Going to Central America brought out more than I had expected. I had heard about Volcanoes, food, coffee, and chocolate, but quite honestly did not expect to see all of those in a new perspective. The Volcanoes alone is something has really intrigued my sense of adventure. Thinking about how close you can get, the eruptions that may happen, or the vastness of how with utter destruction they bring about new life as well. Guatemala had one of my favorite volcanoes, Pacaya.
Pacaya is a volcano about 30 km away from Antigua. It had been dormant until 1961 when it erupted. It has been erupting many times since then. There was an eruption in 2010 that killed tons of people, one in 2014, and the most recent one in 2017 and it is ongoing as active lava is still flowing down from the crater above.
While visiting Anitgua, Sarah and I had a choice. We could go camping to Acatenago or go to Pacaya. We were on a time crunch, and a money crunch. We chose to visit Pacaya. Plus we heard you can roast marshmallows there as well. So why not.
As we drove from the Antigua for a sunset tour of Pacaya, there was a slight drizzle. With the hope we would stay dry, we were also prepared with umbrellas and rain jackets. As we arrived, there were locals offering us “taxis” to the top, basically, a horse ride for an hour. As you all may know, Sarah and I like hiking. Plus we are cheap. We could walk all the way.
One of our guides started the trip with a little joke. He said “Pacaya erupted in 2010 killing tons of people. It erupted in 2014, but that was a small eruption. The next eruption is in 5 minutes.” We all laughed, but in all seriousness, anything can happen.
As we hiked the mist and cloudiness engulfed our views. We were then bombarded with rain around three fourths of the way up to the top. Fornuately, we had our rain jackets and umbrellas. As we hit the clearing where it was all just volcanic rock, we could see the summit and a red glare as a stream of lava was coming down the mountain. It seemed so faraway, but we wanted to trek on. Fornuately for us, the rain stopped, giving us an opportunity to take some pictures.
We then hiked over trails of volcanic rock. Some parts were as sharp as broken glass. We were careful with every step of the way. We finally made it to the point where the heat of the flowing lava could warm us up.
The lava was red hot rocks that were under the surface trying to break free. It was hot enough to roast marshmallows or even give you a slight burn if you were to get to close. The guides throw some marshamallows into the red hotness to show us that it literally just lit on fire. They then progressed with their sticks to put up about 20 marshmallows to roast. As trained professionals, they roasted many mallows for us and fed us this special treat.
It was neat seating the hot rocks and the heat forcing them to spill over. We were amazed with the coolness of a volcano. Not just any volcano, but one that was active with lava. As we left, from a distance you could see the top of the volcano erupting. There was red glare from the summit and spitting lava coming out. It was an amazing site, and a place I would recommend everyone to go and see.
After experiencing the greatness of Pacaya, I had realized that our trip had some great highlights afterall. Guatemala was a cool little country that people often do not think of. It is a place where you can get up close and personal to the amazing wonders of this world. The volcano was something unexpected. It was something I would tell everyone to visit and to see. The world has amazing places and Pacaya is just one of those places.
So much can be said by those that travel, it is the feeling and experience that creates a whole new world of opportunities and expolorations. Sometimes sitting and wondering about travel and not doing anything to make it happen keeps us trapped. I hope that one day you all can go out and visit some cool places.
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“Don't Listen to what they say, Go and See.”