MANAGUA, Nicaragua Peer into a steamy crater, kayak in thermal waters, hike up a mountain rising 4,000 feet from a flat coastal plain, or slide down a slope of black sand.
These are some of the adventures available to travelers exploring Nicaragua's volcanoes, dubbed the "Ring of Fire" by the Central American nation's tourism board.
For example, you can hike up the Momotombo volcano, a cone rising 4,200 feet above Lake Nicaragua. Or visit the Masaya volcano, in a national park 45 minutes from Managua, where you can look inside a steamy crater.
On the island of Ometepe, you'll find twin volcanoes - Maderas, which is extinct, its crater filled with a lagoon in a cloud forest, and Concepcion, which is still active and has slopes covered by a tropical dry forest. On Cerro Negro, which erupted just eight years ago, you can "volcano surf," descending the black slope on ski-like boards. At the Mombacho volcano, you can see orchids in the tropical cloud forest at the top and coffee plantations on the land below.
A variety of tours are available to help you experience Nicaraguas "Ring of Fire." For more information, contact the Nicaragua Tourism Board at 888-733-6422 or visit www.vianica.com.