Exploring Antigua, Taking a Guatemalan Cooking Class, and Hiking Mt. Pacaya
This trip to Guatemala was my first organized group trip. Six strangers met for the first time to travel a foreign country together, mixing service with adventure, all while being filmed by a YouTube influencer…
It was very much a Road Rules experience of the 21st century.
Walking Tour of Antigua
I arrived in Guatemala City on Saturday morning, over 12 hours after my initial arrival time due to a scheduling mishap that was completely my fault. Kristen was also caught in a long layover in Ecuador. Due to the scheduling mishaps, the group took it easy that first day and casually toured Antigua.
Diego took us on a walking tour of Antigua, which included the St. Catalina Arch, the Santo Domingo Church and Monastery, a short hike up to the lookout point at Cerro de la Cruz, and a trip to the local market.
While we were at the market, Fran took it upon herself to try one of Guatemala’s cuisines—Ceviche de Criadillas, or in English, raw bull testicles. Of course I’m not one to back down from a new experience, so I shared a bowl with her.
Dinner Time—Taking a Guatemalan Cooking Class
I’ve come across cooking classes in other countries but never saw the point in partaking in them. Big mistake. Taking a cooking class in another country helps you appreciate the staple ingredients that go into the food you eat, and helps you learn more about the county’s national resources. And don’t forget the yummy food you get to share with an awesome group of people.
Cooking dinner together gave us all the opportunity to get to know each other. The rooftop view and beautiful weather didn’t hurt either!
After enjoying the dinner that we made, a few of us headed out for a night out on the town, which was the perfect way to end our first night in Guatemala. You know, before waking up at 7am the next morning to hike an active volcano.
Hiking Mt Pacaya
Mt Pacaya is one of Central America’s most active volcanoes. Known for its lava rivers erupting down its edges, Pacaya is located about an hour away from Antigua by car, and takes about 4-6 hours to hike.
The hike starts with lush, tree-lined vegetation near the base, which eventually clears to reveal a rough landscape of lava rock. Because of the amount of volcanic activity, you can’t hike all the way up to the crater, but you can hike closely enough to roast marshmallows in the ground!
Be careful as you hike down though! The descent is pretty steep and a few of us ended up slipping and scratching ourselves up on the lava rock.
All in all, hiking Pacaya was a rewarding experience. I’ve found that every volcano I’ve hiked has been drastically different and have definitely gained an appreciation for them.
After Pacaya, we grabbed lunch to go and headed east for the service part of our trip in Chiquimula.