One of the excursions more interesting that you can make from Antigua in half a day is the one on Vulcano Pacaya and it can be easily booked either at the hostel where you are staying or through one of the numerous agencies that are scattered throughout the city, at a cost of about 10 USD.
The ascent to Pacaya
You can choose whether to take the excursion in the morning or in the evening, we are tempted by the sunset that we were told to be very beautiful (and also a little because of the tiredness of theexcursion to the Acatenango volcano just two days earlier) we chose the second option.
The shuttle for the excursion comes to pick us up directly in front of the hostel at around two in the afternoon: we take a tour at all the other hostels to take other backpackers (yes, because then the agencies group people together) and in about a little more than one hour drive we find ourselves at the starting point in Pacaya Volcano Natural Park. I swear that I would have written very well about this trip if it were not that a blog reader, after having been there with his 5-year-old daughter, pointed out a few things to me so perhaps before recommending the excursion to those who have more children or less small there is some consideration to be made.
Giuliano, whom I really thank for the doubts he raised in me, told me that the agency had assured him that the excursion was very feasible even with a child, but he immediately realizes that the guide's pace is too fast, almost doing it on purpose. After a few hundred meters uphill, under the sun and in the middle of the dust, when the child can't take it anymore, here comes the omnipresent character who takes her up with his horse for the price of 100 quetzales.
I tell you that the guide's pace seemed excessively fast to me too, but since I was walking like a snail, I didn't worry too much, believing it was my fault for being left behind.
A little boy with the horse
Giuliano then writes to me that they arrive at the top, 5 minutes for
Roasting marshmallows on a fumarole
From up there you can really enjoy a beautiful view of the valley and the nearby volcanoes, which acquire a particular pink light in the evening lights.
The descent is steep and in the woods and the path from which we descended is different from the one from which we went up. We do not have the torches with us (we had not been warned) and contrary to what happened to Giuliano, the darkness surprises us that we are still halfway there. To make the last piece we have to use cell phone lights (thanks Iphone). At the end of the route, a cheerful bar awaits us where you can rest and have a drink.
Panorama on Guatemala from Pacaya
There is one thing that I believe this story teaches, not only to you, but also to me first: ask always always always at the agency on duty (not only in Guatemala but also elsewhere) what the excursion you are about to buy consists of so as not to run into bad rip-offs, or look for it first on the web by reading reviews or travel blogs. If you have children, double attention and keep in mind that, at least on the Pacaya, there is still walking, uphill and under the sun and it is not as easy as it is suggested.
Sunset on the Agua volcano
In light of what I experienced, however, I would recommend the excursion on Vulcano Pacaya?
Honestly yes, although the excursion on the Acatenango was much more exciting (and not for everyone given the exhausting fatigue) also on the Pacaya the landscapes are beautiful and walking on an expanse of lava does not happen every day, as it does not happen every day to eat marshmallows roasted on a fumarole.