Latin America Travel & Tour Information
Guatemala, land of volcanoes
Regardless of its past, the volcanic activity is by far a remarkable feature of Guatemala. It is no TV programm or documentary, the images of incandescent lava and sulphur smoke are live and real.
Northern Central America started to emerge slowly due to the colition of the tectonic plates and volcanic debris 80 million years ago, until it took its present shape and relief. From the whims of geology, Guatemala kept 33 volcanoes, five of which are still active. Can you imagine the experience of climbing one of them? Choices are the Tajumulco (the highest with 4.220 m above sea level), San Pedro´s, Fire´s, Water´s, and the most visited, the Pacaya.
The 2.500 metres of ascent represent a worthy challenge, but don´t forget that access will be banned at 15.30 hours. If there is any consolation, the Pacaya lies inside a protected area and several people are in charge of keeping a record of visitors and make sure they return. With a tailwind, helpful in steep sections, and the proper gear, you are ready for the journey.
Keeping a steady pace on sandy terrain, somtimes there is a marked trail, other times only rocks, you will be standing at the crater´s rim in less than one hour. Take your time there to catch your breath and take in every detail of the surroundings. Stand backwards to the crater if the smoke allows it for you to admire the green landscape around the volcano.
You may go back a different way through Cerro Chico if you have a guide, otherwise don´t even try since it is easy to get lost in the trails.