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Western Highlands

Hiking

Our most recommended Western Highlands Hiking

From Flores: Tikal Ruins Day Tour

1. From Flores: Tikal Ruins Day Tour

Tour the Tikal Mayan Ruins on a day trip from Flores. Enjoy a stunning sunrise before driving through the wild jungle and hiking through the breathtaking ruins with a local guide. Meet your driver at the meeting point by the entrance to Flores island. Drive out from the city towards the archaeoligical site and watch the sky burst into crimson color with the sunrise. Enter the jungle as you continue your adventure and be introduced to your guide at the start of the winding forest trails. Start hiking and admire the scenery as you trek, discovering the temples, pyramids, ruins, and palaces of the Mayans. Listen to the chirping birds and spot monkeys swinging through the trees. Learn about the history of Mayan culture and how these wonders of archaeology were built and used.

Overnight Volcano Acatenango Hiking Adventure

2. 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. 

San Pedro La Laguna: Sunrise Hike to the Indian Nose

3. San Pedro La Laguna: Sunrise Hike to the Indian Nose

Climb to the summit above where the mountains meet water. The Indian Nose is the mountain on the northwest shore of Lake Atitlan. Also called Rupalaj K’istalin, this  2550 meters tall mountain presents one of the most rewarding climbs of Lake Atitlan. In addition to viewing the sunrise over a chain of volcanoes and then onto the pristine waters, this climb provides great views over the San Juan and San Pedro la Laguana villages. The climb takes about 30 minutes beginning in either of these villages.  Your guide will meet you at your San Pedro la Laguana accommodation, where you will then catch a shuttle bus to the beginning of the hiking trail. It is much more enjoyable and easier to begin the hike in the village of Santa Clara la Laguna, meaning that the pick-up time from your hotel is 3:45 AM, to be able to make the sunrise. 

From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Hike

4. From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Hike

Volcano Pacaya (8370ft/2552m) may not be Guatemala’s highest peak, however its slopes and unique landscapes are certainly of some of the most impressive volcanic landscapes in all of Central America. Set in its own National Park, Pacaya is a storybook volcano with a continuous plume of smoke drifting from its summit and a massive dried lava field forming the valley at the base of its caldera. The group meets in Antigua at 08:00 (for a morning hike) or 14:00 (for a sunset hike) – where drinking water, bathroom facilities, and retail outdoor equipment are available. Your drive to the trailhead is just over 1 hour in private transport from Antigua to the Park Office. As the group moves up the myriad of trails on the mountain, Guatemala’s impressive vistas open up before you. As you reach the base of the caldera, your guide will direct the group through the rugged dried lava fields, recently reformed by a massive eruption in 2010. No matter what conditions you encounter on the mountain, the group will have the opportunity to traverse unique volcanic-rock landscapes as you ascend towards the peak. Here the group will stop for a freshly prepared picnic to enjoy along with views of nearby volcanoes Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. There will be plenty of opportunity to explore geothermal hot-spots on the cooled lava formations – which are always available to help roast marshmallows! The hike down brings across the remaining dried lava fields before you begin your descent through Pacaya’s lush and lesser known forests and farmland. After your hike down to the trailhead, the group returns to Antigua by private transport to arrive in town at roughly 16:00 (day hike) or 20:30 (sunset hike).

From Antigua: 1-Day Guatemala-Pacaya Active Volcano Hike

5. From Antigua: 1-Day Guatemala-Pacaya Active Volcano Hike

After pick-up from your hotel in Antigua arrive at the foot of the volcano. From there your expert guide will lead you on a 1-hour hike from the San Vicente de Pacaya village up to a distance of approximately 50 meters from the crater. Look down into the crater at the lava as you experience the energy of an active volcano. Note the fumaroles, vents in the earth through which gases escape. Learn about Pacaya Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala, and observe how it has shaped the country around it. At 2500 meters above sea level wander through an unusual landscape of humid forest and rocks.  Before transfer back to your hotel in Antigua visit the Lava Store to buy souvenirs made from the volcanic ash produced by the mountain. 

1 Day Acatenango Volcano Hike from Antigua

6. 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

7. 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).

From Antigua: 3-Day Cobán & Semuc Champey Tour

8. From Antigua: 3-Day Cobán & Semuc Champey Tour

Day 1: Guatemala City/ Cobán: Depart from Guatemala City or Antigua to Coban. You may have the chance to see Quetzal. Begin your hike in the forest of El Biotopo del Quetzal. After 2-hours of hiking, a lunch will be served of traditional food (not included). Afterwards, transfer to your selected hotel in Cobán for overnight accommodations. Accommodation: Park Hotel Resort or similar. Day 2: Semuc Champey/ Lankin Caves (B): After breakfast, the adventure will begin by taking a 2-hour journey to Semuc Champey, a monument made ​​by nature. Explore the natural beauty and swim in the pools carved out of limestone. Relax, enjoy and afterwards, have time for lunch. Next, you will get to explore the Lankin Caves. In the afternoon, transfer back to your hotel in Cobán. Accommodation: Park Hotel Resort or similar. Day 3: Rey Marcos Caves (B): In the morning, visit the Rey Marcos Caves, where you can live a great adventure while connecting with nature. During the tour, you will see awesome formations of the karst caves sculpted by water with minerals in the limestone of the region of Alta Verapaz. When you finish the exploration, you can take a bath in the river outside the caves. Hotel accommodation on your own.  

3 Day Acatenango & Fuego Volcanoes Doubleheader Hike

9. 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).

Santa Cruz: Hidden Waterfalls & Secret Paradise Hike

10. Santa Cruz: Hidden Waterfalls & Secret Paradise Hike

The day begins in Santa Cruz la Laguna, the rugged north shore of Lake Atitlan. The north shore of Lake Atitlan has no true road access, so you will be hiking along ancient paths that have been used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries. You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maiz and coffee fields, and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world. This rugged and remote section of Lake Atitlan has barely been touched by the outside world.  Our hike takes us several hundred feet above the ever changing waters of Atitlan for breath taking views of the famous volcanoes. Then descend into the Pumpatin Canyon for a nature walk along the banks of the river. You will experience two different ecosystems as we walk from the upper lake shore into the narrow canyon. The further into the Pumpatin Canyon we hike, the more waterfalls we see. We have the potential to find up to 5 waterfalls. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the river, and take a swim if you desire.

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What people are saying about Western Highlands

Amazing experience. Most tour operators have groups of about people. You should book this tour with Henry if you want to hike in a small group (we were with 5). His goal is to give you an authentic experience and avoid the masses. He uses alternative routes to prevent you from coming across to many other hikers. I really appreciated this! The hike is hard, but manageable. I would recommend using hiking poles or rent their wooden hiking sticks. Also, bring hiking shoes. Saw a lot of people struggling on sneakers, especially on the way down (can be slippery). Henry is patient and motivates you to keep your own pace. He is an enthusiastic guide and took good care of us. The view on Fuego from Base Camp is amazing, and very impressive. Only thing to take in account is that the sleeping mats are very thin, and they do not provide a pillow. However, I would not hesitate to book this tour with Henry again!!

We highly recommend the tour! Our guide had such a passion for hiking, which he brought so incredibly close to us. The ascent is easily feasible for experienced people. We were picked up on time and were able to store the rest of our luggage with our guide until we returned. Food/drink was provided. Our place to sleep was with a direct view of Fuego. In the evening there was a campfire, where we all sat comfortably together. In the morning, at around 4:45 a.m., we went up to the last stage. I would really recommend the hikes to everyone, it was so much fun and it's not every day you see an active volcano.

Vinicio was our tour guide and he was AMAZING! We had the best time! Vinnie was kind, accommodating, full of information and offered wonderful conversational. He showed and taught us so much about the area! Vinnie also prepared a wonderful picnic lunch for us and was always down for a good photo opportunity. Would absolutely 100% recommend to anyone and will definitely be back again!

We loved our hike up Pacaya Volcano. Crista, our guide, was very well organized - and just overall a lovely person. She prepared a tasty vegetarian meal for us from scratch. The guacamole was spectacular! The organization of the trip was flawless and the local guide at the volcano said that this agency is by far the best one. I definitely recommend it.

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