Exploring Guatemala’s Pacaya Volcano National Park


| 1/25/2017 4:09:00 PM


Marilyn JonesWhen our tour group arrives, we are immediately surrounded by horses and their owners, each speaking rapid Spanish asking us if we want to ride to the top of the mountain overlooking Pacaya Volcano.

Our Bella Guatemala Travel guides, Jose Antonio Gonzalez and Emilio Faillace, have already arranged for our horses, so we politely make our way past the eager salesmen and their beautiful horses to the Pacaya Volcano National Park headquarters building. Here, we learn that Pacaya is one of the country’s 36 volcanoes, and one of three currently active. Pacaya is actually the most active volcano in Guatemala.

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The park was established to monitor and protect the 8,373-foot volcano that has been erupting continuously since 1965. Most eruptions are small, but a 2010 eruption caused the La Aurora National Airport to shut down, and villages near the volcano were evacuated.

Soon we are paired with horses, and their owners gently encourage them up the steep path. The horses use rocks and tree roots as steps as they pick their way up the slippery incline. We stop halfway up for a beautiful view of the valley before heading once again toward the top.



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