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“Natural as you can get” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pacaya Volcano

Pacaya Volcano
Antigua, Guatemala
2421-2810
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Top Rated
$1,356*
and up
8-Day Best of Guatemala Tour: Antigua, Pacaya...
Ranked #4 of 78 things to do in Antigua
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Attraction details
Playa Coronado, Panama
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Natural as you can get”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2013

Expect to climb about 8 km along a primitive path and then on the pumice rock once the trail ends. Bring a coat and camera. The guide provides marshmallows to toast over a volcanic vent. Views are phenomenal if you are fortunate in timing the trip during a clear period. If cloudy, it's only spectacular. Horses available to carry you most of the way up (or down) but not necessary if you are reasonably fit.

Visited November 2013
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Panama
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61 reviews 61 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Worth the walk up (8 km) to see for it's still active.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2013

The shuttle wasn't comfortable (but those little vans are not - not much leg room and they are always full). It took 2 hours to get there. Watch the crap from the horses. Some men on horses follow you half way up to try to sell you a ride. Which is ok if you like horses and not allergic. I have not been allergic to any animal in my life but I could not breath and my eyes were running. The 500 meter increase in altitude also didn't help. But I'm glad to see one of 3 or 4 active volcanoes in the country.

Visited December 2013
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Mountain View, California
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13 reviews 13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Great views, may be difficult if you haven't adjusted to the elevation.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

The hike itself isn't that steep, but the elevation can make it feel a lot more difficult than it actually is. It's almost all uphill with maybe 30 feet of flat land or small downhills (pretty negligible.) Be sure to stop throughout your hike and get great shots of the other volcanoes in the background.

We got there around 7AM and hiked Cerro Chino with our local tour guide. The round trip took a little under 2.5 hours, but we took a nice long stop at the top to roast some marshmallows in a small cave that was emanating heat. It's very windy the closer you get to the top, so a windbreaker and layers are definitely recommended. Some energy snacks on the way up would benefit you, as well as water. The closest we could legally get to the top was just outside of 300m, which is a huge bummer. You can see the smoke coming out of the top of the volcano. However, due to high winds and they fact that it's an active volcano, people are limited to the 300 m mark.

We also stopped at the souvenir shop midway to the top of the volcano that sold volcano jewelry with proceeds that are given to support the local Mayan culture. The guy who was volunteering there was originally from California (like me!) and spoke perfect English. There are a few stray dogs that hang out near the shop that followed us to the top of the mountain. The shopkeeper says that the dogs are sensitive to the seismic activity of the volcano and will let him know that it might be time to run down if the volcano is about to erupt.

At the base of Cerro Chino, they do offer horses for those who are less inclined to hike. We brought our hiking sticks so the horse peddlers didn't approach us. Besides, on our way up, I saw a granny wearing sandals hiking the volcano like it was no big deal. If she can do it, so can most of us! On our way down, we did see a lot of lazy people taking the horses.

Cost was 50 Quetzals for foreigners. Forgot what it is for locals.

Visited December 2013
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Broome, Australia
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72 reviews 72 reviews
40 attraction reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Great views, bring warm clothes”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2013 via mobile

The hike wasn't very challenging, but it is still a decent ascent uphill. Our tour was free as part of our spanish school. Entrance to the volcano path is 50Q. If ur not in at least average shape, you may need the horse (one of the girls in our group tried to keep pace, but after 5mins he was struggling and they persuaded her to get the horse - bring something to feed them, skinny things.
The views are amazing and it's great to get up close enough to roast marshmallows :)
The wind is a killer. We were ok, but some other really didn't wear enough warm/wind proof gear. And maybe gloves if you need.
The views of the other volcanoes (Acatenango and Fuego) and the Pacific Ocean are great (if the cloud holds off).

Visited November 2013
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DC
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
“Nice little hike with beautiful views”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2013

We did a sunset hike of Pacaya on a tour coordinated from our hotel. One of those small minivans packed with folks picked us up, and we drove for an hour to the volcano. Upon arriving, we paid 50Q each to enter the park. There are well kept bathrooms at the entrance point, and a bunch of little boys trying to rent you walking sticks.

As for the walking sticks, they really aren't necessary. If you have bad knees or a really bad back and need the extra support they may be useful, but the path itself is really nice and not at all technical. It is straight up the side of the volcano with no switchbacks, so a great calf workout. The incline isn't bad though, so it's not terribly difficult. Most of the trail is finely packed volcanic dirt, and towards the top it becomes smaller stones. They are not slippery and it's easy to navigate. You will have to navigate horse poo along the route as the "local taxis" like to leave little bombs along the trail.

The hike is about 1 1/2 hours to the top at a brisk pace. The views at the top are stunning. As I said, we did a sunset hike, which provided simply amazing views. At the top, there is a little store that sells hot coffee, beer and snacks. Our guide bought marshmallows and we roasted them over one of the steam vents. Eating volcano-toasted marshmallows was definitely a first!

It was freezing at the top of the volcano. Some folks in our group did not come well prepared--they were in shorts and light jackets. And it was really cold with the wind whipping everywhere. So if you do this hike in November/December, remember to bring layers. I had a t-shirt, wind-stopping fleece jacket, and my raincoat and was still a bit chilly.

We walked back in the dark, and flashlights were a must. Thankfully enough folks in our group had flashlights so everyone could see. But had that not been the case, the decent would have been much more challenging. It took about 45 minutes to walk back down.

All in all, a great hike. It's physically rather easy, provides great views and some interesting experiences (coffee on top of an active volcano?!). Definitely worth the trip!

Visited November 2013
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