11-27-2012, 09:30 AM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Interior BC, Canada
Nov 19 More Antigua
Came back to the hotel and there is a bright yellow Ducati parked behind my bike. An extra person sitting behind the desk – turns out he is the owner - of the bike and the hotel. In fact Daryl and his Guatemalan wife own 8 hotels in Antigua which coincidentally is the same number of motorcycles he owns, here and his other home in Tennessee. Nice guy, likes to ride.
This Hotel was converted from an old house. His hotels range from 1 star (Hostel) to 4 star to accommodate almost everybody's taste and budget. Casa Rustica's webpage - at the bottom are links to their other properties. Based on my experience here, I would recommend any of the properties.
One of the reasons I wanted to come to Antigua was to hike up Pacaya Volcano to see flowing lava . For $10 a bus picks you up at your hotel, drives 2 hours to the Vocano which is on the other side of Guatemala City and brings you back about 6 1/2 hours later.
As we travel through Guatemala City, can see Pacaya in the distance emitting a decent steam cloud
Once the bus goes as far as it can, we then hike (wheeze) up a pretty steep road and trail for over an hour,
walk across lava fields
and stop on that little hump in the middle of this picture, well below the top of the peak. Can see steam issuing from the other side.
So, we walk to the top of the peak to see the lava? Uh, no . . . there actually is no flowing lava. This is it! At that point I’m standing there with my mouth agape (which is not unusual – just not drooling this time) going WTF? What happened to all the flowing lava depicted in the pictures at all the travel agents in town and the glowing descriptions of flowing lava? I even went out and bought a crappy pair of shoes as I’d heard reports of people melting the soles of their shoes on the hot rocks. No danger of slipping into molten magma (said with a Dr Evil flourish) – the greatest danger was stumbling and getting an owie on your shin from the sharp solidified lava.
At this point the guide hauls out a bag of marshmallows (and they were those crappy colored, flavored ones), produces some sticks and finds a couple of holes that are hot enough to cook the nasty little puffers and that’s it. Oh well, nice walk.
One of the “hot holes” for roasting marshmallows - I guess if I really wanted some volcano effect I could have stuck my foot in the hole . . . but decided not to.
It was a spectacular view though
. Lights of Guatemala City (Doesn't look dark as the shot was taken with HD mode, whatever that is)
Here are a couple of pics from around Antigua. The modern churches and streets
One way to keep out unwanted visitors
Antigua was founded in 1543 by the Spanish Conquistadors as the third capital of Guatemala. The previous capital which was a few miles away was largely destroyed by a huge mud flow from Volcan de Agua which is one of the three volcanos overlooking Antigua. The other two volcanoes stand together and one, Volcan Fiero, is constantly active but usually just puffing away. It did have a major eruption five years ago which did not harm Antigua. Took this picture from the hotel roof of it having a smoke
The capital was moved to Guatemala City in 1776 when a couple of major earthquakes destroyed Antigua. The historical buildings are in pretty rough shape and largely consist of remnants of the old churches but are nonetheless interesting.