Trending Now

http://www.theactivetimes.com

12 Hot New Volcano Vacations

By Megan Taylor Morrison
August 31, 2013; 6:37 AM ET

There's something inherently fascinating about volcanoes. At times, these vents in the earth's crust spew molten rock, ash and hot gases thousands of feet in the air in one of Mother Nature's most incredible displays of power.

While these natural features can destroy surrounding cities in one terrifying eruption, they can just as easily boost an area's economy through the growing field of volcano tourism. After all, when volcanoes are less active or dormant, they still have a serious draw (just look at Iceland!).

Tourists can see huge clouds of steam form as rivers of lava flow into the cool Pacific Ocean; soak in healing springs whose waters were heated in the bowels of a volcano; explore underground lava tubes; or hike to the top of the caldera for the best view of the surrounding landscape.

Related Links:

12 Fitness-Friendly Hotel Chains

Surprisingly Spectacular City Beaches

The Best Adventure Vehicles of 2013

12 Incredible Places for Luxury Camping

And while volcanoes have claimed thousands of lives in the past, thanks to technology designed to predict volcanic activity and increased attention to planning in case of an eruption, visiting these natural features is now safer than ever.

Still, make sure to follow your tour guide's precautions on the trip and to be aware of local safety guidelines. When rules seem lax (hello-roasting marshmallows over an open lava bed?), use your best judgment. This way, you can make the most of your volcano vacation.

Click here to see some of the coolest volcano vacations around the world.

Credit: 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.

Credit: Tom Pfeiffer/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.

Credit: Tom Pfeiffer/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.

Continue Reading on TheActiveTimes.com >