Sunday, 20 December 2015

Guatemala: Magnificent Seven Volcanoes in Two Weeks

A few photos taken on a two week trekking holiday to the Western Highlands of Guatemala in the first half of December.  The trip was structured around treks up seven of Guatemala's volcanoes and run by Old Town Outfitters in Antigua in the southwest of the country.  Our three guides - Luis, Ricardo and Arnoldo - were outstanding.


A pizzeria in Antigua with Acatenango and erupting Fuego in background
Antigua was the capital city of Guatemala until the latter part of the Eighteenth Century.  In 1773 two earthquakes wrecked much of Antigua and so the Spanish colonists moved their centre of power to what's now much less lovely Guatemala City.  Even after dark, walking around the centre (in a group) felt safe.

Santa Catalina arch on 5 Ave Norte with Volcan Agua looming over the city

Volcan de Pacaya

Closer to Guatemala City than Antigua, this was the first volcano we visited although we didn't climb to its active summit.  Lava flows poured out of the crater most recently in 2013 and 2010.

Enough heat comes to the surface of old lava for toasting marshmallows

Acatenango and Volcan Fuego

Fuego, from campsite on Acatenango
The day before we started to climb Acatenango, lava was spluttering out of Fuego's crater and large avalanches of ash were cascading down its slopes.

A hefty ash explosion, seen from the camp near Acatenango's summit

Dead pines trees and cloud on the way up Acatenango

Campsite with a view, at 3,500 metres

Sunrise as seen from Acatenango's crater rim.

View westwards towards other volcanoes we will climb

Our group at official summit, 3976 metres above sea level

Porter's dog summits

Delicious feast for lunch before trek onto Fuego

Towards the end of the slog from Acatenango to the saddle of Fuego

Behind me is guide Arnoldo at our closest approach to Fuego's summit

The Temple of San Simon in San Andreas Itzapa

Volcan Zunil

View from Zunil's summit towards Volcan Santa Maria

Young hummingbird not long out of its nest

Travelling superstar Richard, an inspiration to us all at 77 years

Campsite on Zunil's ridge

A cold and windy night 

Sunrise at the summit, looking southeast to Lake Atitlan

I think this is called a fogbow

Volcan Santa Maria with view into Santiaguito

Tujamulco - The Highest Point in Central America

A few minutes before sunrise at 4,220 metres.

San Pedro and Lake Atitlan


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