Southern Nicaragua's Mombacho Volcano is unmistakeable. Wherever you seem to turn, there it is hovering over the landscape. Whether it's walking the streets of Granada, taking a panoramic photograph from the top of Iglesia de la Merced, or boating around Lake Granada, Mombacho captures your attention. And that with Mombacho not even being one of Nicaragua's tallest volcanoes, at just below 4,500 feet. However, for the outdoor adventurist, Mombacho has a lot to offer.

Mombacho is easier to recognize than many Nicaragua volcanoes because it's the one that looks like the top has been blown off it. Legend has it that centuries ago, one of Mombacho's explosions led to hundreds of islets forming on nearby Lake Nicaragua. However, it has been centuries since the volcano has erupted.

Those who love the wilderness and botany are likely to enjoy what Mombacho has to offer. While most people don't think of diverse plant life when it comes to volcanoes, that's exactly what you'll find at Mombacho. The volcano is home to several hundred types of plants, such as bromeliads and orchids. Travelers on a Nicaragua tour can enjoy one of the many hikes on Mombacho, which showcase the diverse plant life of the volcano and include wildlife sightings such as howler and capuchin monkeys, dazzling crimson-breasted, emerald-plumed quetzal as well as the endemic Mombacho butterfly and Mombacho salamander. In the upper elevations of Mombacho, visitors will find the cloud forest of the volcano.

Story and photo courtesy Spencer Spellman