Imagine being within a mouth of a volcano, just swimming around in a lake – wouldn’t that be very amazing?
The huge and violent explosions of two of the most stunning volcanoes in the Philippines – Taal Volcano and Mt. Pinatubo formed crater lakes. And now, who would have known that two volcano crater lakes in the Philippines can become huge tourist spots?
So if you are looking for your next adventurous trip, travel to these volcano crater lakes! Surely, nothing beats the adrenaline rush of conquering two of the most dangerous places in the country.
2 of the Best Volcano Crater Lake Tours in the Philippines
Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake
The Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake is a breathtaking blue-green pool at the summit of the volcano. The massive 1991 eruption caused great destruction that forged the lake. Definitely, getting to the picturesque lake makes the highlight of any Pinatubo trip as it would mean that you have conquered the powerful volcano. However, in order to get there, you have to enjoy other adventures that Mt. Pinatubo itself offers.
How to Get There
- From Manila, you would have to take an air-conditioned charter van going to Sta. Juliana in Capas, Tarlac.
- Also, you can opt to take a Tarlac-bound bus and get off at Capas Public Market.
- Another option is to take any bus going to Ilocos, Baguio or Pangasinan then to get off at the stop at Capas.
- From there you can take a jeep or tricycle to go to Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana. At the place, the tourism office is located from where your actual trip will start.
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Conquering Mt. Pinatubo
At the tourism office, you have to rent a 4 x 4 all terrain vehicle (ATV) and pay an environmental fee. This is required because the ash can be dangerous upon contact.
Also, you have to consult the tourism office if the lake waters are safe at the moment for you to have different activities there. The ATV would take you through a safari-like trip through the amazing and beautiful ash rock formations, canyons and landscapes.
The ride through ash valleys, sharp rock fields will take you to Crow Valley. Also, this rugged trip will take you to lahar beds, Gate of Heaven and other sites. Don’t worry about taking photos – your driver (or guide) will happily let you down for some poses.
Upon arriving at Crow Valley at the foot of the volcano, the 45-minute trek begins. The hike goes for about 2 hours towards the summit of the volcano. You would trek across an exhaustive rugged terrain, with sharp volcanic rocks along the way.
The uphill climb can be very draining of energy, so you have to make sure to physically prepare for what’s coming your way. It is very satisfying however to be one with nature as you take the trek.
at the top, a panoramic reward waits. The spectacular view of the Crater Lake would definitely be worth every ounce of strength to get there.
You would first have to go through a steep climb down. Around you will see amazing eruption-made formations made of ash. So, you will go through bronze-colored streams and creeks which are high in sulfur content. Finally, the uphill climb to the summit.
At the Crater Lake
The view at the summit would be a breathtaking glittering, a blue-green lake of Pinatubo. You have to congratulate yourself for getting there – you’re right at the mouth of a deadly volcano!
These are the following fun activities you can do there:
- Swim your way through the mineral-rich blue-green waters and revel with friends right inside the crater of a volcano!
- Take a dip at their hot springs at Bueno and Dolores Hot Springs
- Take a kayak or a 5-minute boat ride through the lake
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After the tiring trip up the volcano and the lake, a well-deserved rest ensues for the travelers. At the Pinatubo Spa Town back from the volcano, you can have volcanic ash massage or take a dip at the must-try mud pool. Farther from the volcano, within Capas, you can visit Capas Shrine which is a memorial shrine of Filipino American soldiers during the Bataan death march, and Museo de Tarlac.
Taal Volcano Crater Lake
Do you know that there is a small island within Taal Lake?
Inside the volcano, there is a Crater Lake in which a small island called Vulcan Point can be found. Amazing! Well, this is just one of the Taal volcano facts that can wow you aside from the fact that it is considered as the smallest active volcano in the world.
How to Get There
- You can take buses going to Tagaytay, Nasugbu or Balayan from Manila.
- You would then get off at the jeep terminal going to People’s Park and alight at Ligaya Drive.
- From there, take a jeep or tricycle to Talisay, Batangas.
- Once at the town, you need to hire a motor banca to reach Volcano Island, the volcano within the Taal Lake. A banca good for 6 to 8 people will cost you P1500. The boat ride would last for about 15 minutes, which will allow you to soak in the beauty of nature all around you as in a Taal lake tour.
- When you arrive there, the next destination would be the Crater Lake at the top.
Via Tanauan, Batangas, you can take a bus to Lipa or Batangas City. You would have to ask the driver to drop you off at the Tanauan bus stop. From there, take a jeep to Talisay. When you get to the public market, there are available boats to Volcano Island.
Conquering Taal Volcano
Before anything else, you need to register and sign a waiver in an office near the location. The trail that you will take is called Secret or Kalawit Trail. You can either hike by foot or by a horse.
If you are taking the physical challenge yourself, without hiring a guide (because the trail is very easy to follow) it would take you an hour and a half. If by horse, it will cost you P500 and will take you about 30 minutes.
Along the trail, you would see geological wonders everywhere. You would see the rich rock of ash, with hues of orange and red. The forest can also be thick at times. There will be parts that you will be able to have a glimpse of the lake, the smaller craters, and islands as you get higher up the trail.
When you get to the summit, you will reach the viewing deck that overlooks a spectacular view of the lake and the crater. There is the Red Lava Area at the right part of the terrain that is a 10-minute trek away. There is a P50 fee but it’s worth it because the view of the scenery is way better.
At the Crater Lake
Further onto the trail and you will reach the mystical waters of the Crater Lake! The rocks surrounding the lake give shades of red that make them uniquely beautiful. The lake itself is a pool of sulfuric waters but it is encouraged for everyone to take a dip and swim to fully experience Taal.
From a far away vantage point, you could see the very picturesque lake within a volcano within a lake. It will truly make you think twice about how great and wonderful Philippine nature is.
Truly, the site is a beauty. After that long and tedious hike up Volcano Island, you would feel satisfied and rewarded with a wonder of nature.
After exploring Taal, there are many places to go and things to do around the place. Very nearby, to the highlands you have Tagaytay. You may opt to proceed to Tagaytay Ridge where you can enjoy the scenic view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano. You can also go to Tagaytay Picnic Grove, People’s Park In The Sky.
We are blessed with volcanoes in the Philippines and their amazing lakes. Elsewhere in the archipelago, we have Kanlaon Volcano in Biliran and Tamburok Volcano, which you should visit as well after Taal and Mt. Pinatubo experience. Their natural beauty is so unique in that they came from something so destructive and deadly.
More notably, the travel into the mouths of these volcanoes is definitely one for the books as you get to be inside something that is highly potentially dangerous. What a thrill! So make sure to put these destinations on your bucket list and try to conquer these volcanoes.
Planning to visit anytime soon? Or, you have experienced the beauty of these nature already? Don’t forget to share it down below.
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