On the southeastern side of the island, there are some villages closer to the volcano and are at risk of being in the path of future lava flow. During past eruptions over the years there has been significant lava flow in these areas. We drove there in the afternoon and got to see some of the areas where the lava had crossed the highway and oozed down into the sea. The highway has been re-built, but there are wide lava fields on either side of it.
In some areas there are caves that have formed and tours of the caves are offered by local guides. It might have been an option for my trip if I had more time. Getting around on the fields wasn't very easy for me either. My legs were in pretty rough shape!
It was really interesting to see the fields of black volcanic rock. New plants can still grow in the cracks!
In 1977, lava flow destroyed many parts of the village of Sainte Rose. The local catholic church was nearly destroyed but the lava only reached the entrance of the church. After the lava had cooled it was left as is, with only a staircase built to access the entry.