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Roasting Marshmallows on a Volcano!

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Pacaya Volcano, Antigua Nicaragua

This was a great adventure, that we still talk about. It takes about 2 or 3 hours to climb up the volcano.  There are horses available to help anyone who would like a little help climbing up to the volcano fields.  Two locals with horses followed us almost the whole way, sure that the kids were going to get tired and want to ride the horses instead of hiking.  Honestly, I think that Madison was too afraid of riding the horse up the steep trail and decided that she liked walking better. My kids were 8 1/2 when were there and didn’t have any problem climbing up or down, but they did slept the whole way back to Antigua.
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The most memorable part our journey was roasting marshmallows over the lava vents. We used a very long stick as you can literally see the heat vapors rising off of them. It is best to go with a guide as they take climbers up the volcano all the time and tell you where it is safe to walk. Our guide would walk ahead of us and then tell us the safest way to walk. We did not go all the way to the top as it gets harder to climb, especially with kids in tow.

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We stayed away from the lava flow, but we could still see a little lava coming down from the crater higher above us. Another one of the highlights of this trek was running down the lava fields. The kids felt like they were running on the moon. Hiking Pacaya was one of the highlights of our Central America trip. I would definitely recommend this trek as long as you have the proper guide to keep you safe.  I did a lot of research before our trip and made sure that we went on a day that it was not rainy, as lighting can be a factor.  We also went early in the day so we had plenty of time to get up and down before it got dark.  I read more than a few reports about how hard it is to get  down from the volcano in the dark.  There are also overnight trips that camp on the volcano.  A quick day trip was plenty for us.

TIPS:

Make sure the kids have some hand protection.  My kids wore bicycle gloves so their fingers were free, but there was protection if they put their hands out to steady themselves. The volcanic rock can be like glass and it can easily give you a big gash.  Be sure to bring some band aids, Neosporin and a small first aid spray with you just in case someone gets cut.  Lastly, be sure to wear closed toed shoes.  My daughter wore her Keens and we had to stop every few feet over some parts of the trail to empty out her shoes.

HOW WE DID IT:

We used OX Outfitters in Antigua to set up the whole trip.  Since I wasn’t sure how fast we were going to be climbing, we opted for a private excursion.  They provided the van to get there,  lunch on the volcano and the marshmallows.

Here is our Latin American video that show our hike up Pacaya.



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