Terrifying yet truly mesmerising, volcanoes have both fascinated and frightened us for millennia. Fortunately, some bright sparks have taken their love for lava to new extremes, creating a whole host of activities upon this scorched earth that tempt us, more than ever before, to go with the flow.

Horse Riding

You wouldn’t normally expect to take a swimsuit and towel when you book a standard horse riding holiday, but Eld Hestar’s ‘Around the Volcano’ tour in Iceland is anything but ordinary. Over 3 days you’ll cover 70km of Hengill volcano’s lava fields on horseback, trek along the Jórukleif mountain range and explore Iceland’s largest lake – Thingvallavatn. And the swimming costume? That’s for relaxing in the Reykjadalur Valley’s geothermal springs. The ideal cure for any saddle sores!

Boarding

Volcano boarding is not for the faint-hearted. Rushing down the slopes atop a thin wooden board over loose ash and rock is the ultimate thrill seekers adventure. VolcanoBoard organise boarding trips to Cerro Negro in Nicaragua, an active volcano which could erupt at any time. Seismic activity is constantly checked but the knowledge you’re surfing in such an unstable environment adds to the adrenaline rush.

Biking

If the idea of boarding into a volcanic crater seems a bit much, try a cycling tour of Hawaii’s Volcano National Park. Bike Volcano’s tours take you through the park, exploring one of the world’s most active volcanoes – Kilauea. Along the way you’ll see molten lava pouring into the sea, huge volcanic craters, steam vents and the beautiful Hawaiian scenery as you cycle along roads and trails.

Waterfall Rappelling

Costa Rica’s adventure capital also happens to be home to Arenal, the youngest and most active volcano in the area. Erupting daily, it’s drawing visitors from all over the world to the thousands of acres of rainforests nearby which are packed with extreme adventure activities. The most exciting of which is waterfall rappelling, which is basically abseiling down the side of a cliff through waterfalls. Pure Trek run daily tours lasting 3-4 hours and take you down 4 rappels ranging from 45 – 165 feet. A head for heights and love of water is a must!

Lake Swimming

Swim in the USA’s deepest lake, Crater Lake in Oregon, and get extra bragging rights for swimming in a collapsed volcano. Mt Mazama was gradually built by volcanic activity over a period of 400,000 years until 7,700 years ago when a large eruption left the mountain unable to support itself. Now the crater is home to 4.6 trillion gallons of almost pure water, ideal for swimming – there’s a beach accessible from the Cleetwood Cove Trail. With an average snowfall of 44 feet in winter around the crater it might be best to stick to strictly summer dips only!

Hiking

There are hiking tours on volcanoes all over the world which are suitable for a range of fitness and adventure levels. Scale dormant or extinct volcanoes or hike to the highest and safest points of active volcanoes to see the lava flows from years gone by. The ascent of Tenerife’s Mount Teide takes over 6 hours and an overnight stop is recommended before attempting the final climb to the crater. A hike up Italy’s Mount Etna can be completed in an afternoon and takes in solidified lava flows from previous centuries.

Marine Volcanoes

New Zealand’s only active marine volcano has one very handy feature: you can hop off White Island Tours’ luxury ocean cruiser straight into the crater. No climbing or trekking needed. The 2 hour crater tour takes in bubbling mud pits, a steaming acid lake and roaring steam vents. En route there’s also a good chance you’ll see dolphins and plenty of sea birds.

Open Door Helicopter Flights

Flying through the skies of Hawaii in a helicopter with no doors seems exciting enough. Then you realise the pilots at Paradise Helicopters leave the doors behind so that passengers can feel the heat from the molten lava below and the thrill levels crank up a few notches. The 45 minute flight soars over the Rainbow Falls and lush rainforests, leaving plenty of time to cool off and impress your social media followers with some fantastic images of the changing scene below.

IMAGE CREDITS

Featured: Arenal – Justin Jensen

Reykjadalur Hot Springs – Azuaje / Cerro Negro – Pete Backwards / Volcano boarding – Beth and Anth / Rappelling on Arenal – Wilma Compton

Cliff jumping in Crater Lake – Powderruns / Mount Teide – Kaysse / Etna’s crater – Mstyslav Chernov /  Flying over Kilauea – Kenneth Lu