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Western Highlands

Hiking

Our most recommended Western Highlands Hiking

Overnight Volcano Acatenango Hiking Adventure

1. Overnight Volcano Acatenango Hiking Adventure

Volcano Acatenango is the sleeping giant, and a twin of the most active volcano in Guatemala. Acatenango is the third highest volcano in all of Central America and it is a real adventure to hike to the top. It gives you the best location to observe the sunset and the sunrise. Sleeping overnight in the base camp of the volcano will be unique experience. Its highest summit is 3,976m (13,044 ft). The itinerary of the trip is broken into two days. Day 1 will begin at 9:00 AM, with a shuttle from Antigua to La Soledad village. The tour guide will pick you up at your hotel. Your hike will begin at 11:00 AM and will continue for approximately 5 hours. You will reach base camp by 17:00 PM in time to watch the sunset. The second day will begin at 4:00 AM, as an hour's hike to the summit will provide a great view of the sunrise. Breakfast will be served back at base camp and the trek will start around 8:30 AM downwards toward the village. Reaching the village by 11:30 AM, you will have some time to look around before the transfer to Antigua. The tour finishes here by 12:30 PM, giving you the rest of your day. 

1 Day Acatenango Volcano Hike from Antigua

2. 1 Day Acatenango Volcano Hike from Antigua

Our group leaves from our office in Antigua at 5:00am, 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 lunch is prepared around 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 last section of ascent is sand and gravel scree-trail dotted with dwarf pine trees and high alpine mosses. As we approach the summit, we find the exposed rocky surfaces left by the gusty and cold winds which constantly pass over Acatenango’s peak. At the summit, your guide will prepare a fresh, well-earned picnic lunch while you rest and enjoy unparalleled 360-degree views of the Guatemalan highlands. Atop the summit we will also fix our attention on nearby and constantly erupting Volcan Fuego. With a bit of luck, Fuego will put on a high altitude firework show, displaying violent explosions of gas, rock, and lava. After 30min-1hr 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.

Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike

3. Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike

This 2-day/1-night hike brings you up the slopes of beautiful Volcan Acatenango to our private campsite – bench-cut into the side of this towering mountain. From here we enjoy our camp meals, incredible views, and plenty of room to stretch out. In camp there we will have ample time to appreciate the sights and sounds of nearby Volcan Fuego’s violent volcano eruptions. On the morning of the 2rd day, our group will summit Acatenango’s peak (3,975m/12,720ft - the third highest volcano in Guatemala), taking in panoramic views from atop the summit. Finally, we will descend back down through a myriad of microclimates to return to Antigua by early afternoon. Day 1: 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. Day 2: Summiting Acatenango 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).

3 Day Acatenango & Fuego Volcanoes Doubleheader Hike

4. 3 Day Acatenango & Fuego Volcanoes Doubleheader Hike

This 3-day/2-night hike brings you up the slopes of beautiful Volcan Acatenango to our private campsite – bench-cut into the side of this towering mountain. From here we enjoy our camp meals, incredible views and plenty of room to stretch out - along with the sights and sounds of nearby Volcan Fuego’s violent volcano eruptions. We continue our hike across and up Volcan Fuego the next morning, and enjoy lunch beneath Fuego’s smoldering caldera on Day 2. After a return hike in the afternoon, we enjoy another evening at camp with fresh food and a warm fire (weather permitting!). Our group will summit Acatenango’s peak (3,975m/12,720ft - the third highest volcano in Guatemala!) on the morning of the 3rd day, and descend back down through a myriad of environmental zones to return to Antigua Guatemala by early afternoon. Day 1 Our group meets at the Old Town Outfitters Shop at 08:00hrs (5th Avenida & 6th Calle – 1 block south from Central Park) to board our private transport for the trailhead. 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 Guatemala’s volcanic mountain chain. The trail up Volcan Acatenango has four distinct environment zones, each of which will take you a little over an hour to traverse. We’ll begin by walking up 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 hikers acclimatize and warm their leg muscles up for the day’s hike. The second phase of our ascent passes through old-growth tropical cloud-forest. In this zone, we find some of Acatenango’s oldest trees, the biggest biodiversity of flora and fauna, fresh clean 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 northward of other highland volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman, San Pedro, Santa Maria, Tajamulco), along with glimpses of the Cuchumatanes Mountain chain. A fresh picnic lunch is prepared around mid-day for our group to enjoy. Temperate coniferous (pine, fur, etc.) cloud-forest and dry-forest characterize the 3rd phase of our ascent, and it will lead us to the storm-beaten tree-line of the mountain. Our campsite is perched just below treeline with sweeping views of the Antiguan valley and Volcan Fuego. After setting up camp, hikers are free to rest, relax and enjoy their surroundings while our guide prepares a fresh vegetarian camp dinner at ~3750m with hot tea and coffee. Day 2 In the morning, our group will enjoy a hearty breakfast after a mesmerizing sunrise above cloud-line across from Volcan Fuego. With expansive views south towards Esquintla and the tropical Pacific coast of Guatemala, and east across the Antigua Valley to towering Volcan Agua, we will begin our 1-hour descent to the saddle between Volcan Acatenango and Fuego. After a short rest, we will wind our way up the 1½-hour push to the vertigo-inducing ridge of Volcan Fuego. At a responsible distance from the active summit of Fuego – teetering between the highland valleys and the Pacific slope - our group will rest and eat lunch as we wait for a chance eruption at close-range. Our group will spend the afternoon hiking back to our campsite to rest and relax. Another beautiful night on the mountain, and another delicious dinner prepared by your guide will help ease our tired bodies to rest. Day 3 In the morning - after an early camp breakfast - our group embarks on a 45-minute ascent to the summit on 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 attempt, and leads to the exposed rocky surfaces left by 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 3½-hour descent back towards La Soledad, and transport back to Antigua to arrive in town in the early afternoon (~13:00hrs).

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What people are saying about Western Highlands

This was an amazing experience, the tour team was very very helpful and they want to make sure you make it to the top. They will help you with yours bags at a cost but they are flexible with the payment. My mother was able to complete the hike to the top thanks to this option. The guys do not push you to go quick, they actually encourage you to take your time and they will wait for you and always with a smile. They will wait for you even if you are feeling like crap, I am very happy with the team. They do offer food and the cooking at the top is an experience on its own, they are up all night making sure everyone is feeling well due to altitude sickness. I will do this again, because the experience is unique, and I will do it with this tour group.

It was great experience. Guides were very helpful and kind, always trying to help. We were a little afraid about food quantity but it was really tasty and more than enough for hiking! Although it is great experience it was the hardest hike I have ever done, totally recommended but only for people in at least average shape (due to the volcano, not the tour operator!)

Super nice guides that took care of us during the whole trip! Also, you have the option to rent warm clothes as well as big backpacks. It’s a quite hard hike but the views are absolutely worth it! I would recommend it to everyone especially with those guys!

Incredible to see the force of nature at this level. Very well organized. I would just like to warn you that it is a tough excursion and you need technical shoes, not just comfortable ones.

Couldn’t have asked for better guides. They accommodated for everything we needed and more! Couldn’t recommend more.