Climbing the Pacaya Volcano

Views from Pacaya Volcano

One of the delightful touristy things you can do in Antigua Guatemala (the beautiful gringo touristy old colonial city just a few minutes from Guatemala City) is you can climb the Pacaya Volcano and see the lava flow there. For $5-$10 you get a bus ride to the trailhead (about 2 hours away by slow bus) and a guided hike up to the lava flow at dusk. What a treat it is! I've never seen a lava flow before, so this was great. We climbed up a steepish trail for perhaps 45 minutes before getting to the cold lava flow we had to cross to where the actual river of lava was flowing. Then we had to slow down considerably and pick our way across the rough black lava. But when we got to the actual lava flow, it was just at dusk, and it glowed terrifically, and it was so much fun to see it squeeze and fill and move around and flow into little lakes.

When I did the exact same thing in 1994 with my young kids, it was a completely different mountain. Then you had to climb up a steep, steep cindercone to get near the crater, where eruptions regularly dropped rocks just a few feet in front of you. A completely different kind of volcano.

You can click on the triangle in the video to view it. You can also view the full sized version at youtube or look at all the videos we've posted.