Nicaragua is mainly about volcanoes, so here follows a few pictures of Leon and Granada – the main tourist towns on the pacific coast – followed by several pictures of volcanoes both active and dormant. The most strenuous volcano hikes (up to ten hours hard slog up to the peak) are on Isla Ometepe, so we decided to simply relax by the pool whilst we were there and indulged in volcano action in Masaya National Park instead (you get driven to the summit and walk mainly downhill). But Reliable Joe did enjoy walking the rim between two volcanoes and coughing at the sulphurous smoke bellowing out of one. Others in her group hiked up a volcano then ‘boarded’ down. It’s the latest fad in extreme sports and was apparently very fun, though also very dusty.

Horses and carts are still a very common sight on Nicaraguan streets.

Leon is a quirky town with some great boutique hotels springing up. It’s a good base from which to indulge in activities such as volcano-boarding.

Leon also has this pretty cathedral which has recently been restored. Great views are on offer from its rooftop.

Granada is a charming colonial town. Rather than doing any organised tours, Reliable Joe beat the heat (it was around 38 degrees celsius every day) with a nice massage at one of the town’s spas. They are basic but good.

Staring into the inferno. Somewhere hundreds of metres below this belching volcano is red hot lava. We tried to spot it once night had fallen, but couldn’t see it for all the smoke. It did make us cough a little, however.

The winding road to the volcano was rather pretty in itself.

The rim between the two volcanoes – one dormant, the other active.

The dormant volcano.

Hiking the rim between the two volcanoes.

Smoke bellows out of the active volcano against the setting sun.

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