Saturday, April 28, 2012

Today we took a little break from working hard and got up early to hike. Volcan Pacaya is an active volcano about an hour drive from Antigua. Our tour guide, Hugo, told the story of Pacaya’s last eruption, which occurred two years ago. The face of the volcano has changed from when UNC PT first hiked the same trail two years ago, when the side of the mountain was covered in plants and the peak was a perfect point. Now, the volcano is open at the top and the side is covered in black rock.
After trekking for an hour and a half (of course stopping for many photo shoots along the way), we took a break to roast marshmallows and toast some delicious sandwiches in a natural oven in the side of the volcano. Hugo brought along fresh mango, chocolate orange and banana bread, and firecrackers to enjoy with our lunch. On the way back to our cars, we took the scenic route to “ski” down the side of the volcano. Some creativity was involved in everyone figuring out their own technique for descent. After shaking out our shoes, we finished the beautiful hike and headed back to Antigua.
In the afternoon, groups split up to enjoy the town and attend some workshops. Afternoon experiences included learning to make jade jewelry, making your own hot cocoa and chocolate bars from cacao beans, and lounging by a nearby pool. In the evening, the leadership team went to Santo Domingo to enjoy dinner with a nice view while the students stayed near the square and enjoyed some authentic Guatemalan cuisine followed by some bachata dancing.

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