Masaya Volcano

(c) 2014, Robyn LaRue

(c) 2014, Robyn LaRue

The Masaya Volcano, south of Managuna, Nucaragua, is caldera shaped volcano.  The classification of caldera means that the volcano is shaped like a “cooking pot” in the ground.  By today’s standards the Masaya Volcano seems to be just your typical active volcano.  However, in the times of the late 1400’s – 1700’s, this volcano was believed to be the “Mouth of Hell”.  It began when early locals, around the 1500’s, greedily viewed the lava as a source of gold and silver.  Many would fail in their attempts of trying to retrieve the supposed riches, their bodies were thought to be lost to the devil that tempted them.  Aboriginal people would recite tales of the  Gods that resided within the volcano.  In order to appease the Gods, the aboriginal people would give human sacrifices by throwing into the lava-filled crater children and maidens.

At one time, it was thought that an evil sorceress lived in the volcano and worked hand-in-hand with the devil.  In 1592, Mercedarian Fray Francisco de Bobadilla erected a large cross on the volcano in order to exorcise the daemon or evil that dwelled within.

In later years, Carmelite Fray Antonio Vazquez, who visited Nicaragua in the 1600’s, claimed that the eruptions from the volcano were the fires from the bowels of Hell and that the volcano itself was merely a vent for Hell’s fire to escape.

The reason why this specific volcano has been dubbed the “Mouth to Hell” is due to the continual volcanic activity.  Friar Toribio Benavente said “that the fire of the volcano of Nicaragua [Masaya] without fuel… must be the mouth to Hell and its fire must be supernatural and hellish, and the place from which the condemned are thrown by demons.”  Because the fires within the volcano continually burn and erupt, then Masaya Volcano must be a direct gateway into Hell.

As for the supernatural aspect, over the centuries there are stories from sailors and travelers who wandered through the forest that surround the Masaya Volcano.  Many of these wanderers gave accounts of seeing daemons dancing in the moonlight and hearing sounds of condemned voices screaming through the trees.

This may not be the creepiest place in the world to visit, but if you believe Hell to be a physical location within the Earth, the Masaya Volcano is probably the hottest doorway into the underworld.


Steam straight from the bowels of Hell.  It has that wonderful sulfury, rotten egg scent.  (c) Brian Jonson and Dane Kantner

Steam straight from the bowels of Hell. It has that wonderful and sulfury rotten egg smell. (c) Brian Johnson and Dane Kantner

A replica of the cross

A replica of the cross erected by Mercedarian Fray Francisco de Bobadilla (c) Brian Johnson and Dane Kantner