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Wonderful tour! I had booked this before I arrived in Guatemala, and was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it all worked out. I was traveling by myself, and as it turned out, because other travelers cancelled their trip, I was the only one on the tour. It was so much fun!!!!
The driver arrived on time, and was super friendly. I had a million questions, and he answered them all.
On the climb itself, I never felt rushed. Even though we had an incredibly strong headwind, I, at 52, walked up Pacaya with no issues whatsoever.The terrain is loose sand-like dirt and loose lava rocks, and you're going uphill, so it's not like a stroll around the block, but it's definitely do-able. The views are amazing and the history is interesting, and my guides could not have been nicer. They even let me take a photo on the horse Estrella after we were done :
Make sure you stop at the Lava Store, too. You can get a little more history and buy some trinkets if you desire. PLUS there's Ischia I think that's her name - she's a sweetie and worth the climb just to pet her!
The visit to the hot springs spa was relaxing. I got to shower off the volcano dust before relaxing in the various pools.The staff here was very attentive and friendly, and you really can't beat sipping a mango smoothie in a warm pool with the sun shining and amazing blue skies as your backdrop. I really enjoyed the architecture too.
I highly recommend this trip. It was a nice nature break from the busy city.
This was a great tour all around. It was extremely well organized and definitely worth the value. Our van picked us up on time and we proceeded to the volcano. The roads are a bit windy going up - a note for those who get carsick. It was no fault of the driver's, just the nature of the path to the trailhead.
Once you arrive, rent a walking stick from a person at the base. It will cost 5Q and is definitely worth it, especially during the steep incline at the beginning. There are folks who will try to rent you a horse they call them taxis, ha to ride up the volcano - just an FYI. We chose to walk with our guide, who was both friendly and knowledgable.
The beginning of the trail is tough, but it becomes a lot easier. It's definitely an uphill climb, but those in moderate physical shape can tackle it with no problem. If you want to make it all the way to the top, wear proper hiking boots and layers for the temp changes and sweat. Bring water and snacks. I was not so prepared with the right footwear was just wearing typical trainers and while I wanted to hit the summit, there's no way I could get enough traction on the volcanic rock you start to encounter about 2/3 of the way up. Wonderful views nonetheless!
The lunch was excellent and ready to be served as soon as we arrived at the hot springs location. Our group was expecting hot springs in the side of a mountain and local fare, which was not the case at all. We arrived at a venue that resembled a resort and were given white-glove service throughout our time there. A nice surprise after the physical activity! The food was excellent and the springs were more like high-end swimming pools with water in a variety of temps based on geothermal activity. The hosts walk you through the experience and keep your time as you complete the choreographed transitions through the pools, ensuring that you have the optimal experience. At one point, they even bring you a fresh fruit smoothie.
After the soaking cycle is complete, you head back to your hotel. A really great experience - very highly recommended!
The hike is 5 stars.
The guide is 5 stars.
Transportation to the volcano from hotel is 5 stars.
The spa is 5 stars.
Lunch is 5 stars.
My issue is that the tour is described as going to the crater. This tour did not go to the crater but instead to the lava flow field down below. I asked why and was told that's a different tour, but it says in this description that we will go to the crater. There were people walking up there so it did not appear to be closed for safety concerns.
When booking confirm you are getting the correct tour to the crater.
If you exercise often you'll be able to handle this hike no issue.
There are vendors selling water and snacks all along the way up. Still I would bring a few snacks and water of your own.
There are horses available if you want the experience without the work.
Great tour! We were picked up on time at our hotel and taken right to the volcano. We had a guide on the bus, and then a separate local guide to take us up the volcano apparently this is a government requirement. My friend and I chose to hike the volcano, rather than take a donkey. The hike is definitely a workout, but for people who workout regularly, it's not hard. The views were amazing, and when we got to the volcano we got to roast marshmallows on the hot lava! After the hike, we were taken to the spa and given lunch and taken to the pools. It's not really hot springs, just a few pools. You are taken through a system of hot and cold pools and given a smoothie. It was relaxing, but definitely the hike was the better part of the day. I would definitely recommend this tour!
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