Yesterday was pretty amazing. I spent a pretty relaxing morning hopping from coffee shops and cafés to get a different view of the city, and then ate some amazing nachos (like honestly the most beautiful nachos I’ve ever seen) before heading back to our homestay for our trip to Pacaya Volcano.
It was about an hour-long shuttle bus ride from Antigua to Pacaya. We were packed in car with 13 people – a couple from Germany, one from Sweden, two guys from the West Coast, three guys from Australia and a guy from Norway. It was a beautiful drive, and I had a really great conversation with the Norwegian guy, Odd. (Yeah. His name was Odd. Apparently that’s a normal name in Norway).
Upon arriving at the volcano, I realized that my body being accustomed to really low altitudes and slightly asthmatic tendencies was not going to do well hiking 8500 feet up for 2500 meters. A really nice guy from the nearby town, San Francisco, offered to let me ride his horse up to the top for only 50 Quetzales. The rest of the time up was spent practicing my Spanish with this man. He was so nice, and I loved being able to talk with him and practice my Spanish (which is slowly but surely getting better).
When we reached the top I was absolutely blown away. It was absolutely gorgeous. On one side, there was the huge volcano covered in dried lava and ash from the most recent eruption (last year), and lots of lava leftover from the huge eruption back in 2010. On the other side, there were rolling green hills, with lakes at the bottoms of the valleys. The clouds were rolling in to make the towns and mountains in the distance non-existent. It was just us and the nature around us. It was beautiful.
We then walked (or more like skied) down the side of the volcano to roast marshmallows over the active holes that lead to the volcano’s lava. It was actually really, really cool to watch the marshmallows toast beautifully on the end of our sticks. With our obvious energy boost from the sugary treats, we walked up the last bit to the highest point yet. It looked like we were in an airplane, completely above the clouds. It was surreal.
Then we hiked down and got on our shuttle home. It was an absolutely amazing day and I will never, ever forget the incredible views and breathtaking scenes. Guatemala holds such a special place in my heart, and I am very excited for my last day and a half in Antigua.