Hiking the Pacaya volcano was one of the main reasons we planned our trip to Guatemala. Booking through Guatemalan Adventures was easy and painless. We were met in the hotel lobby by our guide, Miguel, that morning running slightly late. That happens when you're traveling with a two year old, though. We got in the van, and then we were on our way to the volcano.
On the drive out, Miguel pointed out a lot of the local sites as we went by. He made sure to give us the history of some of the other volcanoes and point out two more on the drive to Pacaya. We even got a little bit of background information on Guatemala City. Miguel gave us an overview of what to expect when we got to the volcano as well as pointing out more natural sites on the way up.
When we arrived at the base of the volcano, there were several locals trying to sell us sticks or rent us horses. Best thing to do is just say No and keep walking if you don't want them. Miguel introduced us to another local guide making the climb with us, Luis. After a quick restroom break, we were on our way up.
The first little bit is a little steep and tough as it's almost rocky cobblestones. Once you're past that, it gets a bit easier. Luis and Miguel stopped several times to point out some of the local flora and fauna of interest, and we would stop several times for pictures overlooking some incredible views. The hike itself isn't strenuous if you're an active person, but I could see it being pretty tough for people that aren't used to physical exercise. Trekking poles would have definitely made the climb a bit easier, and we found ourselves wishing we had brought them a couple of times. Some of the spots get slippery in places, especially on the way down, but Luis and Miguel were always quick to point those areas out to us.
Once we got to the top or as close to the top as you can get without special permits, the view was well worth the work. It was simply stunning. We could see some steam rising out of Pacaya, and we had a great view of the Agua and Fuego volcanoes as well. Once we took in the view for a bit, we descended into a field of cooled lava rock. Well, most of it was cool. Stopping to roast marshmallows over a steam vent was one of the highlights of our trip. Dogs will follow you, but they're mostly just hoping you drop your marshmallows. Luis and Miguel had marshmallows with them, but if you have special dietary needs we're vegan, so the gelatin in normal marshmallows is a no-go for us, you can bring your own.
On the hike back down the mountain, the two year old traveling with us wanted to walk down rather than ride in my girlfriend's traveling pack she brought for him. Luis and Miguel helped him most of the way down the mountain, and he loved it! We left the volcano talking the whole way back about how the hike up and down was so amazing and incredible.
Once back at the hotel, I realized I might have left my cel phone in the van, so I emailed Guatemalan Adventures to ask about it. Miguel had my phone, turned around and drove 20 minutes back to our hotel just to bring my cel phone back to me. He was our guide the next day, so I was perfectly fine knowing my phone was safe, and I would have it tomorrow. I really appreciated the extra mile he went to get it back to me so quickly.
If you're planning a trip to Pacaya, I can't recommend Guatemalan Adventures enough. Book them knowing you'll be treated well, and if you get Miguel as your guide, know you're in for a first class experience.
Awesome family activity. The climb is fun and the views are spectacular. Miguel and Louis were great.
Erick did a great job leading our small group! It was a beautiful hike with an informative and trustworthy guide.
Good tour from Guatemalan Adventure. Our guide Winston drove us to their and the local guide Marvin took us to the volcano. Winston was nice and he explained a lot of things about country and culture on our way. Best part was the marshmallows getting cooked due to the heat of the solid lava from last year. It is a long hike up and down the mountains so be prepared to walk. They also have horses which can take you back and forth the mountain for around 200 GTQ i believe. You wont be going to the actual Pacaya as it is active and is emitting harmful gasses but you will be close and walking on the lava from the previous eruptions.
Ridiculously cool one of my favorite tours ever. I would recommend just purchasing a walking stick for like 50 cents or a dollar, no need to bring any of your own. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and told us all about the different plants and their biological function. The volcano was a sight to see!
Liani S United States of ...
It was a great hike to the mountain. We could see the steam rise front the ground and we heard the mountain rumble. It was surreal. I recommend to do this trip during off season to avoid crowds.
Great climb. Very knowledgable guide and quite interesting. Would have like to get closer to the top, but doesn;t seem practical.
Blain V USA
The hike was very physical so we ended up renting a horse to make the trip which made for a fun rest of the way. The guides were fun and very knowledgeable .
Very physical, but worth it!!
Our guide spoke excellent English and was very knowledgable to the countryside and history of the volcano. He answered all of our questions. It was a great day!
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