Climbing Pacaya is an amazing thing to do, but it's very dangerous. Make sure you follow your guide and only walk where they do. If you walk the wrong way you could be in serious danger. Also, be very careful as the lava rocks can crack or move. The gases that are at the top are not good to breathe in, although if you're up there you probably won't be able to avoid them. It burns to breathe them in!! The cooled lava is really sharp. I didn't even fall and I still ended up with a bloody leg from brushing up against a rock.
My visit to the Pacaya Volcano definitely was a fantastic and exciting experience. But I must be honest: there were times in the crater when I was afraid and I was lucky when I finally came of the lava.
Because the lava in the crater was only 14 days old when I walked over it, it still felt warm under my feet. No problem if it wasn't cracking all the time I stepped my feet on it. When you know that if the lava-layer breaks, you will step in the fluid lava underneath, that is not a nice idea.
Besides this the whole surface of the lava is very rough and difficult to walk on. There are big cracks in the lava, some loose rocks and big differences in height. When you wear good and solid shoes and when you use a stick that you can rent, you solve a part of the problem. But still it is a dangerous area.
When you see that there is only one guide with about 20 people, there is no way this guide and pay attention to all the people following him. To my opinion it is very dangerous to walk here and it is irresponsible to go there with only one guide.
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WALKING ON COOLED LAVA CAN BE RISKY
IF YOU'D LIKE TO GET CLOSE UP TO MOLTEN LAVA THEN YOU'RE MORE LIKELY HAVE TO HIKE ALONG THE LAVA FIELDS WHICH IS RISKY COS YOU CAN EASILY HURT YOURSELF. THE COOLED LAVA ITSELF IS VERY UNSTABLE TO WALK ON WHICH CAN RESULT TO YOU SLIPPING ALL THE TIME, AND IF YOU HAPPEN TO GRAB HOLD OF A BIT OF COOLED LAVA YOU WILL CUT YOURSELF A BIT AS COOLED LAVA CAN BE A BIT LIKE HOLDING A LOAD OF SMALL BROKEN GLASS FRAGMENTS.
IF IT HAPPENS TO GET HOT IN PLACES WHILE WALKING ON THE LAVA FIELDS THEN YOU'RE EITHER WALKING ON THINNER CRUSTS OF COOLED LAVA OR YOU COULD BE RIGHT NEAR MOLTEN LAVA ITSELF, RESULTING IN THE SOLES OF YOUR SHOES TO MELT A BIT.
IF YOU HAPPEN TO STEP ON GROUND THAT SUDDENLY FEELS HOLLOW LIKE AN EGG SHELL THEN STAY AWAY! AS THEY COULD BE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS.
IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE STUCK ON THE LAVA FIELDS WHEN NIGHT FALLS THEN THAT'S WHEN YOU SHOULD REALLY START TO WORRY AS YOU NEED TO SEE WHERE YOU GOING. IF YOU COME UP AT NIGHT OR IN THE LATE AFTERNOON WHEN THERE'S A CHANCE NIGHT WILL FALL WHILE UP THERE YOU BETTER MAKE SURE YOU BRING A TORCH WITH YOU. RELY ON YOUR GUIDE TO KNOW WHERE YOU GOING.
WE ENDED UP COMING TO PACAYA DURING LATE AFTERNOON (WITHOUT A GUIDE) AND I GOT KINDA WORRIED BECAUSE IT GOT DARK WHILE WE WERE STILL ON THE LAVA FIELDS REDUCING VISIBILITY. IT'S JUST AS WELL WE HAPPENED TO BUMP INTO A TOUR GROUP WITH GUIDE ON THE WAY!
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DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE DANGERS OF PACAYA
AS EXCITING IT IS TO CLIMB UP PACAYA, WHEN YOU REACH THE ACTIVE CONE AND START TO CLIMB YOU'LL FIND THAT DUE TO THE HUGE AMOUNT OF LOOSE ROCKS AND DIRT EVERY 2 STEPS YOU MAKE YOU SLIDE A STEP BACK. IT ALSO KIND OF AFFECTS YOUR BALANCE THE STEEPER YOU GO SO BE CAREFUL NOT TO FALL AS IT COULD RESULT IN SERIOUS INJURY OR EVEN DEATH.
WHEN YOU REACH THE TOP AND INTO THE CRATER, DO NOT BREATH IN ANY GASES AS SULPHER DIOXIDE FUMES IS POISONOUS. THE SULPHER DIOXIDE STEAM IS ALSO SO DENSE THAT YOU CAN'T SEE A THING SO IT IS IMPORTANT YOU DO NOT WALK ANY FURTHER INTO THE CRATER AT A POINT OF WHERE YOU SEE THE FUMES. IT COULD RESULT TO FATAL CONSEQUENCES.
TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY, YOU CAN GO UP INTO PACAYA AS FAR AS IT LET'S YOU GO BUT IS IMPORTANT TO USE COMMON SENSE AT ALL TIMES.
ALSO TAKE A BOTTLE OF WATER WITH YOU AS DEHYDRATION CAN BE AN ISSUE THERE. BUT DO NOT DRINK AT THE TOP OF THE VOLCANO AS WATER TURNS INTO ACID WHEN MIXED WITH SULPHER DIOXIDE FUMES.
TIP: THE BEST WAY TO WALK UP THE VOLCANO IS TO MAKE SMALL STEPS AT A TIME AND ALSO TO STEP INTO ANY FOOTPRINTS YOU SEE ON THE SLOPE. THIS WAY, IT'LL REDUCE SLIDING BACKWARDS
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