Our destination this morning was Masaya Volcano National Park not too far out of Granada. It is a complex volcano composed of a nested set of calderas and craters both active and inactive dominated by degassing and explosive events in the last 50 years and as recently as 2001. When we arrived at the ticket booth we were told that it was impossible to drive to the top because of the large amounts of sulfur dioxide escaping from the volcano, it would not be safe. After further discussion with the ranger he suggested we visit the museum and that perhaps the weather would moderate allowing us to continue to the top.
After about 40 minutes of we were allowed to proceed with a ranger on board, he had a gas mask . . . we did not . . . should I be nervous? At the top we really couldn’t see much due to the thick cloud of gas and clouds enveloping the crater again my thought was do I need a gas mask? Actually the wind was in our favor, blowing the gases away from us. We waited and it was not long before the clouds moved to give us a glimpse into the crater. We walked to the top of the hill for an overview and look into another crater but did not stay long as the wind was shifting and the ranger suggested we leave. It was impressive looking down into “La Boca del Infierno” or “The Mouth of Hell” as it was called by the Spanish.
We stopped for lunch at a little restaurant overlooking Lago Apoyo. The lake is contained inside the crater of Apoyo Volcano, blue, and thermally vented, think big warm clean lake and the surrounding area is a nature reserve, quite beautiful. The building housing the restaurant actually held three restaurants all right next to each other with no separation other than the signs. We had a nice lunch with a hard to beat view of the lake.
Bellies full we begin the drive back to Granada stopping first in the little village of Masaya where we visited the Valentin Lopez Ceramic Workshop and School then the home of a family who make bamboo baskets. Yes, I bought some ceramics, they were beautiful and I just wish that I had more room in my suitcase but settled for one small plate. We watched the whole process as the potter started by working the clay with his feet, then the wheel, the painting and design were added and then the pieces are fired in a wood burning kiln.
Ceramic Workshop and School
Bamboo Basket Makers
The beautiful daughter of the basket makers