The woman fell 140 metres as she attempted to take photos of its molten lave lake 1200 metres from the lip, French vulcanoligist Jacques Durieux told AFP by phone from Nyiragongo volcano, which last erupted in 2002.
Despite warnings from guides accompanying her and without any protection such as ropes, the woman clambered around 15 metres down the crater edge before falling onto rocks below.
A team of 18 Indian United Nations troops specialised in mountain rescue braved intense heat and gas spewing from the depths of the volcano to locate the body, which they planned to extract on Sunday.
The woman, from Hong Kong, has not been named. She was travelling with local guides through the Virunga national park when the accident happened.