Soak in Thermal Springs: Costa Rica from 12 Hot Volcano Vacations

12 Hot Volcano Vacations

Tabacon Grand Spa

Soak in Thermal Springs: Costa Rica

Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort takes full advantage of the underground Tabacon River, which flows through the magma of the nearby Arenal Volcano before rising to the surface and passing through the resort. These 122ºF waters are mineral-rich and said to relax tense and tired muscles. Guests of the hotel or the spa can sit in the pools or under the waterfalls before having a healthy lunch and enjoying the view of the volcano from one of Tabacon’s restaurants. 

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Cruise to the Smallest Active Volcano in the World: Philippines

The Taal volcano rises from a lake that's situated within the crater of a larger volcano (how meta!) and can be reached only by boat. The Filipino Travel Center organizes the 30-minute ride to the base and a hike up the crater rim. 

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See History Frozen in Time: Italy

Walks of Italy offers an all-day tour of Mt. Vesuvius—the volcano whose eruption destroyed Pompeii in AD 79. You’ll hike to the highest point of the crater and be able to walk down into it, as well. You’ll also see the remains of Pompeii, including what’s left of the main street, The Temple of Apollo, a brothel and several of the city’s theaters. 

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Lava-Roast a Marshmallow: Guatemala

Hire a guide and head to the most visited volcano in Central America. Volcan Pacaya is still active and is located in Pacaya National Park. Whether you are doing a day or overnight trip, be sure to purchase a bag of marshmallows at the base of the mountain. While you must be very careful, with a long stick whittled Boy Scout-style you can make s’mores over a bed of molten lava. 

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Explore Subterranean Lava Tubes: Washington

While many people choose to trek to the summit of Mount Saint Helens, some of the most incredible sights in the area are below ground. Pack a powerful flashlight and a warm jacket (air temp is a constant 42ºF) and make your way over rugged trails through Ape Caves—wide, subterranean caves created by lava flows. The caves take their name from the Mount St. Helens Apes, members of a 1950s outdoors club who first discovered and explored them. To learn more about the excursion, visit the Washington Trails Association.

Haleakala Bike Company

Bike Down a Volcano: Maui, Hawaii

While the Haleakala Bike Company offers numerous tours, the best could be its sunrise special. On this trip, you'll arrive at the 10,023-foot summit of Haleakala an hour before sunrise and watch as the first rays of daylight appear on the horizon—a sight Mark Twain called "the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed."  Afterward, you'll be taken down to 6,500 feet elevation on the side of the volcano, where you'll begin a 23-mile downhill bike tour. 

Tom Pfeiffer/www.volcanodiscovery.com

Photography Tours: Ethiopia

Volcano Discovery leads an incredible trip through this East African country. It includes stops at the active Erta Ale and Dallol volcanoes, among other geothermal attractions. Three days and nights on Erta Ale, overlooking its active lava lake will give you plenty of time to hone your photography skills and snap some incredible pictures of bubbling lava. 

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Eat Volcano Barbecue: Canary Islands

Take a coach tour through Timanfaya National Park’s famous volcanic landscape, full of brick-red cones, craters and cooled lava fields. Then, stop at El Diablo restaurant, where your dinner will be cooked over a volcano-heated barbecue. Wash down the tasty meal with sangria and then enjoy the restaurant’s famous volcano cake, which erupts with showers of fake lava.

Tom Pfeiffer/www.volcanodiscovery.com

Trek or Kayak to Lava Floes: Big Island, Hawaii

One of the most incredible sights in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is found where lava from the 30-year-long Kilauea eruption flows into the sea, sending up huge plumes of white steam as it forms new land. You can hike to this destination or even kayak—that is, if you’re a world-class paddler like these guys.

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Slide Down a Volcano: Chile

Several tour companies offer excursions to the top of the Villarica volcano. While the hike up the snowy slope is strenuous, your rewards are an incredible summit view of nearby lakes and other volcanoes, and a super fun descent. For part of the way, you’ll slide down the icy slopes using your ice axe as a brake (best to nail that skill before you start sliding). 

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Escape the Crowds in the Atacama Desert: Chile

Skip the crowds and connect with the primitive power of a volcano in a remote, barren landscape. This awesome, overlooked spot—suggested by outdoor guru Kraig Becker, who visited in 2011—is encircled by volcanoes, many of which are still active. With so many peaks, the Atacama Desert is perfect for climbers of all levels, as well as non-climbers who want an incredible experience of wilderness solitude. If you plan a trip to the area, make sure to leave plenty of time to adjust to the altitude. The desert floor sits at an elevation of about 8,000 feet, with peaks reaching up to 16,404 feet. 

Bigfoot Hostel

Sled Down a Volcano: Nicaragua

Reach speeds upwards of 50 mph as you hurtle down Cerro Negro on a plywood sled wearing an orange jump suit and goggles. This wild sport was created by Australian duneboarder Darryn Webb, who founded the nearby Bigfoot Hostel.

12 Hot Volcano Vacations