I nevered imagined that I would be able to climb an active volcano and come within just a few yards of freely flowing lava, but that's exactly what I did. After "skiing" down the pumice field, we were close enough to the lava to hear it crackling, feel its heat, and even throw rocks into it. We remained up there until sunset, and walked down in the dark. There are spectacular views of some small towns and even the sprawling Guatemala City in the clear, darkm star-filled sky. If you go on this optional excursion, be ready for a rather strenuous uphill hike, and bring a flashlight for the trip down! If you tire on the way up, though, there are plenty of enterprising young men with "horse taxis" who will take you up the hill for a small fee.