Just back from Island Princess 15-day Panama Canal. We were initially waitlisted for the volcano hike and were given tickets as soon as we checked into our cabin so cancelled the back-up plan for the Volcano Photo Safari. The hike was fine but the excursion was just so-so overall for me.
Pros (and there were several):
- got to see the countryside during three-hour drive there
- the four-wheel drive up the volcano was the most fun part (very steep)
- the view from a look-off was impressive
- the hike was pretty and didn't seem too long
- lunch in Granada was very nice.
- it took three hours to get there in heavy traffic, after a one-hour unexplained delay getting off the ship
- part of the road was under construction wasting additional time (but we were warned)
- felt that there wasn't enough time to complete the excursion as advertised (didn't get to see the lagoon crater up close or stop at the Crossing for a close look at the two volcanos in Lake Nicarauga). The bus just pulled off the road for a picture through the window and you couldn't see that the volcanos were in the lake, although visability was good.
- zero time to buy anything except coffee at an unscheduled stop at a small plantation on the road up the volcano
- we weren't provided with the advertised bottle of water
- we got back to the ship at 7:30pm = one very long day that felt incomplete.
Given another chance, I would rather see an active volcano or spend more time in Granada. It felt more like a mountain hike than a volcano hike (forest and grass) and I expected to see a crater that didn't look like a grass covered mountainside.
Better research may have helped me enjoy it more for what it was.
Hope these details help someone decide whether or not they would enjoy this excursion.