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If you’re looking for an unforgettable adrenaline rush, these active volcanoes you can visit are sure to provide thrills and memories by the bucket-load.
Volcanoes are one of Mother Earth’s most volatile, yet jaw-dropping creations. For many adventurous travelers, the allure of their raw beauty and sheer awe is too much to ignore.
Whether you want to hike rugged slopes or watch their awesome power from afar, visiting an active volcano is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
So buckle up for a worldwide tour like no other, as we explore 14 of the world’s most impressive active volcanoes.
Active Volcanoes You Can Visit
1 – Popocatepetl, Mexico
Rooted in the center of Mexico, around an hour’s drive from Mexico City, the awe of Popocatepetl on the horizon-line is ever present for millions of Mexicans.
One of many spellbinding feats of volcanic activity in the stunning Parque Nacional Iztaccíhuatl-Popocatepetl, a day trip to the park is a must.
You can tackle Popocatepetl on one of its many rugged and challenging hikes. Or, marvel from afar from various viewpoints throughout the park.
2 – Poas, Costa Rica
Poas volcano natural park is one of Costa Rica’s most awe-inspiring and visited places, ideal for a memorable day trip.
Poas volcano, with its crater lakes and billowing steam clouds, is a reminder of the raw power of the geothermal forces happening beneath the Earth’s crust.
Towering, exploding geysers are a common sight in Poas. Along with other impressive formations in the Central Valley, like Lago Botos, a trip to the park is a must-do. It is only an hour’s drive from San Jose.
3 – Pacaya, Guatemala
Pacaya volcano, in Central America’s Guatemala, is an awe-inspiring, highly active volcano. Strombolian eruptions and gas emissions can constantly be observed.
Just over an hour from Antigua, Pacaya’s black slopes and breathtaking backdrop are perfect for adventure-lovers looking to conquer one of Earth’s most astounding feats.
Whether you hike or watch from afar, Pacaya is one of Guatemala’s must-visit places.
You can hike its challenging slopes or gaze at it in all its glory from a rope swing, suspended 100 feet above a canyon!
4 – San Cristobal, Nicaragua
With its elongated cone shape and deep ridges across its slopes, San Cristobal is one of Nicaragua’s most awe-inspiring and active volcanoes.
One-fifth of a five-volcano complex, The San Cristobal volcanic complex and nature reserve are a must-visit for anyone visiting Nicaragua.
Amid some of Nicaragua’s most vibrant and jaw-dropping beauty, you can soak in the wonder of San Cristobal and the other volcanoes, steaming and gurgling in the distance.
5 – Tunguarahua, Ecuador
A vist to the aptly named ‘throat of fire’ is undoubtedly one of Ecuador’s most daring and thrilling things to do.
Tungurahua is a startovolcano that has been particularly active since 2013, with multiple eruptions in the last few years.
It’s around a four-hour drive by bus, car, or tour from Quito, north of Tungurahua, or Guayaquil, south of the area.
Very much the alluring jewel of Sangay National Park, thrillseekers will love visiting this volcano.
6 – Ubinas, Peru
Peru is world-famous for its colorful and majestic landscape. Ubinas, the country’s most active volcano, is very much one of Peru’s underrated experiences.
Around a 3-hour drive from Arequipa, Ubinas is an imposing yet staggeringly beautiful feat of nature on the eastern fringes of the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reservation.
Colossal, rugged, and truly spectacular, if travel for you is all about embracing the elements, a day trip to the reserve to see this active volcano is a must.
7 – Mount Agung, Indonesia
Erupting as recently as 2019, Agung provides an imposing, dominating backdrop to the tropical wonders of the Bali landscape.
One of two volcanoes on the island of Bali, the other being Batur, Agung is definitely the most temperamental of the siblings.
You can either hike the rugged slopes of Agung or opt for the magical sunrise hike.
Starting in the early hours of the morning, you can watch dawn break over the volcano from the nearby mountains.
8 – Mount Sinabung, Indonesia
Whereas Agung is highly accessible, due to the popularity of Bali, outdoor lovers looking for more of an off-beat adventure will fall in love with Sinabung.
Located in northern Indonesia, Sinabung is roughly a 3-4 hours drive from Medan. Its slopes caked in the remnants of historic lava flows, this volcano is staggering to lay eyes on.
The abandoned villages surrounded its slopes are a timely reminder of its devastation.
Whether you hike Sinabung and peer into its belly or marvel from afar atop Mount Sibuatan, a trip to this volcano will stay with you for a lifetime.
9 – Mount Aso, Japan
Mount Aso very much typifies both the beauty and the beast of nature. Located in Aso-Kuju National Park, there is so much to see and do on Aso.
The volcano itself stretches a vast area of 75 miles. It has five distinctive peaks, with the crater of Mount Naka, billowing gas into the air, one of its must-see attractions, if possible.
From scorched ridges to bubbling lakes, sprawling green plains to ash-covered slopes, Aso is a volcano with an incredible amount of awe, beauty, and danger.
10 – Nishinoshima, Japan
Intrepid explorers rejoice, as Nishinoshima is one of the most isolated and fascinating volcanoes on the planet.
Nishinoshima island lies some 600 miles south of Tokyo. Surrounded by the vast Phillipines Sea, the island is uninhabited, and a sanctuary for various birds and wildlife.
Only accessible by boat, this tempremental volcano is partially submerged, and after decades of inactivity, has been erupting frequently since 2015.
While touring to the island is difficult, laying eyes on this towering beast something very few will experience in their lifetime.
11 – Karymsky, Russia
Soaring high above the snaking ridges and jagged peaks of the Kamchatka peninsula, a trip to visit Karymsky is not for the faint-hearted.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is sparsely populated and home to some 160 volcanoes in total.
Karymsky’s vast crater lake, shadowed by snow-capped peaks, is a truly magnificent site.
With harsh terrain and a volatile climate, land or boat tours are the best way to see this magnificent volcano in all its beauty.
12 – Taal, Phillipines
Only a two-hour drive from capital city Manila, the fantasy-like view of Taal volcano simmering away on its island base in the middle of Taal lake is simply not to be missed.
Philippines’ second most active volcano can be seen via boat from the water or one of the many viewpoints around the lake.
For those looking to wrangle with nature’s rugged side, there are plenty of trails and hikes to the volcano summit to see the bubbling, steaming crater lake.
13 – Etna, Italy
On the rustic Italian island of Sicily, near the southern city of Catania, lies Europe’s most active and largest volcano.
Etna’s ash-laden slopes and diverse geography make it a place both nature lovers and thrill-seekers can enjoy in abundance.
There are a wide range of tour options and guides for a visit to Etna. Whether you prefer challenging hikes, landrover drives, or time in nature, there’s something for everyone.
14 – Stromboli, Italy
A boat ride north of Sicily lie the Eolian Islands. The gurgling, constantly erupting Stromboli volcano is undoubtedly one of the must-see feats of nature in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Dominating the island of Ginostra, Stromboli’s flows have created black lava beaches across the island.
Nighttime hikes to the lava-spewing crater is arguably the best way to see this jaw-dropping volcano in all its glory.
Active Volcanoes You Can Visit Summary
Active volcanoes are one of the most incredible ways to experience Mother Nature at her most awesome.
Hiking the slopes and getting up close and personal with geysers, craters, lakes, and lave flows are the types of experiences adrenaline-seekers dream of.
But if you are not that way inclined, you can still appreciate the sheer awe and wonder of these magnificent volcanoes via guided tours or viewing platforms at sunrise or sunset.
Wherever in the world your travels take you, a day trip to an active volcano is something to consider for your itinerary. The experience will stay with you forever. Just remember volcano tourism can be very dangerous and you should do some thorough research before planning any trips.
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Thrilled by the idea of one-day seeing one of these magnificent active volcanoes in the flesh? Pin this article to one of your travel inspiration boards, ready for when you’re eager to travel to new and exciting places.
Author: Dale Johnson is a content strategist, designer, and seasoned traveler of thirty countries, and counting. He has visited a number of volcanoes throughout his travels, including Italy’s Vesuvius and Etna, and Indonesia’s Agung and Batur.
Images licensed via Shutterstock