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Seven Natural Wonders of the World: Parícutin, Mexico

17 December 2020 09:03

Scale the Americas' youngest volcano

Scale the Americas' youngest volcano

Join us for a trip to the Mexican state of Michoacán...

Parícutin at a glance:

  • Formed suddenly in 1943, the 424-meter high (1,391ft) volcano significantly damaged more than 233 square kilometers (90 sq mi) of land
  • Its cloud reached 8km high and left ash as far as 186 miles east
  • Lava hit temperatures of 1,958°F (1,070°C), moving at a speed of 196 feet/minute (60 meters/minute)

What makes Parícutin a natural wonder?

Parícutin began life as a hot mound of soil growing in a farmer's cornfield in 1943. After one day it had risen to 164 feet (50m). A week later it had reached an astonishing 500 feet (150m) high. It was given natural wonder status as humans witnessed its birth. Its - er, volcanic - rise has allowed scientists to study the birth, activity and death of a volcano since it turned dormant in 1952. However, the crater is still hot and can be seen giving off steam to this day when it reacts with rainwater.

Parícutin in film and TV

The 1997 disaster film 'Volcano' was inspired by the formation of Parícutin. Tommy Lee Jones stars as Los Angeles' natural disaster diverter as he attempts to direct lava from an eruption away from the City of Angels. Tower blocks topple and buildings burn to change the LA landscape forever but we'll leave you to find out if Tommy's character lives to tell the tale. There's even a children's novel, 'Hill of Fire' that follows a Parícutin villager as the volcano forms on his father's land.

How can tourists enjoy Parícutin?

Travellers have been hiking Parícutin for decades, including its active years. Today, the dormant volcano shows no signs of erupting and tourists can tread the sandy banks and lava fields surrounding the cinder cone formation on a 12-mile roundtrip. Sights along the way include abandoned village homes and the dramatic church half buried by ash and lava. Some visitors choose to pray and light candles at the altar of this modern-day Pompeii.

What else is there to see and do in Mexico?

Mexico is roughly seven times bigger than the UK and offers city breaks, beach retreats and even one of the New7Wonders of the World at Chicken Itza. If a Mayan archaeological triumph isn't your thing, there's always the option to explore the country's most Instagrammable destinations. The Agua Azul falls in Chiapas cascade over miles collecting in scenic bathing pools along the way. While Las Coloradas in Yucatan is best best-known for its strikingly pink salt lakes.

Travel in Mexico with peace of mind

At World First we provide worldwide travel insurance, so you can venture to volcanos without a care in the world.