This was my first real big adventure. I spent eight days in Guatemala climbing active volcanoes and seeing some of the beauty the country has to offer. I spent most of my time in the second largest city Quetzaltenango, which is at the base of The Santa Maria Volcano, the 4th highest Volcano in Guatemala at 3772 metres above sea level. It’s still active and last erupted early 2011.
With my guide in tow, and starting at around 1200 metres above sea level, I set off to climb my first ever volcano in the hope I’d reach its summit in the clear morning sky. At 4am, with my head torch switched on I hiked up the volcano and reached its peak in a little under two hours (not bad for what is normally a four hour trip). Unfortunately it was a rare overcast rainy day, and the only thing I could see from the top of the volcano was my guide and some cows. Their owner had put them at the top of the volcano to stop thieves from stealing them!
A few days of travelling later I arrived at Lake Atitlan, it’s the most spectacular lake I’ve seen, surrounded by volcanoes on all sides, with the clearest water you could imagine. After a day of cruising around the lake in water taxis and visiting local communities I arrived in Antigua. I went to Antigua to ascend one of the most active volcanoes in recent times, Pacaya. Although only standing at 2552 metres high and a relatively easy climb, Pacaya has some spectacular lava flows, and steamy trails to walk along, a truly amazing site. One week after I was on top of Pacaya it erupted violently, causing a red alert for the surrounding communities.
With a couple of nights stopover in Guatemala City, my first big adventure was an amazing success, giving me a hunger to see more of this beautiful planet we live on.