After around 7 weeks in warm and humid places it was a relief to arrive the small mountain village Antigua in Guatemala and finally breathe some fresh air again. With cosy streets everywhere, colorful houses, picturesque architecture, friendly people and surrounded by volcanoes – I liked this place on instant. Since I only had 4-5 days in Guatemala, I chose this city because of it’s good reputation and also that it’s near to Guatemala’s most spectacular attraction: the Acatenango Volcano.
Meeting up with some Australian people I met in El Salvador we decided to do a two-day hike up this volcano 4000 meters above sea level, which is a pretty tough altitude, especially when you have spent the last 7-8 weeks at sea level. I’m glad I did a challenging hike in Nicaragua so my legs were somewhat prepared for things to come. From the start it was STRAIGHT up for about 4 hours with 25-30 kilo of packing, starting on 2400 meters above sea level to were we set camp on 3600 meters above sea level. The hike up was warm due to the steepness and the good weather, but as soon as the sun went down it got blistering cold – and beautiful. First we could enjoy a spectacular sunset and then we got to see the volcano Fuego erupt multiple times. Spitting out lava and sounding like a massive explosion this really was an unique experience.
At 4 AM we started the approach towards the summit at 3976 meters above sea level to see the sunset at 05.30 AM. I’ve been on higher mountains many times, but never as cold as this. I guess around 4-5 minus degrees Celsius and a harsh wind blowing made it really cold, even though I was proper dressed with wind-stoppers and even a down jacket. The sunrise was short but beautiful, before the clouds came and blocked so to speak all the view.
Back in town I had 1,5 days left before leaving for Belize. The plan for this time was: doing nothing. Or at least not more than just stroll around the streets, enjoying the weather, some good juices and tasty food. It’s very cheap here and the food was amazing – and I never use superlatives unless when I really mean it. These 1,5 days was really good – ironic enough even better than hiking the volcano, even if that also was an epic adventure. I met a Danish girl also traveling on her own. Though she “only” is away for two months, we agreed that sometimes the best days are the days when you have no plans and no big highlights, but just enjoy the everyday-life and do whatever you feel like doing. The best things in life are free and small details can make big difference.
After 4-5 days in the mountains, I’m now looking forward to some crystal clear water in the Caribbean and since I’m going to a small island I hope the breeze will make sure it’s not too humid. Time will tell, as always.