Pacaya volcano - The best day hike to an active volcano in Guatemala
Pacaya volcano is located just south of Guatemala city, around a 1.5 hour drive from Antigua. From the park entrance we hike around 1.5 hours to get to an old crater rim and the first unobstructed view of the Mackenney cone, the currently active part of the Pacaya volcanic complex. During the hike up local guide Fausto explains some of the flora and fauna found on the volcano and his experience of previous eruptions at numerous, well-spaced rest stops.
From the old crater rim we walk down on to the more recent lava flows, stopping on the way to talk about many textbook examples of geological phenomenon associated with Pacaya volcano. I assess the location of the flows on a tour-by-tour basis and only get close to the flowing lava when safe to do so.
I first climbed Pacaya in 2006 and since then the volcano has dramatically changed shape through various phases of growth and collapse. I have "before" and "after" labelled photographs to fully appreciate how this active volcano is changing.
After roasting marshmallows on the lava flows we hike back up the old crater rim where we can hopefully see some small explosions happening within the active crater of the Mackenney cone and, on the afternoon tour, a beautiful sunset down on the coastal plain.
Please note, during wet season (June - November) it is generally best to do the morning trip. There's a better chance of getting a view before the clouds come in and less likely to get rained on...
Itinerary - morning trip
Leave Antigua - 07:30
Arrive Pacaya park entrance - 09:30
Arrive at old crater rim - 11:00
Roast marshmallows - 12:00
Arrive back at park entrance - 14:00
Arrive in Antigua - 15:30
Itinerary - afternoon trip
Leave Antigua - 13:30
Arrive at Pacaya park entrance - 15:00
Arrive at old crater rim - 16:30
Roast marshmallows - 17:30
Arrive back at park entrance - 19:30
Arrive in Antigua - 21:00
1-2 people: Q1800 ($240)
3 people: Q1900 ($250)
4 people: Q2000 ($270)
5 people: Q2250 ($305)
For larger groups please ask for a quote
Marshmallows for roasting on lava
What to bring
Water and snacks
Head-torch/flashlight for afternoon hike
Sunscreen and bug-spray