Volcano Boarding In Leon: Big Foot vs QuetzalTrekkers


In 2004 the owner of Leon’s Big Foot hostel rode a picnic table down the slopes of nearby Cerry Negro volcano and a new tourist activity was born. Almost ten years later, and with an improved sit-down toboggan, Leon’s Volcano Boarding is the must-do activity of Nicaragua.

Featured in the #2 spot on CNN’s “Thrill Seekers Bucket List” and the #4 spot on Reader’s Digest “10 Death Defying Travel Destinations”, Leon’s Volcano Boarding is an increasingly popular activity, attracting dare-devils from all over trying to break the current speed record of 90 km/h.

There are many tour operators and hostels offering Volcano Boarding in Leon but the two major players are Big Foot and QuetzalTrekkers. While both tours include equipment, transport to and from Cerro Negro and a guide for the 1 hour hike up, they do have some differences which are worth pointing out.

Big Foot

Big Foot is your typical party-hostel overrun with 18 year old kids on their Gap Year. For $25 (plus $5 volcano entrance fee) you’ll be part of a larger group, 15 or more, and the focus is very much on who can achieve the highest speed of the day. Your speed will be clocked by the Big Foot radar gun, you receive a cold beer at the bottom of the slope and two mojitos back at the hostel. The guides are knowledgable and professional and you get to ride out to Cerro Negro in the monster Mercedes truck.

The down side is that you only get one go at sliding down the volcano. You do however get the option to join the tour again the following day for only $10.


QuetzalTrekkers is a non-profit organisation where your tour fee will help support the local kids and community. The tour guides are volunteers and get paid only in tips, and while they’re still knowledgable about the area and the volcano it’s a little more like just doing the tour with a friend rather than a guide. QuetzalTrekkers charges the same price as Big Foot – $30 per person which includes the volcano entrance fee – but the main attraction is that because it’s a smaller group (as small as 4 people) you get to slide down the volcano twice. This is a huge advantage if you don’t quite get the hang of it on your first go.

You’ll have to guess your speed as there’s no radar gun, and to my relief there was a lot less pressure on going fast. Snacks are provided before your second run down, and then a delicious vegetarian lunch before you head back to get your free QuetzalTrekkers T-shirt at the office.


We went with QuetzalTrekkers and I’m glad we did. Helping support the local community while getting to volcano board twice with a smaller group and free lunch and t-shirt all thrown in made it a very memorable day. Here’s a very short video of our first try, a longer video on the whole experience is coming soon.



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4 Responses

  1. March 27, 2014

    […] Volcano Boarding In Leon: Big Foot vs QuetzalTrekkers […]

  2. March 27, 2014

    […] Volcano Boarding In Leon: Big Foot vs QuetzalTrekkers […]

  3. May 12, 2014

    […] Volcano boarding down Cerro Negro [Bigfoot Hostel and Quetzal Trekkers have most popular tours, comparison of the two via Runaway Travellers] […]

  4. February 25, 2015

    […] Volcano Boarding In Leon: Big Foot vs QuetzalTrekkers […]

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