On the southeast flank of 1,060-meter Volcán Telíca, Los Hervideros de San Jacinto are a warren of boiling mud pits and thermal vents which have formed a veritable martian landscape not far from León .
The vents testify to the region’s geothermal electric potential, an opportunity that has not gone unnoticed by potential foreign investors—some Israeli—that continue to explore the idea of producing energy from the vast reserves that are forming the vents.
One visitor called it “Yellowstone without fences” and loved interacting with the children guides; others thought it was boring.
To get there, take a bus from León bound for Estelí , San Isidro, or Malpaisillo and get off at the town of San Jacinto (approximately 25 kilometers from León). The entrance is marked by an enormous arch and a posse of women and children selling “artifacts” from the hot springs. Entrance is $1, and the park is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The boys will offer to guide you around for $1 of less, which is worth it, considering the danger of falling into a scalding mud bath. Community-based tourism projects and trail improvements are in the works, as is a new hotel.