They're Hot... REALLY Hot: Active Volcano Tours You Can Take
Thousands of hikers every year head to Guatemala’s Pacaya National Park to watch slow-moving lava flows. (Courtesy: INGUAT, Guatemalan tourism bureau)
With Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano threatening to erupt and spew ash, potentially disrupting global air travel, it’s a reminder of the power — and the majesty — of volcanoes. Amazingly, travelers around the world continue to flock to active volcanoes to get up close and personal with these angry giants; more than 1.5 million people visited Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park last year, and 60,000 climbed Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano.
From the red-hot magma of Hawaii to the rocky top of Mount Fuji, here are eight of the top global destinations where you can visit volcanoes — some of which have been quiet for hundreds of years, and others that continue to boil and bubble. Mind the warnings, and experience the power of planet Earth.
In the distance is the Halema’uma’u crater, viewed from Jaggar Museum in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. (Photo: Mark Wasser)
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park: For ease of access, as well as views of all things volcano, from live magma to ancient lava crusts and interpretive centers, you can’t beat this national park on the Big Island of Hawaii. You can cruise by car along Crater Rim Drive and survey the massive caldera from scenic viewpoints, and you can even hike around the area to track the paths of historic lava flows. The Halema’uma’u crater has been erupting steadily since 2008, with its fiery glow often visible, particularly in the evening. Just be sure to check the lava flow report for the latest conditions, because as Jack Handey said, “If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let ‘em go, because, man, they’re gone.”
The Temple of Jupiter in Pompeii, with Mount Vesuvius in the background (Photo: Woody Hibbard/Flickr)