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Cherry’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 21 Jan 2007

Location: Volcan Pacaya, Guatemala

MapWe´re ready to conquer Volcan Pacaya. The tour says it´s 1 hour 30 mins walk which should be a breeze (considering we probably won´t climb the whole volcano) WRONG!!!!
we got there and the first 5 mins was the toughest walk I´ve ever been. Turns out the 1 hr 30 mins is a very steep climb straight to the volcano crater (soooo never doing a volcano climb ever again). It was the toughest, most tiring $5 I´ve ever spent. James had to literally dragged me all through the 1 hour 30 mins. The guides weren´t very helpful either saying 3 or 4 more minutes we should be...halfway up. Aggghhh.. and there are people coming down that passed us and keep saying 1 more hour walk... spirits plummeted down in the first 15 minutes of the walk.
We did have breaks every 100 mtrs or so for 1-2 minutes which isn´t very helpful anyway.

We got to a viewpoint and we thought this was it. The sun was setting and volcano looming in front of us, was breathtaking. No mas caminar (´no more walking´ in spanish)... WRONG AGAIN.

Guide kept ushering us to go up and actually climbed the hot volcanic rocks to see the lava. We were skeptical about it and was very scared at this point of time, but we kept going.
It was a surreal experience. The rocks we stepped on was hot, hollow and had cracks on it. We soon realize that underneath the rocks were lava flow and bad..bad things can happen if there´s a sudden smallest earthquake..seriously the scariest I´ve ever been in my life. We met an American traveller who had an accident in one of the South American volcano and burned half of his body. That´s all I kept thinking throughout the climb.
There were several groups climbing the volcano and one of the tour guide was saying don´t go further it´s impossible, there´s lava flow on surface. Hearing that we stopped and was ready to turn back, our guide bravely say ´no worries, all good´. What is wrong with these people!!! When a tour guide was worried about safety we should all be worried...We kept going for a bit more and finally decided to turn back as the night came. Definitely want to get out of the hot rocks before dark. (The climb down was definitely easier)

The next morning I read that lots of tourists have freaky and near fatal accidents on the volcano (we didn´t read THAT part when we book the tour)..seriously can be listed as one of the most terrifying experiences. We promised never again to climb another volcano. This experience would have to last a lifetime!!!

Going to move on to other parts of Guatemala and with luck we´re seeing a friend from NY in Xela.

Adios from Guate!
stay safe