Guatemala & Belize Adventures travel blog

One of the three volcanoes nearby Antigua

En route to Pacaya

Tour van breakdown

Volcano belch

Jungle part of Pacaya climb

Trekers on the trail

About half way!

Pacaya grub

View of second leg of Pacaya

Another view of second leg of Pacaya

Trudging through volcanic gravel

Jasper and trusty companion John

Navigating through hardened lava

Rough terrain near top

Break time for the gang

It's getting steeper!

At the top - Lava under foot!

On the newly formed lava - careful!

Lava flow 1

Lava flow 2

Whew - hot!

Unhappy local.....until seeing photo of herself!

We headed out on our tour at about 8 am. About 30 minutes into the trip, the van started making loud noises and the driver pulled over - the bearings were shot. So we turned around and headed back to Antigua to the starting point. We piled in a new van, and headed off again. About 35 minutes into the trip, we ran into a road closure! The driver shifted us to yet another van, and we drove back to our starting point one more time, to take a different route. Finally, after about 1.5 hours drive up a windy scenic road, we reached the base of Pacaya.

We climbed for about 2.5 hours through a jungle trail and then up steep slopes of loose volcanic gravel. The climb was tough especially in the loose gravel....two steps forward, one step back! Jasper and Kylan were troopers and did great. Some stray dogs that accompanied us were a great distraction when Kylan began to burn out a bit. Each dog got a name - John and David were the biggest hits!

As we came close to the end of the trail, the ground beneath us started to get warm, and the rock was really rough. We wore gloves to protect our hands from scratches in case of a fall. At the top of the trail was a large bed of recently hardened volcanic rock. It was very hot, and we walked across it very carefully, as some spots were thin. In some of the crevases you could see glowing lava, and steam and smoke rising. About 10 meters across the bed, was a 4 meter wide river of flowing lava!! The heat was very intense, and it was pretty freaky for Kari and Kylan, who wanted to get off the bed ASAP!! The soles of our cheap running shoes were starting to melt! Shawn and Jasper got as close as 2 meters from the lava river!

The way down was a much more relaxing, with a delicious lunch along the way. Cool drinks and an uneventful drive back to Antigua was enjoyed by all! We had great guides (David and Blake, and Pacaya local, Felix) that we had lots of fun with, and learned a great deal from. What a day!!

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