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“I did it!!”
Review of Pacaya Volcano

Pacaya Volcano
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Pacaya Volcano Tour from Guatemala City
Ranked #3 of 86 things to do in Antigua
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed August 17, 2013

It is a doable hike for a person in average shape. There are people with horses on the mountain that walk in back of you in hopes that you will get tired and pay to ride their horse. Bring lots of water and snacks. There are plenty of rest areas with interesting facts about the volcanos. I felt safe on the mountain with my guide and the varies security personnel (carrying machetes, guns, and walkie talkies) on the mountain. The only thing is that I was not sure how I would know the difference between security and the "bad guys".

Thank benzy19772016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 7, 2013

It is a rather steep trail up, but you have the option of hiring a natural taxi (horses that is). One or two took that option in the group.We made the trip by foot. We had about 10 in our group and had a great trip. It is best to go in the morning (much less chance of rain). If there are going to be clouds, it will likely be in the afternoon. You will be tired when you get home, but well worth the extra effort. The views are wonderful and you end up as close as safely possible to an active volcano..

Thank letsgoMiddletown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2013

Even though it rained when we were descending, I am glad we went out to Pacaya.

We did not book through a tour, we just had our driver take us out to the Volcano. At the base, we found a guide (Q150) who took care of finding us parking (Q20) and a couple horses (Q100 per person each way). If you think that you're going to use a horse, hire one right away, and no one will bother you for the rest of your trip.

The hike itself wasn't bad, and I could have managed without the horse (in fact, I sent it back part of the way up), but my husband appreciated being able to ride up to the end of the forest. At the end of the treeline, there's a barbed wire fence, so if you want to ascend higher, you have to do it on foot. We went as high as we could, but we could not get to the summit because of a recent small eruption. Even where we climbed, visibility was generally poor because a storm was coming in, and the top of the volcano was in the middle of a cloud. However, there were a few moments where the clouds would part, and we were treated to views of the land around the volcano.

The guides spoke very limited English, so you might want to go with an organized trip if you speak no Spanish. We weren't too worried about safety as we were there with our driver/guard, but also there were rangers the whole way up.

Just past the top of the treeline is a little tienda selling silver and lava stone jewelry. Proceeds go to help with local economy, and the jewelry itself is unique and pretty.

1  Thank mica178
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2013

The climb up to near the top of this active volcano (which had activity just 3 days before we were there!) is not for the unfit. It is quite a climb up over uneven pathways, unpaved pathways and loose soil. But the views are amazing and really worth the approx. 90 minute climb up. The climb down was a little quicker! We didn't get to see the lava (something about it having been active a couple of days ago) which was a little disappointing, but not enough to detract from the overall experience.

The only down-side was that the guide only spoke Spanish. As I only speak a little Spanish, most of the knowledgeable explanations he gave (other people nodded sagely at what he was saying, so I guess he must know what he was talking about!) went over my head. Some of the main signs have English along the route, so that helped!

But the views...! Amazing!

2  Thank GeorgeParam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2013

We bought our tickets to hike Pacaya with Elizabeth Bell tour company and it was COMPLETE rip off. They charged us $130 for the same service my friends paid $10 for. They promised us a private, English-speaking guide, and yet the reality was they drove us to the mountain and then we were left to fend for ourselves with whatever local guide was available (no English-speaking ones were there). Lunch was a crummy sandwich. I recommend not wasting unnecessary money on this, and rather going on your own to the mountain/or with a cheap shuttle and then working with the local guides at the foot of the mountain, waiting to take you.

In the end, we had a GREAT guide, but not thanks to Elizabeth Bell, rather from the kind, awesomeness of the local guides on the mountain who rallied together to find us someone. Our guide, Leonel, was WONDERFUL and went way above and beyond on the hike. He was honest, kind, knowledgeable, patient, and spoke great English. He even called his son (Kevin) mid-hike to bring their horse (Muneco--very well cared for and sweet) for my dad and to bring clay from his own house for us to try. He explained to us how the local guides are not happy with the tour companies either because they promise tourists things that are not available and then people get angry with them. Plus, out of all the money they charge people, they receive a pittance.

The hike was a good time, but note that by 2pm the rain starts and it is COLD and wet and slippery so best to go early in rainy season. Also, note that you can no longer see active lava (which lots of companies will lie to you about) but it's still a neat hike. We loved the experience, but it was thanks to the local guides, not the expensive tour companies.

5  Thank dktraveler12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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