Tourists Risk Lives to See Rivers of Lava
Thousands drawn to glowing rivers, worrying officials
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2010 7:00 AM CDT
People watch the lava flow from the erupting Pacaya volcano in Villa Canales, 31 miles (50 km) south of Guatemala City, Friday, June 4, 2010.   (Rodrigo Abd)
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(Newser) – Thousands of tourists are flocking to Guatemala's Pacaya volcano to see the glowing rivers of lava cascading down its slopes, worrying officials who say they're risking their lives two weeks after a deadly eruption. Pacaya National Park was closed even before the May 27 explosion, which killed a reporter who got too close and was hit by a shower of volcanic rock. But visitors are bypassing the usual route up the mountain and going instead to a private farm in the village of Los Pocitos, where locals will take them to the pyroclastic flows for a $1.25 a head, the AP reports.

"Just this weekend 2,000 people or more came by," said Lourdes Barillas, who oversees the collection of funds—intended to help rebuild the hundreds of homes destroyed by the eruption. The lava puts on a particularly incandescent show at night, attracting both foreign and Guatemalan tourists who say they feel safe because hundreds are still living nearby. Some throw sticks or plantain leaves into the lava to watch them catch fire instantly.

 

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