How to hike the Acatenango Volcano from Antigua. Tours, tips and prices

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The most intense and unforgettable experience that Guatemala can give you, is conquering the top of one of its volcanoes. This country offers 6 volcanoes for hiking, but no doubt the greatest is the Acatenango Volcano. This volcano is 3,976 m (13,000 ft) high and is located in a volcanic line linked to the still active Fuego Volcano (Fire volcano). So if you treat yourself to hiking the Acatenango Volcano you’ll be able to see the eruptions. In this article you will find everything you need to know about how to hike the Acatenango Volcano from Antigua, which is close by and the safest city in the area.

Should I hike the Acatenango Volcano?

Sure! It’s an experience that will make you feel the privilege to be alive. It’s clear that, as travelers, we collect memories at unforgettable places. Hiking the Acatenango Volcano accomplishes this par excellence. It’s the third highest volcano of the 37 volcanoes that Guatemala has. You’ll find several options for tours with certified guides according to the difficulty level (medium/high). However, the breaks taken during the way make it quite doable and you don’t have to be a high-performance athlete to climb.

What to expect on the Acatenango Volcano tour?

The vast majority of tours depart from Antigua Guatemala. There are many options, but you should always be sure that your guide is certified to do this type of hiking. You can do it on your own, but it’s not a good idea, the chances of getting lost are high due to the fog or the high-altitude sickness.

The tour departs by shuttle to the parking lot of La Soledad village in Chimaltenango. It will be an hour’s drive from Antigua Guatemala. This parking lot is guarded and is located right at the beginning of the ascent. The first 300 meters (984 feet) you will cross over to the farmland on a steep slope. Then you’ll experience several changes of microclimates: tropical cloud forest, high alpine forest and finally volcanic land. After 5 hours approx. of walking you will be reaching the summit. From there you have a panoramic view of the volcanic line of Guatemala and the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes.

Below you will find the two types of tours you can take: 1-day hike and Overnight hike. I highly recommend doing the Overnight hike. You will forget about the time pressure to reach the summit. This is important for those of us who take our time on breaks.

Acatenango Volcano One Day Hike

How to hike Acatenango Volcano from Antigua

To hike the Acatenango Volcano in one day you must get to the Old Town Outfitters store in Antigua Guatemala at 4:45 AM. The journey starts there by shuttle. Around 6:00 AM you will be arriving at La Soledad village, and you will start hiking from the parking lot at the foot of the ascent. You will get to the top in 5 hours and have lunch included at this point. It is a well- deserved meal and an hour rest. The guide will be present all the time.

There you will be able to see the active Fuego Volcano which is located 4 kilometers away and is completely visible. You will have enough time to enjoy it and take all the photos you want while the guide prepares lunch.

The steep descent to the parking will take around 3 hours, following a different route. You will take the private shuttle with your group and by 5:00 PM you will get to Antigua.

Included:

  • Round trip shuttle from Antigua to La Soledad village.
  • Bilingual guide, certified in First Aid.
  • Tickets to the park and local guide from La Soledad village.
  • Picnic lunch.

Price:

280 USD, taxes included. However, the price can be as low as 85 USD per person, if there is a larger group for the day you choose to take the tour.

You can also climb the Acatenango Volcano by a 4WD vehicle. This tour operator organizes everything for you with taxes, guides, food and transportation included. It departs from Antigua or Guatemala City. You will skip the 5-hour hike to the base camp. Instead, you will only hike an hour and a half to the summit and by the afternoon you will be back at your hotel.

Acatenango Volcano Overnight Hike

How to hike Acatenango Volcano from Antigua

Hiking the Acatenango Volcano in 2 days from Antigua Guatemala will be more relaxed. You’ll need to get to the meeting point at 7:45 AM at the Old Town Outfitters store. The shuttle will depart to La Soledad village and, by 9:00 AM you will have arrived at the parking lot and will begin the hike of less than 5 hours. At the end of the tropical cloud forest path, you will take a break to enjoy a picnic lunch and get to the base camp where you will have dinner and spend the night.

On the second day, the guide will wake you up very early in the morning (4:45 AM) to have a light breakfast and start the ascent to the summit. This last stage will be a short path of 400 meters (1,300 ft). However, it will be challenging due to the type of soil: unstable volcanic sand. Several times, you will take one step up and slide two steps back. Below you will find some recommendations to avoid that.

Upon reaching the summit you will have 45-60 minutes to appreciate a 360° view. You will have enough time to be grateful for the experience and feel proud of yourself for having achieved it.

The descent will be the easiest part. It will take only 3 hours and the guide will start it at the right time to be able to get to La Soledad village parking lot before noon. You will arrive at Antigua Guatemala by 1:00 PM. The shuttle ends the tour at the Old Town Outfitters store.

Included:

  • Round trip on shuttle from Antigua to La Soledad village.
  • Bilingual guide, certified in First Aid.
  • Tickets to the park and local guide from La Soledad village.
  • Day 1 lunch and dinner.
  • Day 2 breakfast.
  • Sleeping bag and mat.
  • Tent.

Price:

339USD, taxes included. However, the price can be as low as 90 USD, if there is a larger group for the day you choose to take the tour.

Bellow you will the button to book the tour with another tour operator that usually has larger groups for the Overnight hike tour to Acatenango. They organize it on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This tour is slightly different with respect to schedules and the meeting point is at OX Expeditions in Antigua. The price with them is more affordable and they have almost 20 years of experience in hiking the Acatenango Volcano.

What to pack for hiking the Acatenango Volcano?

How to hike Acatenango Volcano from Antigua
  • Healthy snacks: nuts and seeds, dried fruit, protein bars, ginger candies.
  • 2 liters of water per day, minimum.
  • Trekking boots. Or at least make sure your shoes have good traction and are waterproof.
  • Waterproof and cold-weather clothing. During the night the temperatures drop below 0°C (32°F).
  • Sunglasses.
  • Your personal toiletries.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Hiking poles. You will appreciate them, especially climbing the last part of volcanic sand.
  • Flashlight.
  • 50-liter backpack, maximum.
  • Backpack rain cover.
  • Earplugs. During the night it will be difficult to sleep with the eruptions sounds.

Tips for hiking the Acatenango Volcano

How to hike Acatenango Volcano from Antigua
  • Have breakfast before arriving at the meeting point. Day 1 breakfast is not included. Take into account that you will experience high altitude, so you should take a light meal.
  • Replace coffee with energy bars and tea. Personally, I think a ginger shot is the best for altitude sickness and coffee has a negative effect.
  • As you go up the climb and start to feel the altitude, focus on your breathing. It may sound like mindfulness, but I assure you it helps, speaking from experience.
  • During the hike your mobile will have connection via local SIM card. It might be tempting to play with it, but save the battery life for when you want to take photos. Either way, carrying a power bank is a good option.
  • Go to sleep early if you spend the night at the base camp. Sleeping in a sleeping bag on a mat will not be the most comfortable, but you will be tired enough and sleep will come soon.

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Also read:

Top 10 secret places in Guatemala. How to get there and what it costs

Safe parking lots in Guatemala City


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