Overnight Guatemala's Acatenango Volcano

Acatenango, Guatemala

Distance: ~8 miles round trip. Elevation gain: 5,000 ft. Third highest volcano in Central America. Watch eruptions from neighboring active volcanoes. Epic sunrise and sunset views of Antigua Valley.

Backpacking Acatenango, just outside Antigua, is one of the many experiences that makes Guatemala a once in a lifetime kind of trip. When else will you hike through four temperate zones (high farmland, cloud forest, high-alpine forest, and volcanic), camp near the summit of a dormant volcano, and watch eruptions from active neighbors, Fuego and Agua?

You have to pay a price for an experience like this, though - this hike up can be pretty tough. To illustrate how tough, one of the sections of the hike through the volcanic temperate zone is called "Purgatory." In reality, though, if you are in good physical shape you will be just fine, and the beauty of the trip overall will more than make up for your aching muscles.

We recommend booking with one of the local guide companies based nearby. Not only do they have invaluable local knowledge, they also provide amenities that compliment the experience incredibly well. A glass of champagne and fresh pita bread sandwich while watching the sun set over two erupting volcanoes? Not so bad.

Here are a couple guided trip providers I would recommend:

Photos: Gonslaught, Luis Guillermo Pineda Rodas, David Amsler

Pack List

  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Layers
  • Water
  • Camera
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Activities Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Features
Adult Beverages
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great suggestion.

While I never got the chance to summit Acatenango, I lived in three different towns (Patzicia, Esquintla, and Patalul) around the volcano over the course of a few years and hiked countless Aldeas in the area. This is some of the most beautiful and lush landscape in the world. The mountain towns of Guatemala are peaceful and filled with great places to grab lunch after a hike...especially in Antigua.


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