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 424m. 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.
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.
To get to Paricutin is no easy task, but a task worth the effort as the above photo shows. You can get to Uruapan by;
- Find a cheap flight to Uruapan
- Find a bus to Uruapan
- Day trip direct to Paricutin from Morelia (skip Uruapan)
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 (maps.me comes in handy here). Once you get off the bus, walk towards the village and you’ll be approached about a horse ride to Paricutin. The price will 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.
The walk up the volcano is quite strenuous as you are walking on ash, it’s similar to walking on sand the way the path keeps giving way. You’ll be quite tired when you reach the top but as 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!
This crater is smoking! You’ll pass many areas with lots of steam 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?
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. You must descend as quickly as possible to give yourself the maximum amount of enjoyment!
When returning 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 are free to walk around the old village, which is now lava, so it’s perfect for photography.
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.
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