pacaya volcano

A power selfie by MerlynDuring a recent week in Guatemala, I climbed the Pacaya Volcano with friends from Miami Beach.  It is one of Guatemala’s three active volcanoes, having erupted 23 times since the Spanish conquest, the most recent in 2010 when the cap was blown off, with lava pouring out in 2013.  To see and feel the earth being formed – in a similar way to the Mississippi delta always expanding the profile of the United States – is an awe-inspiring sight, as though there at the creation.

It was a stiff climb up, 1,000 ft in elevation lift, to the larger crater’s rim at 7,200 ft.  During the 2010 eruption, ash spread far, closing down the country’s airport in Guatemala City.  Years after the last eruption, the lava flow is still cooling down, steam puffing up everywhere, as though feeding the clouds.  Luckily, the only thing toasted on our trip were the marshmallows.  [see thumbnails for captions]

About ben

Ben Batchelder has traveled some of the world's most remote roads. Nothing in his background, from a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies at Harvard to an MBA from Wharton, adequately prepared him for the experiences. Yet he persists, for through such journeys life unfolds. Having published four books that map the inner and exterior geographies of meaningful travel, he is a mountain man in Minas Gerais, Brazil who comes down to the sea at Miami Beach, Florida. His second travel yarn, To Belém & Back, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. For more, visit

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