Hike Volcan Acatenango

Acatenango, Guatemala

Distance

11 Miles

Elevation Gain

5150 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Year Round

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Matt Hosford

Forest
Scenic

Best Adventure in Guatemala. Views of Volcan Agua and lava coming out of Volcan Fuego. Epic Sunset and Sunrise. Distance: 11 miles/ 18 kms (Round Trip). Duration: 2 Days. Elevation gain: 5150 ft./ 1500 m.

If you enjoy stunning views with volcanoes spewing lava while camping in a volcanoes crater at 13,000 ft, then this is the adventure for you.

There are a number of tour companies in Antigua that offer day and overnight trips up Volcan Acatenango. They will plan the logistics and supply all the camping gear you need. With that being said, it is possible to go without a guide.

The trail head is located near Aldea de Soledad at 2400 m / 7850 ft. There are no signs for the trailhead but these are the approximated coordinates.

Trailhead: 14°32’09.49”N, 90°53’11.57”W

The trails starts out winding between farmers corn fields. Make sure to stop and practice your Spanglish with some locals as they come by on their horses. After an hour or so, the trail steepens and the corn fields give way to a dense tropical forest.

The trail is steep but well defined. There are a number of forks along the way but they all merge as you step out of the forest and into open alpine (~10700 ft/3300 m). It should be noted that once above 10000 ft, the air thins and symptoms of altitude sickness can be felt. Make sure to take it easy and stay hydrated.

In the alpine you’ll find most of the trees have scars from fire damage. When the clouds roll in, the combination of the dead trees and mist, gives off a creepy ambiance. The trail is straight forward. Continue through the alpine vegetation and then up the volcanoes slope toward the crater.

The total climb to the summit should take between 4 – 7 hours.

The panoramic views of Volcan Agua, Volcan Fuego, Lago de Atitlan and the Pacific Ocean are some of the best views I’ve ever seen. It’s made all the sweeter by camping in the middle of the crater and hanging out with your new hiking buddies.

Climb back up the rim later that evening to see the glowing red lava coming out of Volcan Fuego. At night, the contrast makes the scene more impressive.

The next morning it is definitely worth your while to roll out of your nap sack to check out the sunrise. Watching the sun creep up, while looking down on the world from the top of a volcano…with an active volcano beside you, is not something one gets to do very often.

El Muro (The Wall) back in Antigua, is a cool spot to tie off an adventure of this caliber.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Wonderful Day Hike

Took the day hike in April 2017 with OX -- so beautiful!! Don't forget sunscreen, easy to get sunburnt at 13,000 ft (even with cloud coverage). Also very cold at the summit, but super surreal landscape. We also got hot chocolate on the way up :)

Me and my sister did this hike with O.X. in December of 2014. This was our first "real" hike and overnight experience, and it was something special. Worth every grueling foot, trust me.

Distance

11 Miles

Elevation Gain

5150 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Year Round

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Matt Hosford

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