Hiking Telica Volcano is one of the greatest accents of wild Nicaragua. It’s highly adventurous hiking this volcano without a tour guide. 


Telica – the most active volcano in Nicaragua

If you have any doubts whether you can manage hiking Telica Volcano without a tour guide – in this post you’ll find all essential information on how to do it safely and enjoy the adventure. 

Hiking Telica volcano on your won is more than doable and it’s an amazing hiking adventure, but – you still need to prepare for it, plan and have some experience in hiking in high temperatures. We’ve read lot’s of information on the internet and at first we also had some doubts if we can do it on our own. 

Safety while hiking Telica Volcano

The most common information we heard and read was that the trail to the top of Telica is not maintained and it’s easy to loose the path. After reaching the top I can say – it’s absolutely possible to hike this volcano without a guide. The following advise and many road signs on the way will help you lead the right trail. 

If you feel more safe, you can additionally download from google an off-line GPS track  – this was some kind of a really cheap app we found online and used as a support in case we have troubles finding the route. It’s a great tool I must say as a back up.

How to hike Telica Volcano without a tour guide?

We searched different blogs for information whether it’s possible to hike Telica volcano without a tour guide. As I mentioned above the most common thing said online was it’s sometimes difficult to find the right way up. I can tell you now it is not that hard as they say! Here you’ll find all useful tips how to hike this volcano alone and not get lost. 

The only reason we downloaded the gps track was because we didn’t have too much experience on unmaintained mountains and we desperately wanted to reach the top:

  • we have never climbed such long and not attended volcano before (we met only one French couple on the way up and there were no other tourists on the top!!)
  • you need around 4 hours to reach the top – so there’s no too much time to wander around, as you don’t want to get caught by the twilight.
  • locals told us the track is not maintained and it’s easy to get lost (they usually say that to encourage you to hire a guide).

How to get to Telica Volcano?

Take a local bus to reach San Jacinto – lovely small rural village. There’s a bus stop in San Jacinto village but it’s best to ask the driver for Telica Volcano and he will show you which way to go after getting off the bus. 

99% of travelers take this bus to hike Telica Volcano, so they know you’re looking for some direction. 🙂 If you travel from Leon to San Jacinto, after getting off the bus, walk to the other side of the street and go through the village (see the photo). There is a huge road sign Telica Rota – this is your starting point for hiking Telica Volcano. 

Starting point and check point

The village San Jacinto with two big road signs Telica Rota is your starting point for hiking Telica Volcano. You will go through a check point and pay a C70 entry fee for foreign tourists. On your left there will be another road sign with a terrain map. I advise to take a photo, as you might need it on a later stage. Go through the village to cross a small bridge. After the bridge there are “hot springs” (boiling muddy holes), you’ll feel the smell of a sulphur. The scenery is just unbelievable. You’ll see children running and playing on the field covered with boiling holes and a heavy sulphur smoke. Don;t know how is that possible?? 😉 You should leave boiling mud fields on your left and follow the path ahead.


You need to go through the barbed wire – yes this is your trail! Walking further, you’ll pass another volcano – Santa Clara (photo below) on your left, also visible on the attached map.

Signs on the way to Telica Volcano

Walking through the fields you should have Santa Clara on your left and Telica on your right side. There are hundreds of stories on how long it takes to get to the top of Telica Volcano. We are in a reasonable shape and we easily did it in one day, alone, in a terrible heat.

The trick is to stick to the following signs:

  • look out for a red ribbon – it’s tied on the trees, it confirms you are on the right track.
  • follow the horse shit! It means you are on the main trail 🙂
  • painted direction signs on the rocks/stones,
  • there are many signs on the ground made with sticks/branches left by by local people or other tourists
  • you can always ask people on horses or locals

The horse shit is the best signs you can find. Horses usually carry the gear and water for the organized groups of tourists, who are camping on the top of the volcano. If you don’t find any of these signs it means you might be on the wrong track. There are few crossroads on the way and you might be a little confused sometimes, so mind the road signs mentioned above. 

Camping in Telica Volcano

There are many night tours offering camping in Telica Volcano. We heard it’s an amazing experience and great opportunity to watch lava at night time or meeting really wild animals like huge spiders or scorpions. 🙂 While starting our hike we didn’t have a plan and were hoping it will be possible to rent a tent at the top of the volcano to stay overnight. But there was nobody except 3 local guys selling bear and coconuts 🙂 Telica is a totally wild volcano, you will not meet many people there. Perhaps it’s the lenght of the trail, maybe it’s just not too popular to hike due to its wilderness.

On the way down we met an organized group hiking Telica Volcano for a night camp. The caravana had a lot of horses carrying all the luggage and camping equipment, which I didn’t like to be honest. If you go for a hikking adventure, you should be carrying you luggage yourself. It’s about the responsible travel. People from the group were also carrying lots of wood to set up a fireplace near the camping spot and that I have to say sounds very cool. It must be amazing to spend a night on the top of the volcano near the fireplace. I suppouse the fire also keeps the animals away from the tents.

How long does it take to get to Telica Volcano?

Start the trip as early as you can – we got up at 6am to take a bus to San Jacinto. We reached the village for 8 a.m. (the village with two big road signs – Telica Rota as a starting point). It took us 4-5 hours to hike 10 km to reach the top of the volcano. The trail is not too hard but the last 1,5 hour is quite steep. You will need 3 liters of water per person if you are hiking in the middle of dry season. 

Don’t be surprised with lizards and snakes crossing your way – it is the beauty of hiking in nature. And remember – they are more scared than you are! The last 30% of the trail there are no crossings, so it’s not possible to miss the way. 

The view of the crater when approaching Telica is breattaking. There crater itself is amazing, you’ll see holes in the bottom with flowing lava (yes it was visible in 2017). The crater is extremely wide and 100 meters deep. Surrounding area is blanket with a volcano smoke, it’s quiet and pieceful. This is one of the most impressive things I’ve seen! At the same time you have to remember Telica is Nicaragua’s most active volcano. 

The area is covered with sulphur ashes and fog but it’s possible to function without a mask. Summiting Telica Volcano is seriously one of the most amazing trekking adventures! The size of the crater and views from the crater edge are stunning. It’s possible to walk around the crater before you head down.

What to pack for hiking Telica Volcano?

  • Clothing – depends on the season. We did this trekking in summer and it was extremely hot.. so if I had a choise I would hike without any clothes 🙂
  • Summer seeason – we took 3 litres of water per person and it still wasn’t enough. Luckily we purchased some drinkns and fresh coconut at the top of the volcano from local people. The worst thing that can happen in such hot conditions is to run out of water.
  • Good & comfortable hiking shoes is a MUST! Always test your shoes before taking long hikes. Even best brands don’t guarantee your feet will feel comfortable in shoes. The last thing you want are any blisters, especially in hot weather conditions. 
  • In a rainy season it may get wet and windy – so you should definitely take a rain jacket and some extra layers (for change).
  • Sunlotion and sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Headlight – this is something I always have with me for any trip /even daytime/.
  • Definitely some food/lunch. You won’t be able to buy anything on the way up. 

Usefull facts before you hike Telica Volcano.

  • Some people say it’s not even a hiking, but a trekking. I’m not so sure about it, the last 1.5 h is pretty steep and if you are going in summer months it is really challenging due to high temperatures and the lenght of the trail up which is 10 km one way.
  • Telica Volcano elevation is 1061 m (3480 feet).
  • It’s one of Nicaragua’s most active volcanoes (some say the most active volcano in the country).
  • Always check the volcano activity and weather forecast before you go. There is a seismic station monitoring the volcano activity.