Friday, August 14, 2009

Red Hot Heat

Guatemala has 66 volcanoes, but only about 33 of them can be seen - the rest are underground. Only 3 of the volcanoes are active. Santiaguito (remember that lookout from Santa Maria), Fuego and Pacaya. We're lucky enough here in Antigua to live close by 2 of the 3 (Fuego & Pacaya).

Pacaya is an active complex volcano which first erupted approximately 23,000 years ago. Since then it has erupted at least 23 times since the Spanish conquest of Guatemala.
After laying dormant for a century, it erupted violently in 1965 and has been erupting continuously ever since.

After engaging in a week of all of the traditional (and a few off the beaten path) tourist pastimes in Guatemala, we took one final adventure to Pacaya National Park with hopes of seeing the illusive lava! Ben & I first visited Pacaya back in October 2008. It was a nice hike, but we were seriously disappointed when we reached the top and there was no lava in sight. This time the hike was a lot more difficult - apparently the lava has changed locations on the volcano & thus the path also changed - but it certainly did not disappoint.

these lone rangers saddled up for the ride

happy hikers - halfway there

walking sticks are absolutely necessary when hiking on hardened, sharp lava

can you see it in the background?
the hairs were practically burning off my body!

The closer you get, the hotter it is -
like almost melting the soles of your shoes hot!

We were so close we could poke the lava
(yet another reason the stick is a necessity)

Want to experience it too?
Go put your head in the oven and then watch this.

Volcan Pacaya from Krista on Vimeo.

(information on Volcan Pacaya found at

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