For the athletically inclined, if you wish to give your muscles a great workout, then by all means take the 2 1/2 hour horseback ride to the volcano and climb the thing. The climb is steep, and be careful where you put your feet (remember, this is a cinder cone, and soft); but the view from the top is more than worth the effort. (And the run down the side of Paricutin is quite a bit of fun) On the other hand, the somewhat less athletically inclined might wish to take the 30-40 minute walk to the Church of San Juan Parangaricatiro, which is covered by lava save for the steeple and part of the front wall. You can clamber up the lava tongue (watch your balance as you do so)and peek inside. For me, this is a truly sobering sight, and as awesome in its way as the view from the top of the volcano.
That being said, before you travel to this place, read about it. Get on the Internet or go to a library and come to know the Paricutin story; the trip will be immensely more meaningful for you. As you ride up the cinder hills before the volcano, remember that there are houses and fields underneath that will never see the light of day again. Remember, also, that the lives of almost 6,000 people were drastically changed by this eruption.
I have visited Paricutin 3 times, and have always come away impressed by what I saw. It is an all-day thing, and it can be rough; but I think you will come away impressed also.
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