Paricutín could be described as Mexico’s version of Pompeii although on a much smaller scale. Think village instead of city. In February of 1943 a farmer ploughing his field was confronted with smoke coming out of a mound in the soil. He fled and soon after a volcano rose out of the ground. Within a year it reached 1,200 feet. The lava it spewed engulfed two villages. In February of 1952 the lava stopped flowing but not before covering a 10-mile radius.
Today the dramatic remains of a cathedral jut out of craggy moonscape of black lava. The altar of the church managed to survive and can be reached by carefully climbing over and between steep mounds of molten rock.
To reach Paricutín, located in the state of Michoacan, you must travel first to the rustic pueblo Angahuan which is an hour’s bus ride from Urupan. From there it is about a pleasant one-hour walk (less depending on your stride) through a pine forest. When entering the town tour guides offering rides to the site on horseback, if you prefer not to walk, will approach you.