Today, part of the group’s day started very early. Nine of us were picked up at 5am to participate in a sunrise hike to the volcano, Pacaya. Interestingly enough our group was able to take a different route than the previous year’s group, due to the volcano’s largest eruption in recorded history last year. The other side of the volcano is now inaccessible and new routes were created to continue the adventures. Amazingly, the areas affected by the volcanic eruption are returning to their previous beauty, with little evidence of the previous year’s events. The group was able to learn a very interesting history of the volcanos in the area from our amazing guide, Hugo. On our hike we were able to make our own coffee and toast our own bread on lava rocks, which were heated from lava flowing from beneath. After a rather steep hike, we were able to see an amazing view of the surrounding areas and the volcanos. Instead of returning down the mountain the way we came, Hugo told us we were going to “lava ski” down the mountain. Quite literally, descending the volcano was like skiing moguls. The rest of the group participated in many activities including jewelry making with jade and village exploration. The afternoon was spent relaxing and exploring Antigua further. For dinner, part of the group visited Santo Domingo, which is a hotel/restaurant converted from a monastery. The group enjoyed a 5-star meal, with the option for an 8-course dinner for less than $40! Today was another amazing day in a completely different way. The group is looking forward to our adventures tomorrow at Lake Atitlan before returning to the hospital on Monday morning.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Group shot with Pacaya in the background
"Lobo", our friend for the hike. Hugo told us Lobo is one of many dogs who"belong to the volcano". They are able to sense an impending eruption and signal for danger. Therefore, if Lobo starts running down the volcano, you start running down the volcano.
Our "oven" to toast bread: rocks heated by lava.
The group "skiing" on lava ash down the side of the volcano.
Our seats for the drive up and down the volcano. Interestingly enough, there were plenty of seats available on the inside of the truck!
One of the entrees at Santo Domingo! Muy bueno!!