|Travel Ecuador : Volcanoes :|
Tungurahua is a volcano classified as a stratovolcano that is located in the Central Andes region of Ecuador, approximately 10 kilometers south of Banos de Agua Santa. The volcano is 5023 meters (16479 feet) high and is extremely active. The name of this volcano translates as “throat of fire” which describes very well how the volcano has been behaving in recent years. It is also often known as “Mother Tungurahua”. This steep-sided volcano is a continual source of threat to the town of Banos and other surrounding villages, with eruptions causing pyroclastic flows and lava flows. The volcanic activity is the source of Banos’s popular hot springs.
In October 1999, Tungurahua came back to life, erupting violently, leading to widespread ash coverage of the surrounding areas. The town of Banos was evacuated at that time. Slowly during 2000, people returned to their homes, which had been looted. Again in 2006, the volcano erupted, spewing more ash in May, July and August of 2006. This time, most residents refused to leave their homes. Two years later, in 2008, the volcano went off again. Eruptions continued in 2009 and 2010. Despite the ongoing threat of Banos being destroyed, the town is a popular and thriving tourist destination, which much to offer outdoorsy folks and nightlife lovers.
Before the volcano Tungurahua became extremely active in 1999, it was possible to summit this mountain. As of the current time, it is not recommended to climb this explosive volcano. Refuges and huts on the routes up the mountain have likely been destroyed during recent eruptions. In the past the climb was described as being relatively straightforward, including some glacier work. The glacier has melted following the eruption of 1999. It is unknown when it will once again be possible to safely climb this angry giant.