If you like heights, Guatemala is the country that will give you spectacular experiences. Here you will find the highest Mayan pyramid in the world, volcanoes, mountains, extreme activities in trees and more. When you visit Guatemala, you will feel privileged seeing its landscapes from the peaks of the mountains. In this article you will find everything you need to know on how to hike the Pacaya Volcano from Antigua. In addition, at the end some tips for you to enjoy it to the fullest.
Should I hike the Pacaya Volcano?
Sure! The Pacaya Volcano is one of the most impressive volcanoes in Guatemala and the easiest one to hike. It is highly recommended for almost everyone who visits the country. “El Pacaya” as we Guatemalans call it, is a volcano that has been active for 57 years. You are likely to find yourself close to small rivers of lava, depending on the volcanic activity on the day you visit. This is one of the few places in the world where you can experience this. The colors of the landscape are striking with the glowing orange and intense black of lava.
What to expect on the Pacaya Volcano tour?
The tour to hike the Pacaya Volcano from Antigua is of mild to moderate difficulty. The hike will take you about 1 hour and a half. The track goes up gradually, circling the slopes of the volcano. The altitude of the volcano is 2552 meters (8373 ft) above sea level. The final point of most excursions is at 50 meters (164 feet) below the crater. This depends on the monitoring that the expert team of local guides has done of the area.
As you will understand, it is not possible to do this excursion without a guide. Even if you want to do it on your own, at the main entrance of the ascent they do not allow it. It is mandatory that you hire a local guide. So, to save you the wait for a guide to be available at the time of your arrival, I advise you to book in advance.
The best option to hike the Pacaya Volcano is to book a tour with round trip transportation, guides and entrance fees included. The tour departs from Antigua to San Vicente Pacaya (32 km / 20 mi), the small town at the foot of the volcano. After about an hour’s drive you will arrive at the main visitors center of the Pacaya Volcano and begin the ascent.
If you travel on your own, the rates are: 30 GTQ (3.75 USD) parking, 100 GTQ (12.50 USD) entrance fee, 200 GTQ (25 USD) local guide.
How to hike the Pacaya Volcano from Guatemala City
You can also take a day trip to hike the Pacaya Volcano from Guatemala City. Every Sunday and Friday at 8:00 AM a shuttle van departs from Guatemala City to the small town of San Vicente Pacaya. The tour is all inclusive: round trip transportation from the door of your hotel, entrance fees, guides and lunch. Taking this tour from Guatemala City will give you the peace of mind of having the whole day organized. Below you will find the button to book.
What to pack for hiking the Pacaya Volcano?
- Trekking boots
- Hiking poles
- Hiking outfit (hiking trousers, long sleeve shirt, hiking shoes)
- Sun hat or cap
- Lightweight rain jacket
- Dark-colored clothing (avoid light colors, because of the black ash that makes them dirty)
- Healthy snacks and water
- Lightweight backpack
Tips for hiking the Pacaya Volcano
- Although the Pacaya is a relatively easy volcano to hike, it is possible that the change in altitude will be a bit challenging for you, so eat something light but energizing before starting the hike.
- When you arrive at the main entrance, make sure you are checked in and given a bracelet. Also register your exit. This is for safety reasons in case you get lost or the volcano becomes more active and you need to evacuate.
- Bring enough liquid to drink, at least 2 liters.
- The winds get stronger as you go up, so do not forget your jacket. Even better if it is waterproof, because it may rain at any time.
- Smoking is prohibited and campfires are not allowed.
- You are not allowed to bring in anything flammable, such as lighters, alcohol, etc.
- Always follow the instructions of your guide. Do not wander from the path for any reason.
- Don’t forget to bring your cellphone fully charged. You will want to take pictures of the incredible views!
- Bring some marshmallows. Yes, marshmallows! You can roast them over the lava flow. This is a classic picture on the Pacaya Volcano.
- Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Get your personalized itinerary
Contact me via:
How to hike the Acatenango Volcano from Antigua. Tours, tips and prices
The 8 best Mayan Ruins in Guatemala