Vulcan Pacaya

Antigua Travel Blog

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Checked out of Black Cat and into Los Amigos II.  Nice lady, but I don't think I would stay there again (Q40).  Booked a shuttle to Panajachel (Q40) and then a trip to Vulcan Pacaya (Q80 + Q40 park entry fee).  This could be done for about $2 USD cheaper or as much as $50 that included food and all sorts of other bs with the top guides in town.  Probably nicer vans and guides that speak english as well as some food.  The drive from Antigua was about 1.5 hrs.  Arrived to little boys trying to sell walking sticks that were "muy necessario".  Flashlights were also being sold and for the same reason.  Unless you have problems walking they aren't necessary unless you want to have something to ignite in the lava.  The trail starts off pretty steep over coblestone this is where the fat and out of shape people hire "taxis" or horses to ride up the trail.  The trail is pretty dusty from the horses and foot traffic.  This is a relatively easy hike, just keep in mind you are climbing up a volcano.  It took us about 1hr and we had a great guide, but I never caught his name even after asking several times.  Great view of Pacaya, Agua, Chichitenango?, and Fuego Volcanoes.  I believe there are 36 volcanoes in Guatemala and 3 are active including Pacaya and Fuego.

Flowing molten lava was bad ass.  It is just slowly seeping out of the earth and being forced by gravity down the side of the mountain.  This brightly glowing rock just oozing around.  Stuck a stick in it and it almost instantly ignited.  Hot as shit to get near.  I can't believe no one has fallen in or died.  You can see the glowing between slits in the rock.  It is pretty brittle and I broke some off and jumped to safety at one point.  I was pissed I forgot the marshmellows and hot dogs!  Convinced the guide to let me stay for the sunrise as everyone else started heading back.  Nice view and a cloud layer below.  If you're moving it you can hike up in 30 min and down in about 20.  If you do this during the day I really don't think you need a guide.  Lot's of people around and easy to find your way.  Only advantage is the transportation from Antigua to the Volcano.  Our guide only made $5 US per trip and he does 1 or 2 a day, 7 days/wk.  He was good and let me stay after, so I tipped him the equivalent of $3.  Got back to Antigua to see the end of one of the many Semana Santa parades through town.  I believe they have one every Friday the month before Easter.  Guys dressed in purple KKK outfits.  They spend all night decorating the streets like carpet of intricate paterns of colored sawdust and flowers.  The streets were packed and we missed most of it.

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photo by: monky