The Pacific Ring of Fire is a well-known destinations for those who are interested in volcanoes and volcano tourism. I’ve been fascinated with Earth Science for the entirety of my adult’ish life, especially volcanoes. Not for the death and destruction, but for the awe-inspiring power and humbling respect for how badass mother nature is.
Volcano tourism is a relatively new niche segment that attracts science professionals, photographers, and adventure seekers to witness mother nature’s big show up close.
Volcano tourism can be divided into four primary reasons why people seek and visit volcanoes.
- Spectacular views: An erupting volcano can be awe-inspiring, with their steep slopes, and rugged terrain. Many tourists are drawn to the natural beauty and uniqueness of volcanoes, especially in the Pacific Ring of Fire.
- Adventure: For many people, visiting a volcano represents an exciting adventure, especially if they can hike up to the summit or explore nearby lava flows. Volcano tourism can offer the thrill of exploring a natural wonder and experiencing the power of nature up close.
- Scientific interest: Volcanoes are fascinating geological phenomena that can offer insights into the workings of the Earth’s crust and the history of our planet. Scientists and students may be drawn for research purposes, which can also attract tourists interested in learning more about geology and the natural world.
- Cultural significance: Some volcanoes are important cultural sites for indigenous peoples and can offer visitors a chance to learn about local history and traditions.
My passion is to explore volcanoes for spectacular views, adventure, scientific interest, and cultural significance. So I set off to explore the world’s volcanoes with the hopes that I’d get to see some action up close.
My destination: The horseshoe-shaped Pacific Ring of Fire, claiming 92% of the world’s most significant eruptions over the past 11,000 years.
My goal: Get up close with the world’s volcanoes and photograph the raw beauty of this planet.
Volcanoes in the Pacific Ring of Fire
Located in the Philippines, Mayon’s 2018 eruptions gave way to a constant stream of lava spilling down the mountainside toward the villages below.
Located in Indonesia, Merapi is one of 35 active volcanoes that has a history of deadly eruptions that have devastated the surrounding Indonesian villages.
Located in Costa Rica, Irazu is an active volcano that has turned into a tourist attraction. Be careful when you visit, it has erupted 23 times since 1723.
Located on the South side of Hawaii’s Big Island, Kilauea’s lava fields are a treacherous hike allows you to get up close to flowing lava.
Located in Bali, Indonesia, Batur is known for collapsing 24,000 years ago and creating what is now known as Lake Batur.
Volcano tourism safety
The December 2019 eruption of New Zealand’s Whakaari/White Island volcano highlights how dangerous Volcano Tourism can be. Even a sleeping volcano can abruptly (and violently) awaken without warning.
Volcano tourism can be an exciting and unforgettable experience, but it’s important to remember that volcanic activity can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Here are some tips to safely enjoy volcano tourism:
- Research the volcano: Before visiting, research its history, recent activity, and any warnings or alerts issued by local authorities. This information will help you understand the potential risks and plan your trip accordingly.
- Choose a reputable tour operator: Select a tour operator with a good reputation and a focus on safety. Ensure the operator is licensed, experienced, and follows all safety protocols. Solo hiking is not recommended for beginners.
- Follow instructions from local authorities and guides: When visiting a volcano, it’s essential to follow the instructions of local authorities and guides. Stay on designated paths, avoid restricted areas, and be aware of warning signs and signals.
- Wear appropriate clothing and gear: Dress in layers and wear comfortable, sturdy shoes with good traction. Bring sunscreen, mosquito repellant, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. If the volcano is actively erupting, bring a mask that can filter particulate and hazardous gasses. Bring plenty of water, snacks, and a first aid kit.
- Be prepared for emergencies: Make sure you have a plan in case of an emergency, such as a sudden eruption or earthquake. Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and emergency procedures, and bring a fully charged mobile phone.
Volcano tourism can be risky, and it’s essential to prioritize your safety and the safety of others. By following these tips and taking precautions, you can have an enjoyable and safe volcano tourism experience.