Skydiving? Nah. Bungee jumping? Child’s play. Only real thrill-seekers know that scaling volcanoes is the way to go. Take on Mother Nature and visit one of these exhilarating volcanoes…but tread carefully, all of them are active.
Mount Pacaya, Guatemala
Try to avoid the molten lava as it seeps in thick rivers down the mountainside. Mount Pacaya, the most active volcano in Guatemala, has been in a constant state of eruption since 1965. The nearest you can get to the action is a plateau near the crater, but this won’t diminish your death-defying experience.
Mount Vesuvius, Italy
Notorious for the ancient devastation of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D., this volcano seems quiet since its last major eruption in 1944. You can hike to the top and peer over the edge of the crater into the mouth of this formidable beast, bearing in mind that Mount Vesuvius’ next eruption is long overdue.
Mount Sakurajima, Japan
Mount Fuji may have retired, but that doesn’t mean Japan’s not still a hotbed of volcanic aggression. Mount Sakurajima is one such example. Here, you can observe the explosive crater activity from designated lava observation spots.
Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Don’t miss the opportunity to walk, horseback ride or drive across a desert of ash to reach the base of the colossal Mount Bromo, then climb the stairs to the rim of the crater. It’s no wonder that locals make the pilgrimage for sacred rituals on the mountaintop: The views from up here are sublime.
Mount Pinatubo, Philippines
You might not be expecting to find this secret oasis at the top of an active volcano, but Mount Pinatubo holds an azure crater lake at its summit where tourists can bathe. The volcano last exploded in 1991, so best to visit sooner rather than later if you don’t want to be blown out of the water.
Sierra Negra, Galápagos
Literally translated as “Black Mountain,” Sierra Negra looms ominously over the Galapagos Islands as one of the most active volcanic areas in the world. The last eruption occurred in 2005, so bear in mind as you hike the six-mile caldera that another one is probably due soon.
Mount Kilauea, Hawaii
One of the world’s most active volcanoes, and the jewel-in-the-crown of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Mount Kilauea is a furious thing of beauty. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the lava flowing.
Poás Volcano, Costa Rica
If you liked the promise of paradise atop Mount Pinatubo, then you’ll love the gargantuan craters on Poás – two of which are immersed in bright aquamarine waters. But leave your swimsuit at home: The pH is deathly acidic, and an eruption in February means you won’t get farther than the lookout point.
(Main image: © malexeum/iStock/Thinkstock )
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