Welcome to Parque Nacional Volcán Masaya
The Spaniards said this was the gate to hell, and put the Bobadilla cross (named for the priest who planted it) atop a now inaccessible cliff. Volcán Masaya is the most heavily venting volcano in Nicaragua, and in a more litigious nation there is no way you'd be allowed to drive up to the lip of a volcanic cone as volatile as the Santiago crater. In 2012, there was an explosion of gas and rocks, and the crater continues to bubble with red-hot lava – a particularly dramatic sight during evening visits. In 2016, National Geographic shot a drone video of the lava, with explorer and cinematographer Sam Cossman descending right to the edge of the bubbling magma.
From the entrance, a paved 5km road leads to the Plaza de Oviedo, which honors the intrepid priest who descended into the volcano to find out whether the lava was pure gold.