Also known as Parķutin volcano, this natural structure earned its status as one of the seven wonders of the natural world due to the speed at which it formed itself. Over just nine years it grew to the height of 3170 meters and farmers who lived and worked in the nearby area at the start of its growth said that they could see the difference in its formation from going to bed at night and waking up in the morning.
Paricutin volcano is located in Michoacan state, Mexico, where it began to form in 1943. It’s this recent formation that makes it totally unique from other volcanoes on earth, as it is the only one to have been seen from it’s very beginning by human eyes. It has remained dormant since 1952 when it stopped erupting after its initial formation. It has claimed three lives, but only due to lightening strikes during the eruption.
Although Michoacan, Mexico is an area that lies on volcanic land, it still came as a shock to the farmer Dionisio Pulido who owned the fields that Paricutin Volcano was formed in. It would be hard for any person to be shocked when the ground beneath them begins to part and grow several feet into the air! Obviously today his land can no longer be used for farming purposes, but it is a strong tourist draw instead, with many tourists and volcanic enthusiasts coming to see this very young natural wonder.
Dionisio Pulido was tending to his crops in the fields that he owned on February 20th, 1943 when he saw that the ground in front of him had opened into a fissure. Without time to investigate he said that there was thunder, followed by the ground being raised by almost 8 feet into the air. It was then that he fled, obviously aware that something significant was happening below his fields.
What was happening was the formation of one of the world’s youngest volcanoes. Over the next two days the volcano grew an incredible 150 feet and then continued to erupt frequently over the next eight years. It was forming along what is known as the ‘Mexican Volcanic Belt'; an area of high volcanic activity stretching 700 miles across the south of the country. Perhaps for this reason it shouldn’t have come as such a shock to Dionisio, but the fact that only one other volcano had formed since the mid 18th century, this occurrence was agreed by scientists and geologists to be extremely rare.
The formation of Paracutin and other volcanoes in this area has, in turn, made the farming soil far more fertile and even though volcanoes may be dangerous, Michoacan is more populated than it has ever been before.
How to Get There:
Uruapan airport is the closest airport to the Paricutin volcano to its western side, but General Francisco J. Mujica International airport is not far away either and is on the east of the volcano. You can fly to either of these from most major European and American airports and from there may wish to take a train or taxi closer to the volcano and further into the state of Michoacan.
The easiest way to visit the volcano itself is to hike, as the area is highly populated and there are no major highways leading to it. The terrain here can be steep, but it is grassy and fertile so specialist gear is not necessarily needed.
Where to Stay:
Uruapan is the nearest city to Paricutin volcano, so this is likely to be the best area to find accommodation. Prices start at as little as $65 to $94 USD per night at three-star Hotel Mi Solar, or up to $111 in Mansion del Cupatitzio. Hotel Concordia is perhaps the cheapest in the area with rooms starting at just $40 per night.
There are two wonderful luxury hotels right near Paricutin volcano itself, however, and these are five star Mision del Sol Resort and Spa (starting at $303 per night) and five star Villa Montana hotel and spa (starting at $262 per night).