how much can I dislike the place where I finally got to see a sloth?


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