Old Capital City, Antigua
We showed up in Antigua around dusk with ourselves and Mags intact. While we got some gear out of the truck, she protected us from the alleged street thugs with a brandished machete.
Antigua is very European feeling city. It’s like old Europe, that sort of thing. Considering that Guatemala is very much a third-world country, many people snicker at how Euro they think they are.
Went out for some food, went back to the hotel and met cool people and chatted the night away.
There is a pretty good market in town. Be sure to check around on prices, because they drop quickly. I haggled a shirt down to 45 Q, only to have the next vendor offer it at 45 Q!
Outside of Antigua there's an active volcano, called Pacaya, and they run you up there for about $10. So the next afternoon we jumped on the tour bus and climbed it.
The hike wasn’t too bad for the first hour. It’s your standard trail hiking, moderately strenuous, especially if you’re wearing crappy shoes. It starts out hot, and gets cold by the top, so you have to take a jacket.
We met a bunch of cool people from the hike, including a few that we’d kept up half the night before whooping and hollering the day before. They loved us. Really!
The last 45 minutes or so of the hike is over fresh lava flow, above the tree line. The fact there is a tree line might be lava-related, not elevation related, I am unsure.
Either way, instead of dirt, you’re hiking up lava rocks and lava gravel. This is hard. And it’s cold. And you’re in a cloud, so if you wear glasses you’ve got raindrops covering your lenses constantly.
But it’s worth it. Completely worth it. You can stare right into the cone of the volcano.
There's some amazing video we took. The rocks on the sides of the cone are glowing red, and they break off the sides easily. So when you throw rocks at it, they slough off in an odd way. Throw a giant rock in. It’s cool.
Went back into town, and crashed out. That was tiring!
Our next day was our last in Antigua, so our ever-growing group decided to have one last hurrah. We found a great bar and partied. That’s a good town for it.
The next morning we jumped in the truck and went to Lake Atitlan, hoping for fish.