If hiking an active volcano is on your bucket list, Maximo’s Volcano Pacaya tour offers that special opportunity only available in few places around the world. You’ll hike one of the biggest, most active volcanoes in the Mesoamerican region, located just an hour and a half from our institute in Antigua, Guatemala.
Pacaya’s last big eruption was in 2014, with spews of lava and ash reaching 10,000ft, leaving streaks of hot lava cascading through the cracks of the volcano for years to come.
Today, most of the superficial red, hot lava has dried into black slippery rock, with no sights of molten liquid. Good, because we weren’t interested in burning to death. The infinite sea of solidified lava makes the trek seem more like you’re hiking on Mars, as the heat permeates from cracks in the surface.
Perfect for roasting delicious s’mores! Slip your marshmallow on a stick and watch it melt into delicious gooeyness as a well-deserved reward for your upward effort.
And if you want a unique souvenir to remember your visit, stop by the “Lava Store” located at the end of the hike where you can purchase jewelry and crafts made from molten lava rocks.
If you’re used to moderate physical activity in your daily life, then this “moderate” hike might seem advanced, there’s only one direction on a volcano and that’s up. At the foot of the volcano, you can rent a walking stick for less than $1. Do yourself a favor and rent it. Not only will you use it to assist you in your ascent up the volcano, but you’re also supporting a local Guatemalan family. You also have the option of renting a horse for your trek but if you decide to tough it out (because you care about horses), you gain a rhythm and it eases the upward struggle.
Throughout the hike, the volcano rumbles which at first sounds like a car, but the underground vibrations say otherwise. No worries, it’s totally normal and actually makes the hike a lot more exciting! There are points where you can view the crater, but for safety reasons the hike to the top is currently not permitted.
Register: The tour is easily coordinated with our travel partner at our institute in Antigua which includes round-trip transportation, a knowledgeable tour guide, and park admission–pretty sweet deal!
Clothing: Don’t let the heat from below the surface burn your pretty ankles–wear long pants! Also, comfortable, durable hiking boots. Thank me later.
Equipment: A walking stick is highly suggested, along with at least 2 liters of water per person. If you’re doing the night hike, have a flashlight handy.
Advice: Take your time, listen to your guide, and be cautious. Though it is unlikely you’ll come in contact with red lava, take precaution as the the rocks are still fairly hot along some parts of the trail. Also, the solidified lava can be slippery, so go slow.