My best timing so far on Volcan Pacaya

Volcan Pacaya (8,373 ft) erupted on May 27th, 2010, approximately 20 miles southwest of Guatemala City. On May 18, 2011, I took a bus ride 1 hour outside of Antigua, and hiked up the same mountain. For a traveler like myself, famous for bad timing in terms of weather and always missing glimpses of natural phenomena, I’d say I was pretty close in terms of the 1-year anniversary of the eruption.

My first sighting of the mountain was pretty cool. Most volcanoes don’t seem to look like volcanoes, but Pacaya is a crowd-pleaser, as it clearly looks like an obvious volcano:

P.S. If you are interested in volcanoes in general, head to Antigua, Guatemala. Three volcanoes preside over the city– Volcan Fuego (12,346 ft), Volcan Agua (12,336), and Volcan Acatenango (13,045 ft). I was mostly interested in hiking around on Acatenango, and apparently this is a popular thing to do in Antigua, but I was told by a guiding company that they wouldn’t be leading trips to Acatenango for a while due to a recent violent altercation on the mountain amongst locals. I wonder if this has calmed down since then. Anyway, this guy was nice enough to recommend a competitor outfitter to the safer Pacaya, which I thought was really swell of him.

As for the hike itself, I was pretty disappointed, because the guide didn’t take us all the way to the top. What with the recent eruption, it is still potentially dangerous, which made me wonder why we were even allowed to be hiking on the mountain in the first place. I don’t see how we would have much of a running head start in the event of an eruption if we were halfway up rather than all the way at the top.

The cool thing is, due to the volcano’s activity, there is hot air and hot temperatures coming out of the vents. So we roasted marshmallows. Obviously. Notice the hot vent.

Though we couldn’t go all the way to the top, the view of Fuego, Agua, and Acatenango in the distance was worth the hike.

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One Comment on “My best timing so far on Volcan Pacaya”

  1. Becky January 12, 2014 at 11:30 #

    Great pictures! Thanks for sharing your experience.

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