pacaya volcano

7 Active Volcanoes in the World to See

Active volcanoes are spread worldwide and offer spectacular sights of what the earth holds underneath – from a safe distance, though. Volcanoes are one of my loft guy’s favorite things: Some mountains blow steam into the sky from the hot magma constantly stewing below, while other active volcanoes explode and eject molten rock as lava. A dormant volcano is still considered active as it still has the potential to erupt as it’s not extinct. Let’s look at seven active volcanoes in the world, to see.

Mount Vesuvius, Naples, Italy
Vesuvius is probably the world’s most famous active volcano, with a brutal history of burying the Roman city of Pompei in 79 AD killing thousands. People refer to it as the most dangerous volcano because of the three million people living in Naples and the 60,000 others living within striking distance. Mount Vesuvius erupted last in 1944, and with an eruption cycle of every 20 years, this sleeping giant standing over 4,200 feet, is long overdue for a blast. Nevertheless, you can join hundreds of tourists who frequent the volcano.

Arenal, Costa Rica
Arenal volcano is known for its aesthetic features, just like Mount Fuji in Japan, but do not let this beautiful force of nature deceive you. The volcano unexpectedly erupted in 1968, having been dormant for centuries, completely levelling the town of Tabacon. The mountain is three hours from Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. Rising at almost 5,400 feet, Arenal is set within a rainforest and a national park. Numerous paths cross lava fields, and visitors can explore and marvel at the extensive flora and numerous fauna inhabiting the rainforest.
Tabacon reawakened as a spa town, utilising the heated spring water from the volcano, and has become a frequented tourist destination.

Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy
Etna is located in Eastern Sicily, with a height of 11,000 feet. It recently erupted in 2017 and is notoriously known for blowing off sporadic volcanic smoke rings. An eruption occurred in 1669, destroying the city of Catania, and so far, Etna’s most fatal eruption ever recorded. Nevertheless, despite the occasional volcanic activity, it’s still possible to hike Etna to an allowable point and back before dusk. Guides offer tours around the smoking crater close to an observatory for a fee. You can also drive, cycle, or take a three-hour train ride around the mountain’s base.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala
Pacaya is among several other volcanoes that constitute the Central American Volcanic Arc and has been active for centuries. The most recent eruption was in August 2021, clouding the Guatemalan capital with ash. It stands 8,400 feet tall, towering over Pacaya National Park. This height makes hiking up the mountain strenuous. Visitors, however, can hike and see the volcano via numerous trails that cross the mountain or choose to go by horse.
 As confirmation that the volcano is still active, visitors can buy marshmallows and roast them in the pools of molten lava along the hiking trail.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala

Mount Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of Congo
Standing over 11,000 feet, Mt. Nyiragongo is among the most active volcanoes in Africa. It erupted in 2002, killing 147 people, and scientists are still closely monitoring it. Nyiragongo sits in Virunga National Park and has one of the largest lava lakes worldwide. Visitors, however, need a paid permit to camp at the summit and bask in the lava glow in the crater.

Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland
At 5,400 feet, Eyjafjallajökull is part of an active and erratic region. It erupted in 2010, affecting most of Europe and leaving thousands of travellers stranded. The mountaintop is covered in glaciers and contributes to the extensive cloud that covers miles for days. Tourists frequent Eyjafjallajökull with helicopters or Jeep tours, while experienced hikers get a priceless view from a ridge nearby.

Villarica, Chile
Villarrica erupted in 2015, producing a spectacular column visible from miles away. Rising to 9,380 feet, Villarica is most scenic because it towers majestically over the eponymous lake, treating locals and tourists to a truly epic portrait. There is a ski resort on a slope North of the volcano you can visit and fly over the mountain.

Final Thoughts
Active volcanoes are a sight to behold from a safe allowed distance. Arrange with local guides to help you hike or tour any of these or the many other active volcanoes in the world. 

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