My favorite thing about traveling, touristing and sightseeing in Guatemala is that there’s never anything sectioned off. There aren’t any signs telling you what you should or shouldn’t be doing, there’s never a metal bar in the way between you and your decisions. Obviously this is not a child-friendly detail, but its pretty great at making you feel like you are actually discovering some of these beautiful natural wonders for the very first time. What you do with these gorgeous things, or off them, or through them is completely up to you!
At the Pacaya Volcano, which is an hour away from Antigua and a pretty fun and manageable hike up to the summit, Cash, Bart and I experienced one of these wonderful Travel Guatemala moments. I mean, as you’ll see in the video below, they were a little too concerned with the Canadian and American girls that came along with us on our tour group to grasp the totality of this, but they were impressed nonetheless. At Pacaya, the tour takes you up through rocks that are just feet above lava, so close that they completely melted the soles off my shoes by the time we were on our way down. So close that the boys and I got some tortillas at the base, brought them a couple hours up, and cooked ‘em just by placing them on the rocks - which fed our whole group (and won major points with the aforementioned ladies).
The tour guide encouraged us to walk to where the river of lava flowed down the side of the volcano and grab some long branches to try and pick up sticky lava rocks. By the time you were close enough to use the stick your face was burning up so much which caused such intense panic and excitement that the branch part was incredibly tough indeed. I tried it –of course I was able to fish out an awesome lava rock- and my whole beard burnt up in the attempt. Cash and Bart were content to take pictures and make movies – which are attached and awesome.
The tour guide – a classic showman – proudly lit a cigarette with a lava rock in a final Travel Guatemala moment … He has weirdly shaped patches of burnt on his facial hair year-round. I guess that’s the price (too high I think in this case!) you pay for originality.