×
×
FREECALL AU: 1 800 NOMADS (666 237)
FREECALL NZ: 0508 NOMADS (666 237)
Mobile site
14 Jul
2014

The day I climbed a volcano... (and lived to tell the tale)

sunset drinks small

Arriving in Guatemala international airport is like arriving in a quiet regional destination. Easy and relaxed. My compadres and I headed for Antigua, a UNESCO listed town one hour cab ride for US$10. This is where they keep their tourists in Guatemala. It's a really pretty 18th Century Spanish outpost, that looks like it has been given a make over by a bunch of gay guys – all ochre and mustard tones, with archways, courtyards, gardens & fountains trickling, just gorgeous sweety!

Antigua snugly fits in amongst three volcanoes. This presents a stunning vista. For our first night in town, we settle in for some sundown drinks to watch the sunset & take in our scenic surrounds. What the hell! A volcano has spewed forth a gigantic plume of smoke, right in front of our eyes, just on sunset, to capture the colours and hues as we sip our beverages, and stare in gob smacked delight. Who would have thought!?

Sunset drinks antigua

We take it in our stride the next day when we book a guided tour to walk up an active volcano; Volcan Pacaya, and it only costs seven-bucks! We are picked up in an average tour bus with twelve other punters along for the quest. On the bus ride people joke about not coming back, I myself am worried more about the climb up (& then down) and how hard it is going to be.

Lunar landscape antigua

My concerns are recognised when we arrive in the car park and kids swarm on us to sell us sturdy sticks for the climb ahead. My best friend shouts me one, for just $1.00. She presents it to me - not a gift I expected she would ever bestow on me! Quite soon we are ascending a steep incline with a weird lunar like terrain. Smoke or mist swirls around us, giving us little visibility. Still I focus on the climb, and not the destination.

We get to a certain point, a couple of hours after we start the guide points out the volcano summit ahead. I think; “yay, we have made it, it is sort of cool.” At this point in Australia, there would be fences and barriers. Signs saying “DANGER. Do not go beyond this point”. I am happy we have reached our destination.

What? Where are we going now? We're climbing higher? Guess bloody what... we are. So we get to the top of the volcano. There is lava, crimson red hot lava, oozing down the side of the volcano. We gather together, in a very small group and ask the guide - “what the fuck is that?”, he answers in Spanish, so none of us understand but for one American chica, and she says “he says to move to the left - QUICKLY”. We do!

Red hot molten lava antigua volcano

So there we gather, behind a rocky outcrop, as large molten boulders cascade down the side of the volcano, on top of the molten lava. Are we having fun yet! My amiga and I decided to stick like glue to the guide, if there is one person coming off the side of this volcano, it will be him!

We then went silly! Separated from the other tour groups, we did a big loop back to where the lava was flowing, and you could do what tourists do – take photos! Our voices were shrill, we spoke fast, our shoes were on fire! Some of the group toasted marshmallows in the lava flow! There were donkeys and horses to take the weary of foot back down (for a price), there were dogs and frivolity. It looks like we will make it out alive!

We make a descent down a different track, and get to slide through some great scree covered peaks. The sunset is spectacular and we are jubilant. We are now out of harms way! It is a steep descent, as it was a steep ascent – my concerns were warranted after all. The trek up and back was about 4 hours in total. Who knows how long we were at the top, amidst a volcano exploding and spewing forth lava and molten rocks. Time stood still.

As we shared a life saving cigarette at the bottom of Pacaya, my words to my best mate were... ”I've done some weird shit with you girlfriend, but this takes the cake!”

No shit Sherlock.


Nomads Hostels

Australia / NZ / Fiji
Australia
Adelaide
Adelaide Travellers Inn
Agnes Water - Town of 1770
1770 Southern Cross
Airlie Beach
Nomads Airlie Beach
Alice Springs
Toddys
Arrawarra
Spot X Surf
Brisbane
Bunk
Byron Bay
Arts Factory Lodge
Nomads Byron Bay
Cairns
Nomads Cairns
Cape Tribulation
Pk's Jungle Village
Coffs Harbour
Plantation Backpackers
Hobart
Tassie Backpackers
Melbourne
Nomads Melbourne
Nomads All Nations
Coffee Palace Backpackers
Noosa
Nomads Noosa
Perth
Billabong
Port Douglas
Parrot Fish Lodge
Surfers Paradise
Islander Backpackers
Sleeping Inn
Sydney
Nomads Westend
Funkhouse
New Zealand
Abel Tasman
Kaiteri Lodge
Auckland
Nomads Auckland
Nomads Fat Camel
Paihia
Bay Adventurer Apartments
Dunedin
On Top Backpackers
Queenstown
Nomads Queenstown
Rotorua
Crash Palace
Taupo
Taupo Urban Retreat
Wellington
Nomads Capital
Fiji
Beachcomber Island
Beachcomber Island Resort
Coral Coast
Beachouse Backpackers
Malolo Island
The Funky Fish Beach Resort
Nadi
Nadi Bay Hotel
Pacific Harbour
Uprising Beach Resort
Yasawa Islands
Mantaray Island Resort
Asia
Thailand
Bangkok
Saphaipae Hostel
Back Home Backpackers
Chiang Mai
Nomads Eco Resort
Koh Phangan
Sarana Bungalows
Koh Tao
Nomads Coral Grand
Phuket
Chill Patong Hotel
Dfeel Hostel
Europe
Spain
Barcelona
Urbany Hostel
Equity Point Centric
Equity Point Gothic
Equity Point Sea
Girona
Equity Point
Portugal
Lisbon
Equity Point
Germany
Berlin
One80º Hostel
UK
Birmingham
Hatters Hostel
Liverpool
Hatters Hostel
London
Clink261 Hostel
Clink78 Hostel
Equity Point London
Manchester
Hatters at Hilton Chambers
Hatters on Newton St
Edinburgh
Smartcityhostels
North America
USA
Las Vegas
Las Vegas Hostel
Los Angeles
Orange Drive Manor Hostel
USA Hostels Hollywood
Samesun LA
Maui
Lahaina's Last Resort
The Tiki Hale
New York
Equity Point
San Diego
Lucky D's
USA Hostels San Diego
San Francisco
USA Hostels San Francisco
Canada
Banff
Samesun Banff
Kelowna
Samesun Kelowna
Revelstoke
Samesun Revelstoke
Vancouver
Samesun Vancouver
Vernon
Silverstar Samesun Ski Lodge
South America
Peru
Cusco
Milhouse
Brazil
Botafogo
El Misti Hostel & Pousada
Buzios
El Misti Hostel Yellow
El Misti Hostel
Copacabana
El Misti Rooms
El Misti Hostel
El Misti House
Ilha Grande
El Misti Hostel
Paraty
El Misti Chill
Rio de Janeiro
El Misti Hostel
Salvador
El Misti Hostel
Argentina
Buenos Aires
Milhouse Avenue
Milhouse Hostel
Africa
South Africa
Cape Town
33 South Boutique
Penthouse On Long
Morocco
Marrakech
Equity Point