1. Lava boarding, Nicaragua
The ultimate challenge for ambitious snowboarders and surfers alike – riding down the still-steaming flanks of an active volcano. You’ll have to hike up 730m-high Cerro Negro first, but the run back down is worth every second.
2. Eruption tours, worldwide
Thanks to advances in vulcanology, experts can pinpoint when volcanoes are going to blow their tops – and that means tour operators can too. A number of companies monitor volcanic activity around the world and specialise in short-notice trips to volatile spots to capture the pyrotechnics in all their splendour.
3. Volcano bungee, Chile
It sounds like something from a James Bond film, but if you’re brave enough, you can jump into the fiery maw of an active volcano in Chile. This death-defying helicopter bungee doesn’t come cheap – it’s part of a US$16,000 package – but you’ll be dishing out the story for decades.
4. Volcanic cooking, Lanzarote
Opening a restaurant on an active volcano sounds like a foolhardy business plan, but El Diablo on the Spanish island of Lanzarote has been a roaring success for years. Located in Timanfaya National Park, the restaurant’s enormous outdoor grill uses the volcano itself to cook meat and fish for its awestruck patrons.
5. Volcano flights, Kamchatka
One of the most volcanically volatile places on the planet, Kamchatka boasts more than 300 volcanoes, with 29 of them still active. Adventure travel company Heritage Expeditions offers day trips flying above them in an ex-Soviet Mi8 helicopter – landing near a handful of the most spectacular sites.
6. Lava boating, New Zealand
At the start of every boat trip out to New Zealand’s White Island, visitors are issued with a hard hat and gas mask – just in case. Located 50km east of the North Island, this smouldering marine volcano is as volatile as it is magnificent.
7. Rumble in the jungle, Vanuatu
Deep in the Pacific Ocean, the tiny island of Tanna in the Vanuatu archipelago is home to the mighty Yasur, one of the world’s most active, and least regulated, volcanoes. Visitors can take 4×4 tours through the island’s jungle and right up to Yasur itself, where you can watch molten rocks shoot out of its belly and land at your feet.
8. Geothermic bathing, Sicily
On Vulcano – one of the Aeolian Islands off Sicily’s northern shore – you can bathe in enormous hot mud baths, created by the island’s smouldering subsoil. The smell of rotten eggs might linger, but the sticky volcanic mud is incredibly comforting, and good for your skin and bones.
– TEXT BY JONATHAN THOMPSON
PHOTOS: 123RF.COM, VOLCANOBOARD.COM FACEBOOK, VOLCANO DISCOVERY FACEBOOK, VISIT SICILY, AIRTIXVANUATU.COM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.