When talking about Central America's highest and most challenging climbs, be sure to put Acatenango right near the top of the list. Its 3,976 m summit (Pico Mayor) makes it the 3rd tallest peak in Guatemala, and while ascending it doesn't require much technical know-how, it certainly demands endurance, experience and, unless you're well acquainted with the area, the assistance of a knowledgeable guide.
On the way up, prep yourself for steep gradients and loose soil/scree as you wind your way through farmland, cloud forests, alpine forests and good old volcanic sand. To reward your efforts, you'll be treated to increasingly beautiful vistas overlooking Antigua and other nearby towns, culminating in some truly awe-inspiring 360 degree views over Guatemala and the distant Pacific Ocean.
And the icing on the cake? To the south of Acatenango, its sister peak Fuego will occasionally give hikers the volcanic show of a lifetime, complete with plenty of lava and ash plume stories to tell the grand kids. Just be sure you give the hike at least two days to do it justice. Anything less would be a disservice both to both the volcano and your standing as a raucous adventurer.
Note:Extreme adventurers out there may also be pleasantly surprised to find out that on top of hiking, mountain biking and even volcano-boarding are available on Acatenango. Just talk to your adventure guide company.