Of Guatemala’s thirty seven volcanoes, only three are still active... and we just couldn't resist the opportunity to hike one!
Pacaya is just a two hour drive away from Antigua, where we made out base for four days. We set of at the crack of dawn and arrived at the foot of the volcano ready to begin out trek at 8am. The ascent was steep from the start, and the fine ash made it tough going. You know how walking on soft sand can be arduous? Now imagine that, but uphill and for hours on end! It's no wonder some tourists opt to transfer the legwork by hiring a horse instead, but nevertheless our group persisted towards the summit, on foot.
After a few hours, with occasional stops at some exquisite viewpoints on the way, we reached the top - or as close as we could safely go considering Pacaya is still a very active volcano. To our surprise, atop the mountain we found a tiny shack selling beautifully handcrafted silver-and-magma jewellery, created right there at the volcano’s summit! Such unique souvenirs are hard to come by, and even more so the opportunity to toast marshmallows in the piping hot vents – a thrilling experience which we took full advantage of!
An unlikely place to find a jewellers!
Full of a sense of accomplishment and stuffed full of marshmallows, we headed back down the dusty path to our transport, and were whisked away to the safer, sunnier streets of Antigua.