We rolled into the Antigua tourist police compound with our brakes steaming a little, our first task was to chat to the policeman and find a mechanic. While our rotors were being turned and front brake pads sourced, we explored the former capital and world heritage city.
The city is very walkable filled with Spanish schools, cafe’s and any type of food you desire, oh and lots of beautiful old buildings to admire.
A fun thing about Guatemala is its constant earthquake activity. We had the pleasure (?) of experiencing (well noticing) two while in Antigua. First one was at night when I was convinced someone was bouncing on the bush rack of the truck, the other time was while having coffee I thought a big truck was parked outside, only to look up and see no truck. Dan also pointed out that big trucks don’t typically shake buildings.
We decided that we had to hike one of the three volcanos surrounding the city, unfortunately due to a recent robbery of 23 tourists on one volcano we were urged by our new policemen friends to go with an organised tour (that the police would be escorting). We decided that since we were going to be paying for a guide we would go full on and do the overnight hike (especially knowing that Hulk would be safe on his own over night). Did I mention we were camping in the tourist police compound?
We went with OX Adventures, to climb Volcan Acatenango, at 13,045 feet it’s the 3rd highest volcano in Guatemala, the other bonus is that it overlooks the nearby Volcan Fuego which is still active. After a somewhat gruelling hike to our campsite, we were treated to a beautiful panoramic view. We sat back and watched the clouds dance over Fuego, with a few eruptions mixed in. A couple were so big we could hear them and then spot giant rocks flying from the smoke. But the best was yet to come, after setting up our tent (once again with police neighbours) we climbed into bed and left the door open to the tent so the we could witness any night eruptions. I wish I could properly describe the amazingness that is an erupting volcano in the dark. It was awesome. Usually we could hear the eruptions starting which would wake us up and we’d enjoy the show from the comfort of our down sleeping bags. We were awoken many times during the night but we’re not upset once, watching glowing red lava cascade down the volcano was incredible and worth the interruption.
At 4:30am we set off for the summit of Acatenango to see the sunrise, it was a tough climb up steep loose scree, but eventually we made it to the top and watched a gorgeous sunrise. And then we ran around the crater, yes that’s right we ran around the crater rim at nearly 4000 metres. Why, you might ask? Well because we got a free t-shirt that said we’d done it. Besides it was only 675 metres, although much hillier than expected, the only rule was that you had run the whole way, not easy for someone who likes to walk up hill, not run. Anyway Dan finished in a blistering 4:20 and I trailed in a little later with a 5:06 and then gagged a little, next time I’ll eat breakfast first.