A lavalovers dream!
I hiked up Acatenango under an Easter full moon in March 2016. It is one of the most popular hikes in Guatemala and it did not fail to impress me!
The hike takes two days with an overnight at Acatenango. This means that each of us had to carry their water, food and camping equipment. Walking up a steep mountain is one thing, but doing with a full backpack is quite a different thing. I will never forget the gallon of water that took up most of the space in my backpack and made this exercise unforgettable.
Halfway up the mountain, our guides told us that we would camp at the extinct crater of Acatenango instead of using the normal camping site below. This meant we had to climb an extra hour through the sand and the gravel that form the upper part of this volcano with the night closing in on us.
I will remember eternally cursing my ambitious ideas, the gallon of water and myself as I was gasping for oxygen in the thin air. But it was to late to turn back and so I fought through the sand, thinking constantly about the old Argentinian tango joke: On step forward, two steps backward!
Somehow, I managed to reach the top before the light completely disappeared and I happily reunited with my group. They were also glad to see me again. I guess it helped that I had the poles for the tent in my backpack.
From there on the enjoyable part of this experience started. After we had set up the tents, one of the guides appeared with a huge load of firewood. We made a great fire, cooked soup and even some hot chocolate later on. The moon rose and Fuego erupted frequently, about every 30 minutes. To my surprise, this happened together with a loud explosion and the smell of sulfur.
After dinner, I wandered around the rim of the crater, ready to take a photo of Fuego erupting. I was wrapped up in my sleeping bag and I had a bottle of rum to keep myself warm. Maybe it was because of the rum but I started to feel like being on the Moon, on Mars or somewhere utterly out of this world. Everything became unreal in the thin air and the proximity of the erupting volcano Fuego.