In a country where wood is the primary domestic fuel source, there’s little appeal to roasting marshmallows around an open campfire. But that isn’t to say Guatemalans don’t have their own way of enjoying a good s’more (marshmallow sandwich), as our reporter Chase Collum recently discovered while visiting the Central American nation for an infrastructure conference in the colonial city of Antigua.
As is common in the region, Guatemala is home to several volcanoes, and surrounding the city of Antigua are four of them, two of which have been active in recent years — Fuego and Pacaya.
After a mildly arduous 8,373-foot (2,552-metre) Saturday afternoon ascent, our intrepid reporter entered the awe-inspiring, Mordor-esque field of steaming volcanic rock, leftovers from eruptions in 2010 and 2013 strewn across the plateau like a rough and rumpled black woolen blanket beside Pacaya’s peak.
While he and his fellow tourists were taking a well-deserved rest, their guide for the day reached into his backpack and began handing out marshmallows and roasting sticks, explaining that the steam emanating from the rocks surrounding them was hot enough to cook a marshmallow to the perfect tan that only the most expert open-fire roasters are able to achieve.
Meanwhile, at the base of the volcano, two geothermal power plants operated by an Israeli company were steaming away, harnessing roughly 25 megawatts of power per day each. But despite the marvel of this carbon-neutral power source, all our man could think about was that roasting s’mores around the campfire would never be the same.