Back from Guatemala! I had a great time getting back down to Guatemala. It was great to see similar faces on the farm along with some new areas and experimental coffee as well. Last year when going down for the first time it was an eye-opening experience. I had never been on a coffee farm before, so I felt like a kid in a candy store. Everything was new and I had a perfect opportunity to get the rookie questions out of the way. This time I wanted to see what else was in Guatemala.
Last year, what really caught my attention in Guatemala was the scenery. Whether it be the landscape, how colorful and mountainous it is. Or the historical buildings that are still intact in Antigua and surrounding areas. When going back this time, I wanted to take some time to explore outside of the coffee farm. After doing some research I found there are active volcano to hike nearby Antigua!
Pacaya it is! The morning started by waking up early and getting picked up by a shuttle. The shuttle drive to the trailhead was just over an hour through winding mountain roads. My only comparison is like being out in Colorado minus the snow. Antigua’s altitude is just over 5,000 feet so getting anywhere outside of town is a nice winding road.
We arrive to the parking lot of the trailhead, which seemed standard. Bathrooms, concession stand selling snacks/drinks and the parking lot of horses if wanted to pay extra for the ride. Also, the local crew of dogs greeting you. You start by walking up a stone alleyway leading to a large sign giving information about the volcano and trails. It was roughly an hour to the top of the volcano. The bottom started out on dirt and stone steps under tree cover. Slowly transitioning to a dirt path as we continued moving up. There was strategic clearing and stopping points to look out over the unbelievable scenery. It was clear skies and were able to see out to across the mountain tops. (Some pics are below.)
Our welcoming committee of a few dogs was still walking with us. As we walked further a couple dogs didn’t continue but roughly halfway up we were met by one playful pup. This tan dog almost made it clear to the other dogs he has it from here. The dog would always be circling the group as if it was checking in with everyone while hiking. This dog stayed with the group all the way to the top, even walking over the volcanic rock.
We knew were getting closer to the top as the trees started to thin out. Shortly, we were above the tree line. It was cool to get to this point, it felt like you were even with the clouds. But you look up and can see the top of this active volcano. We were told that we were walking on a lava field that was fresh. The rock we were standing on, was fresh lava just over a year ago. That’s insane! It was truly an active volcano. One of the guides called the group over and found an area with some heat coming from the rocks. Reached into their bags and pulled out marshmallows, we were going to roast marshmallows over the rocks we were standing on. I know everyone has their own style for roasting, but this was perfect for me, the heat was there but low enough to just crisp the outside but melt the middle.
We hung out for a little bit to take in the amazing views and made the trek back down to the shuttle. Our canine companion still leading the pack.
I do have to point out one thing, there was a father in our group who carried his young son on his should the ENTIRE hike! No backpack just picked him up onto his shoulders. Bad ass award goes to him for sure.
The next day we were off to the coffee farm!
Some pics from the hike up.