Exploring a volcano might not be everyone's idea of a good time while vacationing in the Caribbean islands, but it sure is a thrilling experience. With the landscape set for dramatics as most volcanic landscapes are, there are some Caribbean islands that offer the chance to see one of these mega geological wonders up close and personal.
Thanks to hefty activity by the Caribbean and South America's tectonic plates, volcanic activity has been present dating as far back as 50 million years. And today, visitors can explore some of the volcanoes that surfaced as a result of that. Not all of the volcanoes in the Caribbean are active but that doesn't mean exploring them isn't exciting; alternatively, some of them have erupted as recently as sometime during the last two decades. If a volcanic adventure is what you're looking for then these islands are open for adventure.
St. Kitts: Mount Liamuiga
St. Kitts is a beautiful island that's just to the northwest of Nevis and just below Anguilla. Its positioning puts it almost directly in the center of the Caribbean islands, and Mount Liamuiga is its dormant volcano. With much of the island terrain consisting of dense, lush greenery, visitors can expect much of the same during this trek up the mountain.
At the summit, the elevation is 3,792 feet, and the hike itself is not for those who are inexperienced with inclines. What makes the hike so worth it are the views through the jungle and then, finally, at the summit - with a sweeping panorama of the surrounding ocean vistas and towns below, you'll likely forget that you're standing on top of a volcano.
Nevis: Nevis Peak
Nevis is a mere jump and a skip across the water from St. Kitts and it's here that Nevis Peak sits. From the Google Map view, this entire island takes on the shape of what could be presumed as a volcano - and that guestimation would not be entirely incorrect.
As opposed to Mount Liaguima, Nevis Peak is a potentially active volcano. While it hasn't erupted for thousands of years, according to All At Sea, hiking it still carries with it a certain risk level. The peak tops out at 3,232 feet, which is still a great height for those who fear them.
Montserrat: Chances Peak
The only way to safely see Chances Peak is through a guided tour due to the fact that its last eruption was fairly recent in 1995. The volcano that erupted at Chances Peak, specifically, was Soufriere Hills, and outside of guided tours, it's an exclusion zone. The peak sits at a height of 3,000 feet and though it's considered fairly dormant, signs of its volcanic landscape are all around.
In order to start the tour, visitors must first visit the Montserrat Volcano Observatory; this is where they'll have the chance to learn all about the surrounding environment and the volcano itself. This is also where scientists are able to monitor the volcano for any potential activity (which should be somewhat of reassurance to those who are hesitant). Additionally, visitors are expected to watch a short video about the eruption that did occur back in 1995.
Martinique: Mount Pelee
Mount Pelee is no joke for those who are inexperienced hikers and is the tallest volcano on the list, with its summit at a height of 4,577 feet. Those who have never been to Martinique may still know this volcano based on its reputation, which skyrocketed after it erupted in 1902 and destroyed the city of Saint-Pierre below.
While the volcano can be hiked - and fairly easily in terms of direction thanks to blazes that lead the way - it's not entirely inactive. Some seismic activity is still registered every now and then, but the volcano itself is monitored closely for anything that could be concerning. At the top, it's pretty easy to forget that you're standing on top of an active volcano due to the full panoramic view that awaits you. Pro tip: don't hike the volcano on an overcast day because all you'll see are clouds.
St. Lucia: Sulfur Springs
Out of all the volcanos in the Caribbean, Sulfur Springs is probably one of the easiest to get to - so easy that travelers won't even need to leave their cars!
The Soufriere volcano has a road that takes visitors straight through its crater, and while it might smell like rotten eggs the entire time, how many people can say they drove through what was once an active cone? Walking tours are also an option for those who opt not to have the smell permeate their vehicles, and it's worth it to scope out the otherworldly surroundings.