How to visit Paricutin Volcano on a day trip from Uruapan, Mexico

How to visit Paricutin Volcano, Michoacan on a day trip from Uruapan. Paracutin volcano is the youngest volcano in the world and one of the seven wonders of the world.

What to see and photograph on a day trip to Paricutin Volcano

Paricutin is the youngest volcano in the world, located in Michoacán, Mexico.  It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  Paricutin offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;

  • Paricutin volcano (the youngest volcano in the world)
  • Ruins of the San Juan Parangaricutiro church
  • Horse ride to the volcano
  • Angahuan village (a small indian town)
  • Uruapan city

In 1943 a farmer was working in his fields when he felt a rumbling coming from nearby.  The nearby ground had opened up and lava was seeping out.  Throughout the following 11 years this new volcano was continuously erupting  and growing until it finally reached a height of 424 m. During this eruption period, the nearby town of Nuevo San Juan Parangaricutiro was completely destroyed and covered in lava.  This new volcano became Paricutin volcano, the youngest volcano on earth.

How to get to Paricutin from Uruapan

To get to Paricutin is no easy task, but a task worth the effort to see a natural wonder of the world.  You must first travel to Uruapan, different options are available;

Where to stay in Uruapan

I stayed in the oldest hotel in Uruapan, Hotel Mi Solar for 2 nights which was perfect.  There are quite a few hotels in Uruapan if Mi Solar doesn’t suite your needs.


How to get to Paricutin Volcano from Uruapan

Paricutin Volcano, Mexico

From Uruapan, you can walk from the historic center to the main highway.  From the highway, you’ll find buses which leave regularly to Los Reyes.  This is the bus you need to take and tell the driver to stop at Angahuan village.  Once you get off the bus, walk towards the village.  As you’re walking into the village you’ll be approached about a horse ride to Paricutin.  The price should be 300 pesos per horse and you must pay for the guides horse.   Be sure to stop off in town for some food before starting out as it’s a 2 hour horse ride to the base of the volcano.

Because Paricutin is only accessible by horseback, it’s likely you’ll be the only one at the site!  For a traveler and photographer, there’s nothing better than being alone at a natural wonder of the world.

Hiking to the top of Paricutin Volcano

Paricutin crater

The walk up the volcano is quite strenuous.  As you’re walking on ash which is similar to walking on sand, the path keeps giving way.  You’ll be quite tired when you reach the top.  If you brought some food and drink with you, you’ll be able to regain some energy before exploring around the crater.  Are there any fans of Twinkies here?  In Mexico you’ll find Submarinos which are very similar, I had a packet of these to help regain my energy after reaching the top!

Paricutin Crater

The crater of Paricutin Volcano

This crater is smoking!  You’ll pass many hot areas with steam seeping out but don’t worry it’s an extinct volcano.  You can actually walk down into the base of the crater, there’s a path you can take.  Whilst walking down the crater you’ll probably be thinking to yourself, if this volcano is extinct why is it steaming?  In additional you can walk around the edge of the crater (above).


Descending Paricutin Volcano

hiking the descent of Paricutin Volcano

If going up the volcano is strenuous, then coming down it is fun.  There is a technique to descending a volcano.  You must lean backwards whilst taking large steps sinking into the ash.  Descending as quickly as possible will give yourself the maximum amount of enjoyment!

San Juan Parangaricutiro Church and Village

The church of Paricutin volcano, San Juan Parangaricutiro church

There is an interesting stop on the return to Angahuan village.  You’ll stop at the ruins of the San Juan Parangaricutiro church and village.  During the 9 year volcanic eruption from 1943 to 1952 the village of Nuevo San Juan Parangaricutiro was completely destroyed.  The church is the only building which is still visible above the lava.  It’s quite fitting that the church survived the eruption.  You’re free to walk around the old village, which is now lava, so it’s perfect for photography.

Enjoy your visit to Paricutin Volcano

The guide will take you back to Angahuan village where you can easily find a bus back to Uruapan.  That’s how you visit the natural wonder of the world, Paricutin volcano.

How to visit Guadalajara, Jalisco.  How to visit Mount Vesuvius on a day trip from Naples, Italy.

2018-08-19T11:28:40+00:00January 2nd, 2017|Mexico, North America|56 Comments

56 Comments

  1. Angie January 7, 2017 at 12:13 am - Reply

    Oh wow, this is such a fantastic story, I love the intro and history of how this volcano erupted! What a fascinating place to visit, I will need to get over my fear of travelling on horseback (don’t ask, it’s a ridiculous fear and I so need to get over myself lol) because I truly would love to do this – to be so remote and see something like this is a travellers dream. Thank you so much for sharing this place with us, I have pinned it for future reference. #feetdotravel

    • James Smith January 7, 2017 at 9:42 am - Reply

      It gets pretty painful, 2 hours on the horse!

  2. Garth January 7, 2017 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    What an amazing place to visit! the ruins of that church looks very eerie jutting out of the lava. Enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing.

  3. Barry January 7, 2017 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Great story. I love taking trips like this when I travelling. The volcano looks hard going but worth the long walk. The Church is intriguing also, almost like something out of a film.

  4. Lisa January 8, 2017 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Love that you get to do this on horseback so that’s the next best thing to hiking. Great that it’s off the beaten path and no tourists, too cool! Amazing, the church survived the eruption kind of strange for sure. Would love to visit this, so thanks for sharing.

  5. Travel Lexx January 9, 2017 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Fantastic trip – I have never even heard about this volcano and the fact that you can ride a horse to the base is awesome! Thanks for sharing

  6. Rob January 11, 2017 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    What a great “hidden gem”! The image of the church spire rising out of the lava is very cool…and a little bit spooky. Great shot – and great tip for someplace very different to go!

  7. Laura January 11, 2017 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Wow, James, this looks like an incredible trip! Thanks for the details, I’m definitely saving this for future trip planning. Do you plan to hit all seven natural wonders?

    • James Smith January 11, 2017 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Yes, I am. I have seen Paricutin, Rio Harbor, Mt Everest and the Grand Canyon. I am just missing Victoria Falls, the Northern Lights and the Great Barrier Reef. The lights didn’t come out when I was in Alaska.

      • Barbara April 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm - Reply

        Doing Paractin next week.Have done Vic Falls and Barrier Reef….. you’ll love!!!!! Now I’m down to Rio and Everest!!!!

        • James Smith April 19, 2017 at 2:49 am - Reply

          That will leave only the Northern Lights and Grand Canyon then you’ll have seen all seven natural wonders of the world! I’m missing Victoria Falls and the Great Barrier Reef, the two you’ve seen.

  8. Carmen Baguio January 11, 2017 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    What an exciting place to visit. I had never heard about it! I love riding horses, so that would probably be my favorite part of the trip!

  9. Sam January 13, 2017 at 12:18 am - Reply

    This looks like a fantastic trip and love it is so remote, that only someone with sheer determination can make the trip. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  10. Midori January 13, 2017 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Very beutiful! II’ve been to Stromboli, and is also an amazing vulcano

  11. Raymond Carroll January 15, 2017 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    What an interesting post, James. Hard to believe that that volcano only came about in 1943 and already it stands at 424m. I’ve been in Mexico twice – Tijuana, when I was working in California. It was just a mad piss-up session back then, but I’ve always wanted to see the real mexico. Nice post – you learn something new everyday…

  12. ThriftyTrails January 16, 2017 at 2:24 am - Reply

    “Descend as quickly as possible”. That’s exactly what happens when I go downhill. I let gravity do it’s thing, I just try not to fall. Great post!

  13. David January 16, 2017 at 11:30 am - Reply

    So cool! I’d love to check out this part of Mexico and get up close to Paricutin like you did. Great tips and I’ll be sure to check this again when I next go to Mexico.

  14. Fiona Mai January 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    I really like your photos and the way you describe this trip! One question I have: Do you know if there’s any organised tour to this place? I’m a solo traveller but I don’t know how to ride a horse and have never visited a volcano before, so it’ll be better for me to go with a guide I think.

    • James Smith January 16, 2017 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      I day trip is possible from Morelia. I have a link in the blog just below me sat on the horse arriving at the volcano.

  15. Clare January 17, 2017 at 1:42 am - Reply

    It looks like a great place to visit. I had never heard of this place when I was in Mexico. It must have been really interesting to see the volcano growing though not great if you lived in the village that was destroyed.

  16. Brian January 18, 2017 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Never heard of submarinos. I’ve walked on ash in Hawaii, but it was a short walk. Learned some new things about Mexico from this post.

  17. Lydia@LifeUntraveled January 18, 2017 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Love this! There’s just something so mystical about volcanoes and hiking on one gives such a thrill. Only thing is that I don’t fancy horses…..:)

  18. Sarah January 30, 2017 at 9:22 am - Reply

    This reminds me of Taal Volcano of the Philippines! It has a crater and a lake enclosed within. Plus, it’s also a strenuous hike, but absolutely rewarding! I believe this kind of gems are worth the trip!

  19. Cycloscope - Adventure Cycling January 30, 2017 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Very good post, good structure and great pictures!

  20. Maria January 30, 2017 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Great guide! The views are spectacular. Being alone with nature is the best way to spend time and find yourself.

  21. NISHCHAL DUA January 31, 2017 at 5:38 am - Reply

    Adding the map was a master move 😀

  22. Danijela WorldGlimpses January 31, 2017 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Such an interesting trip. I can imagine how exhausting that walk to the top can get, congrats for the endurance. 😉 But, that’s why you have a nice post now and a great experience! 🙂

  23. Lena from fouronworldtrip January 31, 2017 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Thank you for posting this! We are planning to include Mexico to our World Trip next year. While we are not entirely sure yet were to stay, your post helps a lot, because our little one is absolutely crazy about volcanos and I am sure he would love to go there!

  24. davide utravelshare February 1, 2017 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Wonderful experience and really interesting read!! I love your picture while walking over the caldera, it was not dangerous?! Anyway I have got a similar experiences during our trip in: Philippines, Lombok, Ecuador, Peru; the best one was in Lombok,Indonesia, climbing Gunung Rinjani in 3 days trek, wonderful experience! Anyway I have been to Taal Volcano, Philippines, the smallest active volcano in the world!! Thanks for sharing your experience, great pics too 😀

  25. Mike February 2, 2017 at 12:39 am - Reply

    Its so interesting that volcanoes are still forming to this day. I’d never thought of visiting the youngest volcano but now I’m really curious. I think the horse ride there would be a great way to see the scenery too!

  26. Jim February 3, 2017 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your web site!

  27. Sarah I February 4, 2017 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Wow! This looks amazing I had never heard of Paricutin before but I really want to visit it now! I love that it is off the beaten track and isn’t crowded with tourists.

  28. Emily February 5, 2017 at 9:24 am - Reply

    Very cool place to visit! I remember hearing about the story of the farmer and the volcano but didn’t know where it was. Is it really extinct or just dormant? The church in the lava must be quite an eerie sight.

  29. Archana March 8, 2017 at 8:37 am - Reply

    Wow! I am planning to visit Mexico soon. And this is just in time. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Agness of Fit Travelling March 9, 2017 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Mexico seems amazing, James! The Paricutin Volcano is so magical!

  31. Rhiannon March 9, 2017 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    The 7 Natural Wonders are one of my next goals I think, so another trip to Mexico may just be on the cards! Although me and volcanoes do have a bit of a tempestuous history- a failed attempt at climbing one in Peru and a kind of successful attempt in Guatemala where I thought my lungs were about to collapse. Walking on ash is so much effort!!! It’s the best when you get such beautiful scenery all to yourself!

  32. Ash March 9, 2017 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the bit of history on how the volcano came into existence. Definitely an exciting horseback adventure and having the volcano to yourself. It surely brought out the little boy in you going to the top and descending from it.

  33. Gareth March 10, 2017 at 1:50 am - Reply

    wonderful post and a quite spectacular setting. Indeed, I’m glad you said that Paricutin is only accessible by horse as, not only does it add to the natural and ancient feel of the place, it also is enough to stop the site being overrun with tourists which has sadly happened to quite a few volcanos throughout Latin America. The site of the church still standing amid the lava is a really humbling sight while your advice on how to go up and down the volcano will hopefully spare some people a few very nasty falls! Although I must admit, like you, I’d be a bit cautious of an apparently extinct volcano steaming!

  34. Jennifer March 10, 2017 at 2:38 am - Reply

    It’s one of my dreams to visit an active volcano. This one is stunning! The scenery and remoteness is exactly what I look for in a trek. I can’t wait to get back to Mexico now!

  35. Jenn and Ed Coleman March 10, 2017 at 2:39 am - Reply

    I love the ruins of the church. It totally reminds me of West World. The maze is not for you. I wonder how Jenn’s knees would hold up descending a volcano and riding a horse for two hours. Isn’t it mind boggling that you can be at one of the seven natural wonders of the world and have the whole place to yourself. Outstanding

  36. Tracy March 10, 2017 at 7:59 am - Reply

    I heard that trekking on the ground full of volcanic ash will be like few steps up and down few steps. I’ve never trekked in such terrain before but I would like to try one day, it must be really challenging. Btw, how long did you take to reach the crater from the base?

  37. sophie March 10, 2017 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Great piece! would love to experience such adventure someday, I have done many travel adventures before but what you have mentioned here is might be out of my scope. lol I do get scared of it. Still I would love to give it a shot someday. Cheers.

  38. Riely March 10, 2017 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    An amazing experience to get to explore this volcano without loads of tourists. I am sure after two hours on a horse you would be extremely sore and then the hike to follow! Love your photo of the still erected church in the lava filled village. What a beautiful sight!

  39. Katie March 11, 2017 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Wow what an incredible experience! I have never been to a volcano but would love to visit one, especially one so quiet and not surrounded by tourists! just amazing!

  40. corburterilio May 11, 2017 at 2:52 am - Reply

    Your information on Paricutin volcano is valuable to me. Thanks!…

  41. Lisa August 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Now this looks like an excellent place to visit! I learned so much about Paricutin from reading your post. I travelled to Mexico, but nowhere near as authentic as this. I’d love to recreate this journey myself one day!

  42. Alexander Popkov October 4, 2017 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Always wanted to visit a volcano. Maybe this could be the first one. And no tourists… This emptiness makes it surreal. I can’t believe it’s a natural wonder of the world and you had it all to yourself!

  43. fouronaworldtrip@gmail.com October 4, 2017 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    but you did not travel there by land, did you? I mean to Mexico!?

    • James Smith October 5, 2017 at 6:42 am - Reply

      Yes, I traveled through south and central America before heading to the USA and Canada.

  44. David December 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Hi James, a great blog and just what I’m looking for. I saw about this volcano on BBC4 recently and as I’m going to be in Mexico in January I thought I might pay it a visit. I am thinking either of staying in Uruapan one night, the following morning going to Paricutin and ascending the volcano, and then on to Morelia later in the day or perhaps just basing myself only in Morelia and doing Paricutin as a day trip from there.

    Allowing for bus connections, how long a day trip do you think that would be from Morelia? As I’ll definitely be staying in Morelia for a few days in any case. If it’s no great hardship to do it as a day trip I’d probably go for that option. I’d be going to Uruapan only to facilitate visiting the volcano.

    • James Smith December 13, 2017 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      Hi David, you should definitely make a visit when you’re in the area. I’d recommend staying overnight in Uruapan and taking the bus into Angahuan village as early as possible. When you arrive in Angahuan village there should be some guides there with horses. If you did it from Morelia it would be a very long day. A way to do it direct from Morelia would be through Morelianas.com They have live chat on their website so might be able to help with an organised tour on one of the days you are there.

      • David December 14, 2017 at 7:46 am - Reply

        Thanks James, I will definitely take your advice. I read in the Lonely Planet that there’s also some pretty cheap accommodation in Angahuan, did you see any there? I guess if I can stay there then so much the better in terms of getting an early start the next day.

        • James Smith December 14, 2017 at 8:35 am - Reply

          Staying in Angahuan sounds like a good idea. Wherever you stay there, they should be able to organize a guide for you the following morning.

          • David July 3, 2018 at 8:13 am

            Hi James, took me 6 months to reply but I made it to Angahuan and Paricutín volcano in January. I got a bus from Mexico City to Uruapan, then a local service to Angahuan. On that bus a guy sat next to me and said he was a guide and did I want to hike the volcano the next day? So he found me accommodation in Angahuan, very near the start of the trail, for 180 peso for the night. It was freezing cold there but the accommodation was fine, and had a restaurant attached. At about 7am the following morning the guide called and we set off over the lava field to the volcano. This was the hardest bit, lots of scrambling over lava, really uneven and frustrating. The guide seemed to get a bit lost at times. The final ascent was pretty intense but fortunately quite short. I agree with you, the most fun part is the descent, very satisfying. We set off about 7am and I think I was back at my accommodation around 1pm, but we did hitchhike some of the way back after visiting the church, so without that it would have taken about an hour longer I think . I was able to get a bus back to Morelia (via Uruapan) for the evening where I had a hostel booked. I really enjoyed this trip and would recommend it. Thanks James for your informative blog, really helped me get on my way. I posted some photos of Paricutín on my Flickr album – it was a 5 month trip so plenty of other pics beside 🙂

          • James Smith July 5, 2018 at 2:37 pm

            Hi David, it sounds like everything worked out perfectly for you. It looks like you had the volcano all to yourself too, good to see it again in your pics! I had a look at your other pics too and Masaya Volcano at night looks amazing, as do the salt mines.

  45. David July 11, 2018 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Hi James, yes I am pretty sure we were the only people on the volcano at that time. There were a few people in and around the church, but mostly it was quiet. It really did go like clockwork.
    Masaya volcano is very impressive, but a completely different setup – i went on a tour but if you go by car it would be the same – they let a group of 20 or so cars/vans up to the viewing area and you get about 20 minutes to look down at the volcano. Then somebody blows a whistle and you are out of there 🙂
    My favourite volcanoes on that trip were Paricutín, Acatenango in Guatemala and Santa Ana in El Salvador. Acatenango was hard work and not for the faint hearted but undeniably beautiful. Santa Ana was much easier because you get driven most of the way, it’s a nice easy hike for the final ascent. The local Purepecha people in Paricutín were super nice and friendly, and it really is a unique experience.

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