If, like most of the Latin America team at Steppes Travel, you’ve been mesmerised by Kate Humble and Iain Stewart (Volcano Live – BBC2) fawning over the untamed natural magnificence of active volcanoes this week, then why not put yourself in the picture and book a jaunt to Central America, a hotspot for volcanic activity.
Colliding tectonic plates on the Pacific Rim have created a chain of volcanoes from Mexico to Panama. The aptly named Fuego, overlooking Antigua City in Guatemala, is currently one of the liveliest, regularly treating city residents to firework displays of lava fountaining, ash plumes and pyroclastic flows, while Popocatepetl, outside of Mexico City, continues to petulantly grumble and puff out low level gas emissions.
Costa Rica is littered with volcanoes in varying stages of activity. Famous Arenal volcano is currently slumbering but Irazu and Poas are taking over the title of being the most testy. Neighbouring Nicaragua has a beautiful landscape, shaped by thousands of years of volcanic activity. Cerro Negro is possibly the youngest volcano in Central America, formed around 1850 and most recently erupting in 1999. Today you can hike to the top to view its steaming caldera before running or sand-skiing down the loose pumice and volcanic sand slopes. Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua is one of the region’s most picturesque spots with views dominated by active Conception volcano and dormant Maderas. You can also hike to a viewing point to peer into the glowing bowels of magnificent Masaya volcano.
Most volcanoes in Central America can be visited and viewed up close. Baru, Panama’s dormant giant is an amazing spot for hiking through different forest types and past wildlife that flourishes on the rich volcanic soils. Many of the more active cones can also be climbed and peered into to fully appreciate the sights and overpowering smells of these amazing geological formations.
For more information Central America’s volcanic hot-spots call John on 01285 885 333.
Please remember that current levels of activity and local conditions should always be considered when planning your trip and visits should always be made with a certified local guide, who will ensure your safety and well being.