Guatemala’s Premier Hiking Experience
Acatenango is a must do trip while here in Guatemala.
Next door Volcan de Fuego is the world’s most consistently erupting volcano, and with some luck, will provide a high altitude firework show for you to enjoy from the cozy campsite. Our guides will provide a campfire, hot drinks, and a tasty dinner.
Our overnight hike takes us up the summit the next morning for an incredible sunrise over Guatemala. From the crater we will have a new vantage point of Volcan Fuego, a view of the chain of giant volcanoes stretching from Mexico to El Salvador, the Pacific Coast, and the Antigua Valley.
-Summit Guatemala’s 3rd highest Volcano
-Walk through a maze of corn, old growth forests, and a barren summit of scree
-Watch the microclimates and terrain change around you in this diverse ecosystem
-Enjoy breathtaking 360° views of all that Guatemala has to offer
-Spend time watching nearby volcan Fuego erupt (4km away)
-Spend a night under the stars in a beautiful campsite overlooking the active volcan Fuego
Upon request! Check the calendar on our website or send us an email!
Old Town Outfitters strives to be considered the leader in Guatemalan Adventure tourism by creating unique, authentic, safe and professional adventure travel experiences, while at the same time adhering to our philosophies and values.
What kind of shoes do I need for hiking?
If you have boots, that would be the most optimal. However, many people do hike the volcanoes wearing running sneakers.
For bigger hikes like Acatenango, you want to make sure you have a comfortable show that won’t give you blisters, and that can support the weight with your backpack on. You should be aware that Pacaya, Acatenango, and Fuego have sections of volcanic scree and loose rock/dirt that can get in your shoes. Please do not hike in sandals, 5 finger shoes, or Crocs. You do need a comfortable, closed toe shoe.
How much water should I bring?
For a day hike like Pacaya, we recommend 2 liters of water.
For an overnight hike on Acatenango, we recommend 4-6 liters of water.
For a 3-day hike, we recommend 3-4 liters per day.
What will I be carrying on the hike?
For day hikes, you will be carrying personal items, and your water, and on certain hikes your lunch.
For overnight hikes, you will be carrying your personal items and clothes, your personal camping gear, your water, and on certain hikes your share of the food and kitchen gear. ***See Porter Service section below
How big should my backpack be?
For a day hike like Pacaya, we recommend you have a small backpack, 10-20 liter capacity.
For an overnight hike, we recommend at least a 45 liter capacity bag.
What should I pack for the hike?
On each tour page, there is a downloadable PDF Trip Description for each trip. At the end of these documents, we have written a suggested pack-list for that specific trip.
How cold do the summits get?
Even for day hikes, its a good idea to bring a warm layer, and a wind layer. If Pacaya becomes cloudy, windy, and rainy, temperatures can drop down to 10 degrees Celsius.
For Acatenango, our campsite is at about 3600 meters. Normal temperature for the campsite will be about 6 degrees Celsius, although on occasion can drop down to almost 0 degrees Celsius at night.
For overnight trips, we have top quality tents and sleeping bags to keep you warm. If conditions allow, we will also have a campfire at nighttime. Please do bring warm layers for the night either way, and pack a warm layer and rain jacket/windshell accessible in your bag.
What is the porter service?
Personal porters are actually members of the community in La Soledad, our starting point of the hike. 100% of the porter service charge goes to them.
Porters can carry up to 40lbs, so you can either hire a personal porter to carry all of your load, or split a porter with another member of your group. If you do split a porter with someone else, we still recommend at least a 25L bag to carry the rest of your gear.
Porters pack their gear in their own personal nets, so you don’t need to have a backpack to hang off to them. However, we do recommend that if they will be carrying your personal gear, you wrap that in a garbage back in case of rain.
Porters cost $20 each way. You have the option of only using them to bring your gear up for day 1, and if you’d like to have them stay and carry your gear down the next day, day 2 would would cost an additional $20.
Full refund 10 days prior to tour.
5a Avenida Sur # 12, Antigua Guatemala (One block south of Central Park)
Hike To Camp
Our group leaves from the Old Town Outfitters Shop at 8:00am, where you can fill up your water bottles and purchase any additional gear you might need. Hikers should eat breakfast beforehand and pack a small snack for the road. A one-hour drive takes us from Antigua to the sleepy mountain village of La Soledad, perched on the ridge of the Pacific slope of Volcan Acatenango. The trail up Volcan Acatenango has four distinct microclimates, each of which will take you about an hour to traverse. We’ll begin by walking up a steep trail through local farm fields - the same trail used by local villagers each morning to access their corn, snow pea and lily fields. Our first hour of hiking will help you acclimatize and warm up the leg muscles for the day’s hike.
The second phase of our ascent passes through old-growth tropical cloud forest. In this environmental zone, we find some of Acatenango’s oldest trees, an incredible biodiversity of flora and fauna, fresh mountain air and the sounds of local birds and wildlife. This type of high-alpine cloud forest is found on the upper slopes of many of Guatemala’s tallest volcanoes and mountains, and is home to the famous Quetzal.
After exiting the cloud forest, we will be rewarded with fantastic views of the other highland volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman, San Pedro, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas, Tajamulco), along with glimpses of the Cuchumatanes mountain chain. A fresh picnic is prepared mid-day for our group to enjoy.
Temperate coniferous forest and tropical dry forest characterize the 3rd phase of our ascent, which will lead us to the storm-beaten tree-line of the volcano. Our campsite is perched just below tree-line with sweeping views of the Antigua valley and Volcan Fuego. After setting up camp, hikers are free to rest, relax and enjoy their surroundings while our guide prepares a fresh camp dinner at ~3750m with hot tea and coffee.
In the morning, after an early camp breakfast, our group embarks on a 45-minute ascent to the summit on a sand and gravel scree-trail dotted with dwarf pine trees and high alpine mosses. The trail up to the summit is the steepest we will have seen, and leads to the rocky summit exposed to the gusty and cold winds which constantly pass over Acatenango’s peak.
At the summit, our group will rest and enjoy unparalleled 360-degree views of the entirety of the Guatemalan highlands – all the way to the border of Mexico. After 45min at the top (depending on conditions and time considerations), the group will begin the 3-hour descent back towards La Soledad. Our group has the opportunity to descend through an alternate route down Volcan Acatenango, experiencing a variety of microclimates and beautiful trail. From La Soledad, we will transport back to Antigua, arriving in the afternoon with plenty of time for you to enjoy the delights of the old Spanish colonial capital (~13:00hrs).
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