Nice page. You might work a description of the routes into the text on the main page.
Page has been adopted and revised. Feel free to re-visit.
I have climbed Pacaya six times in the last year and have gotten to know many of the local guides. There have been no reported robberies on this volcano for some time now. There is a permanent police presence on the volcano. Because it is such a popular volcano and the local residents derive a significant income from serving all the tourists, there is little incentive to kill the golden calf. Everyone on the volcano works hard to keep it safe and clean. Also, the trail is so well marked that a guide is no longer necessary.
coordinates for San Francis de Sales? I can't seem to find it on any maps by that name. Is it perhaps also called Montufar? I went up Pacaya from there on a tour, and seems to be in about the right place judging from the route descriptions. Thanks.
The coordinates are 14°24'15.44N and 90°36'19.63N These are actually the coordinates to the trail head which is in San Francis de Sales. Sometimes the maps call the village Montufar. If you go to my page og old topo maps from Guatemala, you can see San Francis de Sales as wel as the origial trail up the volcano. Hope that helps.
The text is misleading. It seems like you should take a bus to Palin from Antigua, but it actually refers to Guatemala I assume. From Antigua we had to take one to Escuintla (Q8), from there to KM 37 (Q5) and from there to San Francisco (Q5), but this took an amazing time of nearly 3h (!!!) even if we switched busses very smoothly, mostly because the bus to Escuintla takes one hour bakes of passing small villages, and the bus from Km 37 to San Francisco goes past San Vicente de Pacaya where it stopped for nearly 30 minutes, and overall it goes very slowly along the dirt road. The trip from Km 37 to San Francisco took nearly 2 hours for a trip of 10 km!! We are lucky to have crossed a group of Guatemalans who brought us by car to San Lucas where we could catch a fast bus to Antigua. From Antigua I would never recommend to go by public transport as it costs Q18, and the shuttle is only Q25 and is a lot faster.
Another point is that they do not let you enter the park without a guide! We were 3 Guatemalans and 3 foreigners (speaking perfect Spanish and living in Guatemala), who were fighting 30 minutes with them as they persisted us to hire a guide for Q200. After all they agreed to sell us reduced price entrances (Guatemalans Q10 and foreigners Q20) and we hired the guide. On the trail we met a police and talked with him about the situation, him explaining that actually we can do the hike if we go to the office to make a paper where we don't take any responsibility if anything happens. So it can be done. There is absolutely no possibility to get lost. I recommend to hike up also "Cerro Chino" from where you can see the Laguna Caldera. Be careful of hot lava spots though.
We hiked from the first spot before San Francisco, "La Corona", which was spectacular.