This morning we headed out to hike up a volcano – Sierra Negra. After a crazy (muddy) hike we came to the caldera (or crater) where we could see … fog. It wasn’t that surprising – it had rained for the whole hike up the mountain. But it was a little disappointing. We were soaked up to our knees, mud was squishing in and out of our sneakers.
We took a little break while our guide and the Italian newlyweds headed out to find a break in the fog.
While they were gone, the fog did clear for a few minutes and we were able to see much of the crater. It looked like small trees, but it was actually heaved up lava and ash. It was very impressive. The crater is approximately 8km x 9km and 300ft deep – the second largest in the world. It last erupted in 2005 – and the eruption lasted 15 days. Our guide said he had just finished a tour at 2pm and it began to erupt at 4:30 the same afternoon.
The hike was a blast and Drew loved the chance to get fully muddy. Because of the sun burn she got yesterday she called herself a chocolate dipped strawberry – thanks to the volcanic mud she was covered in this morning.
On the descent our guide told us that in the warmer season (December to May) it is clear almost every day. In the wet season (that we are in now) its a toss up – sometimes its sunny and nice – other times it is like it was today. After the hike, we headed to a great place called Campo Duro. They have a nice restaurant and campground. Behind the restaurant is a tortoise reserve and fruit orchard (oranges, lemons, bananas, papaya and mangoes). When we asked Omar, our guide, if the tortoises were in captivity, he said: “No, they are free and live behind a protective fence.”
We got to feed these wild and free tortoises some papaya. When the they smelled the papaya, it was the fastest we’ve ever seen a tortoise move. We’ll add videos in the next week or two. They are voracious.
This afternoon, we are hanging out on the beach and enjoying the sun. Tomorrow we head to the wetlands and get to see some flamingos. Then we head back to Santa Cruz Island. Should be great.
The first picture looks like messed up asphalt, but its actually lava fields that have heaved up. There are kilometers of this landscape on the way up the volcano.