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Climbing Volcan Pacaya

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atlanta,ga.
posts: 16
Climbing Volcan Pacaya

We are planning on climbing Volcano Pacaya next week, with our two children ages 10 & 8. We can't decide if we should do the am or pm hike. We would appreciate previous experiences, as we read it was difficult hiking down in the dark. Thanks so much in advance.

New York City, New...
posts: 119
reviews: 116
1. Re: Climbing Volcan Pacaya

I prefer morning hikes because the temp is a bit cooler than hiking in the noon sun. Also, the weather pattern in Lago Attitlan is such that if you are going to get rain, its likely to be in the late afternoon, so that is another to consider. Finally, unless you are staying in San Pedro La Laguna, you will have to catch an outbound boat to get home. And they stop running around 5pm. So if you want to avoid the stress of having to hike back in time to not miss the boat you would probably want the AM hike.

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
posts: 6,418
reviews: 95
2. Re: Climbing Volcan Pacaya

Flat - Pacaya is close to Guatemala City but often visited as a day trip from Antigua - you're thinking of the wrong part of the highlands.

I'd definitely go in the morning with kids that age; consider hiring horses if the going gets rough. Safe travels!

Edited: 12:44 am, February 17, 2013
Vancouver Island...
posts: 301
reviews: 34
3. Re: Climbing Volcan Pacaya

Definitely morning, based on our experience in October. By midday the clouds rolled in so there were no views. The morning was sunny and clear.

And definitely do the hike - it was eerily beautiful up there.

Other family members did it in December with 10 and 11-year-old boys who had no trouble with the walk and loved toasting marshmallows over the thermal vents and seeing the landscape.

New York City, New...
posts: 119
reviews: 116
4. Re: Climbing Volcan Pacaya

Yep, Hopefulist is right, I mixed up Pacaya with Volcano San Pedro. That's what happens when you do too much hiking in the noon sun! :-)

That said, I still recommend the AM hike.

One suggestion for Pacaya, though - I brought cheap canvas work gloves with me, the kind you would wear when doing light yard work or handling lumber. The lava rocks can be a bit rough (even sharp) and sometimes the footing can be a bit loose. If you stumble and put your hands out to brace your fall, it can be a bit nasty. Its not critical to have them, but I was glad that I was wearing mine as I scrambled over the terrain. This might be a good idea for the children.

atlanta,ga.
posts: 16
5. Re: Climbing Volcan Pacaya

Thank you so much for all the helpful replies, We booked for tomorrow afternoon, but maybe we can change it. Flat Planet, that's a great suggestion about the gloves! Thank you all!!

atlanta,ga.
posts: 16
6. Re: Climbing Volcan Pacaya

We ended up going on the afternoon hike. It was amazing!! We caved in and took the horses as it was a bit much for us unfit people :-) The weather was gorgeous and the view for the top STUNNING. Also the sunset was so beautiful, our pics don't do it justice. What an amazing experience. The kids loved it!

Thanks again for all the info!!

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
posts: 6,418
reviews: 95
7. Re: Climbing Volcan Pacaya

Thanks for reporting back!

Halifax, Canada
posts: 508
reviews: 4
8. Re: Climbing Volcan Pacaya

I did the PM hike...yes, you have to hike back down in the dark so bring a good flashlight or a head torch. The advantages of the PM hike...you can't see the lava glow red in the daylight, you get to see it on the PM hike...and the sunset was amazing.

atlanta,ga.
posts: 16
9. Re: Climbing Volcan Pacaya

Ballu, we didn't see any lava. The tour companies are still advertising flowing lava & toasting marshmallows, but from what we saw there is no flowing lava, only hot spots. Our tour guide did try to roast marshmallows in a hot spot, but it only made it a little soft, still fun anyway :-)

Mission Viejo, CA
posts: 112
reviews: 5
10. Re: Climbing Volcan Pacaya

It was years ago. I went on the afternoon-evening trip. I don't remember much about the view on the way up because I fixed on getting to the lava and avoiding the horse droppings. Travel Tip: Walk ahead of the horses. We walked right up to the lava flow and made S'mores. Couldn't do that in the States. The tour operators gave us flashlights for the trip down, but part of the way down I realized that I had overlooked the opportunity to join 4 others in the group who decided to skip the trail and run down the mountainside and through the jungle in the dark. I could hear them yelling all the way down. I want to go back just to relive this experience, but this time I'll be smart enough to bring my own mashmellows and graham crackers.