The Sunday Six: Volcano Holidays
We love volcanoes: under the sea, on land, volcanoes within volcanoes — we just can’t get enough of them. Here’s six of the best places to get up close and personal on a volcano holiday.
A pretty little town in the highlands of Guatemala, surrounded by smouldering peaks, Antigua was briefly the capital of old Guatemala. The peak you’ll most likely want to bag? Volcán Pacaya, where you can cook eggs and boil water on glowing rocks and watch sparks and rocks bursting from the classically conical crater.
An island that makes many people’s lists of the most beautiful places on earth, the jagged cliffs and teetering houses of Santorini are actually just part of the rim of a vast caldera, the remnants of a larger island blown away in an eruption 3500 years ago or so. The volcanoes have quieted down of late, but you can pick up pumice on black sand beaches and swim in marine hot springs, their pebbles tinged with iron oxide.
Ijen Plateau, Indonesia
Home to Gunung Bromo, Gunung Merapi and Gunung Ijen, three dramatically active volcanoes, Java’s Ijen Plateau is rich in hot springs, hot waterfalls and occasionally actual eruptions — sometimes sufficient to ground planes, cause evacuations and kill those unlucky enough to remain. If your lungs hold up, you can ascend to sulphur-producing lakes and vertiginous craters. If not, you can enjoy coffee plantations and spice farms.
Lanzarote, the Canaries
Despite its African location, it’s possible to head to Lanzarote without leaving Spain. One of the volcanically formed Canary Islands, Lanzarote’s interior offers arid, almost lunar landscapes of lava fields and craters. A popular tourist attraction is enjoying hot stone barbecues — geothermal energy provides the heat. One of the classic volcano holidays.
Arguably the world’s largest volcano — another candidate is Mauna Kea, in Hawaii — Yellowstone National Park crosses three state lines and is home to grizzly, wolves, bison, elk and more. Dramatic geysers and hot springs, most famously Old Faithful, are evidence of the activity that lies beneath.
Only 20-odd kilometres out of Reykjavik, the Reykjanes peninsula is probably best known for the famous Blue Lagoon, a hot springs spa where you can bathe in warm waters and jump out into the snow. The volcanoes haven’t erupted in a while, but the contrast between the surrounding ice and steaming water makes an amazing winter treat.