The world we live in is turbulent, without a doubt, and that applies to the literal planet, too. Beneath the Earth’s crust churns a vast pool of magma, just waiting to break through the surface. Volcanoes shaped this planet, and humans have been fascinated by them -- and slightly afraid of them -- for millennia. Today, there are some very obvious choices for volcano tourism, namely Hawaii, Iceland, and Japan, home to the iconic Mount Fuji, but there are other destinations around the world that offer budding volcanologists (or simply the curious) a chance to live life on the edge. Here are 11 such places across the globe.
There are six active volcanoes and 61 dormant or extinct ones, which is a high number for such a small country. Arenal, in the north, is one of the country’s most popular, as is Poás in the central region, which is home to one of the most acidic lakes in the world. Volcano hiking is a popular tourist activity, but visitors should always heed the guidance of authorities.
Where to Stay Near Arenal:
Sure, you’re probably aware of the historic heavy hitter, Mount Vesuvius, which famously destroyed Pompeii in the year 79, but there are more than 25 active and extinct volcanoes in Italy. Mount Etna in Sicily recently made headlines, when a BBC film crew and a group of tourists were caught in an eruption (there were no fatalities). Mount Stromboli, also in Sicily, is another highly active volcano in Italy.
With nearly 150 volcanoes (76 active), the island nation of is a volcano lover’s dream. But while tourists might be drawn to the picturesque steam plumes, they should be aware that volcanoes can be incredibly dangerous. The most well-known volcano in Indonesia might be Krakatau, which had a massive eruption in 1883 that killed more than 30,000 people. The eruption is thought to have been the loudest noise in recorded history.
4. Democratic Republic of the Congo
This country is home to two of Africa’s most active volcanoes — Mount Nyiragongo and its neighbor Nyamuragira. The former is thought to have the fastest lava flows in the world. A 1977 eruption, which killed approximately 70 people, saw lava reach speeds of 40 miles per hour. Despite the potential danger, tourists often hike the peaks — Mount Nyiragongo even has huts for overnight stays on its summit.
Though there are some 3,000 volcanoes in , there are only 14 active ones, including Colima, El Chichón, and Popocatépetl, which is located just 43 miles outside of . Popocatépetl’s neighbor, Iztaccihuatl, is popular with hikers on day trips from the capital.
Where to Stay in Mexico City:
6. New Zealand
While active volcanoes were once found across the entirety of , today they only exist on the North Island and several island chains, also found to the north. Visitors should head to Tongariro National Park to explore the volcanic landscape. Multiple scenes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films were shot here.
Where to Stay in Auckland, a 4.5-Hour Drive from Tongariro:
This tiny Caribbean island is dominated by the Soufrière Hills volcano, which started erupting after a period of dormancy in 1995, destroying more than half of the island, including its capital, Plymouth. Some two-thirds of the island’s population has evacuated, with many moving to the United Kingdom. But the island is recovering, and much of the tourism on the island today is driven by the volcano. Visitors can tour the southern exclusion zone, including Plymouth, then return to the lush greenery of the north side of the island.
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