Bright and early Monday morning we left Lago Atitlan for Antigua with hopes of spending our afternoon on Volcan Pacaya. Sure enough we were able to quickly track down a tour (and only got ripped off a few bucks) and even had enough time for lunch and a brief stroll through the market before our 2pm departure.
Pacaya is an active volcano about 25 km from Antigua. The peak is about 8,372 feet about sea level, but the view below is not the real reason people visit. A chance to see red hot lava is why gringos flock to Pacaya daily. Of course we had to get in on the action. As much as we didn’t want to be a part of another big tour group, it’s not so easy, nor recommended to go solo. When we exited the mini-bus we were practically attacked by local kids trying to rent hiking sticks. Having heard it’s a good idea, we found a good deal (2 for 8Q). The hike up was fairly easy with great views of Guatemala City below. At the top we hiked around on a bed of hardened lava, scouting out “hot spots.” We were able to see a few lava runs (in cracks below the surface) that our guide told us were a year old. It wasn’t quite as impressive as we had hoped, but we did see lava. Guess we’ll have to go back to Hawaii and visit Volcano National Park to get a real fix!
5 months ago