Third time lucky in Guatemala..

My third time in Guatemala to finish off the sights I had yet to explore..

My first day in Antigua, Guatemala, I went on an organised tour which visited various places such as where the chicken busses get done up, coffin maker and a school which was run by a NGO. Afterwards I explored the streets of Antigua and came across the impressive Santa Dominica and walked through the massive markets.. Antigua was cold.

Antigua streets2
Streets of Antigua..

Ran into a couple who I had met in El Tunco so we went out for brekky and then once again I made my way back to the markets to stock up on warm clothes in preparation for my hike up Volcano Acatenango the following day. Met the other people on my hike who both happened to both be Aussies and then early night in after packing my bag to take on the hike. We had to carry our own food, water, clothes and camping equipment. My bag was heavy, very heavy.

Big brekky with Tara and Andre to prepare for the hike and then we had a bus ride to the start of the Volcano where we got our first ‘before’ photo and picked up our hiking sticks. We started at 11am. Three Aussies and our local tour guide, Alonzo.

'Before' we started our hike.
‘Before’ we started our hike.

Bit of a hard start hiking up a steep climb on loose gravel and then we were in jungle cover where it got quite chilly.

Of course, the higher we climbed the colder it was and our lunch stop was next to a much needed fire to help warm us up – I did not take enough layers. An alcoholic shot of some type was passed round which helped us warm up instantly.

Locals taking the 'easy' way down through the clouds..
Locals taking the ‘easy’ way down through the clouds..

Pushing on up and through the clouds, after a few rest stops, we made it to our camp base at 1730. When the clouds cleared we had the most incredible view of the active Volcano Fuego right next to us. The skies provided us with a beautiful sunset looking over Guatemala and the Volcano Fuego erupting next to us. Bliss.

Our camp set up..
Our camp set up..

After we had just set up camp, one of the other tour guides came over and asked if we wanted to also climb Volcano Fuego later that evening. Well we couldn’t miss out and say no, who would say no to another 4 hours of hiking?! No regrets.

Well now this was a climb, we went back down a section of Acatenango and then up Volcano Fuego to sit in the freezing cold waiting for it to erupt. And we were in luck, it had a small eruption at first so everyone jumped up and then it was shortly followed by a massive eruption of lava and volcanic rock –I even managed to catch a pretty cool photo.

Fuego Volcano!
Fuego Volcano!

Once we made the climb back down Fuego and once again up Acatenango, it was dinnertime of chicken noodle soup and a few shots of alcohol to warm us back up whilst we sat around the campfire. Early to bed, fully clothed, ready for the final climb in the early hours of the morning.

Up at 4am to hike the hardest part of the trail to reach the summit. Loose gravel made it that much harder but we pushed on through and were rewarded with stunning views – we could see all the way to the Pacific Coast and to the other side, Lake Atitlan.

Sunrise
Sunrise looking towards the Pacific Coast..

Incredible sunrise but it was freeeeeeezing with the wind chill added so took our pictures, enjoyed the sunrise and made our way back down to camp – funnily enough, so much quicker going down the gravel than up..

Fuego puffing away..
Fuego puffing away..

After brekky and enjoying a few more rumbles from Fuego we packed up camp and made the journey back down in only 3.5 hours being cautious not to slip down. This hike is definitely an accomplishment for me.

The view from our tent..!
The view from our tent..!

Once we arrived back in Antigua it was a mad rush to get my things together, have a shower, grab some food to then jump on the bus for San Pedro on Lake Atitlan.

The 'after' photo - exhausted..!
The ‘after’ photo – exhausted..!

Andre joined me to San Pedro and we found a hostel (Mr Mullets), dropped our bags and sat down for a delicious dinner of pupusas and tacos. After a couple of beers at the hostel bar with a few Brits and Aussies and having a little listen to the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown (Australia Day back home) I completely passed out for some well deserved sleep.

The next day was spent with fellow Australians celebrating Australia Day by the Lake listening to some epic tunes, eating some Aussie food on the bbq and just enjoying with new friends. My day wasn’t too big as my body was still achy from the climb and just exhausted.

San Pedro on Australia Day
San Pedro on Australia Day

The next day I explored the town of San Pedro with a few others and jumped on a boat to San Marcos where two of the Aussie girls I spent Christmas and New Years with were staying at a yoga retreat. They showed me around to some cool spots they had discovered and we ate a yummy lunch before I wandered the streets some more and headed back to San Pedro on the last boat of the day.

Looking over Lake Atitlan from San Marcos..
Looking over Lake Atitlan from San Marcos..

It was an early night in preparation for another hike up Indian’s Nose, again for sunrise. Very small hike compared to what we had done a few days previous but still had me breathless especially in the chilled air.

Another incredible sunrise and we could see Volcano Fuego puffing away in the distance.

Back down for some food and goodbyes before I hopped on a bus back to Antigua for my last night in Guatemala. Another walk around the town before eating some food and packing my bags for the last time – it was a tight squeeze.

The chicken busses of Guatemala..
The chicken busses of Guatemala..

It was another early morning bus to the airport in Guatemala City to my final destination of Cayman Islands. Time to get back to reality, but this time on an island in the middle of the Caribbean…

Sunrise over Lake Atitlan from the Indian's Nose..
Sunrise over Lake Atitlan from the Indian’s Nose..

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