Volcano activity in Guatemala - News just in from Old Roser

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sun, 03/02/2014 - 20:25.

The following just came in to my email from OldRoser with request to post due to technical difficulties on the Central America end:

 Subject: Yes, Volcano Pacaya is erupting, but it is 15.5 miles from Antigua

Date: Sun, 02 Mar 2014 16:22:23 -0600
I haven't even seen any dust or the plume.
However, 30,000 were evacuated and planes have been diverted, as it lies between Antigua and Guatemala City. I am making a quick three day trip to Panama City, which is hot, humid and has more little mosquitoes than here, only to get some things a lawyer there has in safekeeping. Good think I bought travel insurance!! It was cheaper to stay three days and pay for a hotel and travel insurance than to go and come back in one day. 
I didn't want to spend a lot of money, but I lucked out. This three star hotel, Courtyard Inn and Suites El Dorado, Avenue Miguel Brostelle, Blvd. Dorado, near the Canal ( there is another one by the Canal, more expensive) was listsed at $71 up on tripadvisor.com, but I went directly to the hotel's website, and when I entered senior citizen, a Jubilado rate popped, $54. I called and said I was a senior citizen but didn't have the pensionado (reitree) in Panama, livedin Guatemala, and they said, sure I could have it. According to the reviews, it is very clean, the free breakfast is excellent and all you can eat. The rooms look nice, they have a free shuttle service to the airport and to the largest mall, Albrook, which is the the local, not the international, airport. I won't go, it is too big, but there is a smaller mall nearby.
Take a look: 
I have seen estimates of how far away it is that range from 25-44 km away, but 15.5 miles away seems agreed upon. It is so far away, I can't even see the erruption, which is very high.
BBC reports "Volcanologists said powerful eruptions were catapulting burning rocks as high as 1,000m (3,280ft) above the crater and lava was flowing down its slopes. 

Local residents reported how the roaring of the volcano shook windows and roofs in nearby villages.

Experts say the eruption of the Fuego, 50km (31 miles) south-west of Guatemala City, is the biggest since 1999."

This is the active volcano that most people who want to climb an active volcano climb.
"Seeing a volcano erupt is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and in Guatemala, you can actually climb one and feel the heat of it as it erupts.  No, I'm not crazy! 

Pacaya is around 30 km south of Guatemala City and is surrounded by thee volcanoes: Agua, Fuego and Acatenago, which are all good options for a hike.  Nearby Antigua has gorgeous, classical buildings, with hundreds of churches and colourful houses.  Antigua hosts special holy weeks, where the ground is carpeted with flowers (made to look like carpets, for the procession to walk on), so if you're looking for something special to see, you might want to visit during them. (Eventualkly I hope to post pictures I took of Holy Thursday, beautiful!)

The hike is no mean feat, taking around 2-3 hours of carefully picking your way up the volcano, but you'll be in good hands with the Pacaya tour company.  Steaming eruption remnants will fill your path as you make your way up the precarious slopes, and the ground will get very hot, so make sure you wear proper hiking boots! 

You can then stand at the dormant cone and watch as nature takes it's course.  The active vent will spew red hot lava and intermittently throw it up into the air in a spectacle better than any man-made fireworks show on earth.  

Make no mistake, this tour is not for the faint-hearted and going up without a guide is not recommended; eruptions vary, and you never know if the next one could be a big one.  For peace of mind, volcanic activity can be checked at the tourist office in Antigua.  It's also very important to wear proper, thick-soled hiking boots and be very aware of your surroundings as you climb; watch where you are going and keep vigilant."
This site  www.smh.com.au/travel/worlds-15-best-places-to-watch-the-sun-rise-and-set-20140226-33h5f.html  has a picture of hikers on Pacaya, where it is described as one of the 15 most beautiful places in teh world to watch a sunset, or sunrise. A hiker describes the sensation of being on an active volcano, where a marshmellow on a stick sizzles.
According to this  www.volcanodiscovery.com/volcano-activity/news/42891/Volcanic-activity-worldwide-25-Feb-2014-Etna-Marsili-Seamount-Pacaya-Kelud-Ibu-Tungurahua-Kilauea.html, a lot of volcanos in the Ring of Fire around the Pacific are errupting right now.
I am about to work on the 8.1 fix, tonight I hope. That and my  not feeling very well yet due to newly discovered pre-diabetes, is why I haven't called. Please understand, I just have not felt up to it.
Love from the land of Eternal Spring,
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