After being let down by a petty volcano in Costa Rica and seeing what pretty much was a fart of lava popping out of it from 5k away we didn’t expect much more from ‘Volcán de Pacaya’ at Antigua in Guatemala.
Ian, Milly and I were backpacking around Central America. After getting through a hairy experience in Guatemala City which has the world’s highest murder rate of something like 8 killings a day. We were chilling in this awesome old school colonial town. Full of backpackers, vibrant markets and a great buzz on the streets ! You could even buy slices Dominoe’s pizza in plastics bags on the bus on the way there.
A group of English gap students recommended we go check out the local volcano which was very active and you could trek up it. We jumped on a mini van to the base of the volcano where we were greeted by a swarm of young kids selling off well carved hiking sticks. We bought one each for next to nothing and started trekking up the volcano. The land was very lush and green around us at the start but as we started getting closer to the volcano the scenery started changing to dark dried up shards of volcanic rock surrounded my seriously low clouds. The closer to the top we went the more impressive the scenery got as the layers of dried up magma created this sharp walkable sea of rock. You could see exactly where and how the magma had seeped out.
Getting even closer to the top we could feel the temperature rising and the realisation that we were on a volcano spewing magma hit us pretty fast.
Walking over a crevice Milly singed all the hairs on his legs from the hot air coming through the rock… I was in tears laughing, great shout letting him go first !
We got to the magma and couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Bright red liquid magma seeping through the jet black volcanic rock. It was incredible.
At one point i was getting a snap of Ian and could feel I was moving very slowly. I looked down to see if the rock was moving but it wasn’t. I lifted up my foot and realised the soles of my runners were burning and I was moving as the soles were melting !
The local guy that came with us from the hostel had a bag of marshmallows with him and gave us a handful each. The rest of our time on the volcano was spent poking the magma which resulted in your sticking being immediately engulfed by flames and roasting marshmallows over the volcano… the lava was 1,000 °C+ so didn’t take long to cook them bad boys up. Such an amazing experience, one of the best I have ever had !