Some people like kicking back on a beach for vacation. Some people like visiting museums and getting a dose of culture. But some people like their vacations with a side of thrills. For those kind of ‘DREAMers, the obvious option is the boring option. They like skydiving, bungee jumping, paragliding, anything with a dash of danger; you won’t catch them halfway up the Eiffel Tower unless they’re planning to abseil down it (a practice not at all advised or endorsed)! For these kinds of thrill-seekers, there are plenty of amazing places to visit along the volatile earthquake and volcano hotbed known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.
The Ring of Fire encompasses the Pacific Ocean, snaking through a large number of countries as it does. Around 90% of the planet’s earthquakes and 75% of its volcano eruptions occur on the Ring; it’s the site of consistent seismic and tectonic activity, which has caused an untold amount of destruction throughout the years. Despite this, you might be surprised to learn that some of the world’s most vibrant and industrious cities are situated along the Ring, and every one of them should be on your travel bucket list. Check out BUCKiTDREAM to see if any other ‘DREAMers have attempted to run the whole Ring gauntlet, then get your hard hat on and your BUCKiTDREAM planner ready as we take you through four disaster hotspots along the Pacific Ring of Fire!
Tokyo, Japan The Land of the Rising Sun has a long and varied history when it comes to natural disasters; for the natives, they are simply a part of life. Earthquakes happen all the time, but the country is well equipped for them, utilizing building regulations and meticulously rehearsed drills. Tokyo is currently bracing itself for a major earthquake; the last catastrophic one was in 1923, and experts say another one is close at hand. That shouldn’t stop you visiting this wonderful city, however. There’s so much to discover in this neon metropolis, and it consistently ranks as one of the best cities in the world. In fact, Tokyo is more like eight small cities bunched together in one ultimate metropolis. If you’re planning to hike up Mount Fuji, located a couple of hours’ drive from the capital, remember that it is technically an active volcano, and could blow any day. But don’t let that stop you!
San Francisco, America You wouldn’t necessarily associate one of America’s number one tourist cities with imminent natural peril, but San Francisco is located smack-bang in the middle of the Ring of Fire, marking it as a potential (and inevitable) disaster hotspot. San Fran suffers a string of minor earthquakes every year, but they’re nothing to worry about; the last major one occurred way, way back in 1906, and took 80% of the city with it. Despite the proverbial Sword of Damocles hanging over the city’s head, the atmosphere in sunny San Fran is relaxed, positive, and altogether welcoming; a visit there is sure to be a rewarding one. Take a ramble along the pleasure pier district of Fisherman’s Wharf, sail off for a tour of Alcatraz, or catch a ride on one of the quaint vintage cable cars that meander through the city’s downtown area. Or, if you’re the active sort, rent a bike and take a cycle over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Wellington, New Zealand For a little country, New Zealand has suffered its fair share of disasters, all at the hands of the Ring of Fire; unfortunately, the entire country is enveloped by it. In 2016, a devastating magnitude 7.3 earthquake rocked Kaikoura, though there were only two fatalities. Like Japan, the threat of earthquakes is just a part of daily life for New Zealanders; they don’t let a bit of shaking stop them from enjoying their beautiful country, and you shouldn’t either! Wellington is the capital of NZ, but because the country’s relatively small, you can cover a good bit of ground if you base yourself there. The country is full of scenic wonders, so getting out and about should be your top priority. There are plenty of mountains to be hiked, caves to be explored, and beaches to be traversed. It’s the perfect destination for active, outdoorsy ‘DREAMers!
Mexico City, Mexico The entire West Coasts of North and South America are smothered by the Ring of Fire, with cities up and down the continents embattled by earthquakes. Mexico is no stranger to these natural anomalies; just a few of months ago it was struck by a magnitude 7.1 quake, which decimated buildings throughout Mexico City. However, don’t let that put you off going there – it’s all part of the fun. Mexico City is one of the most vibrant places in the world, rich with culture, heritage, and atmosphere. There’s plenty to do and see in this vast urban metropolis, and the weather’s not half bad either!
If you’re feeling daring, make sure to document your visit to the Pacific Ring of Fire on BUCKiTDREAM so you can inspire other people to visit these beautiful cities. Yes, there’s an element of risk involved, but the majority of people who both visit and live in these places are absolutely fine. If you do happen to get caught up in an incident, remember to follow the protocols and stay calm – it’s a wild world out there, but that’s where the adventure lies!