Hike to the summit of Acatenango and watch Fuego erupt from a safe distance!
One of the appeals of this overnight hike is that you will summit Volcano Acatenango just as the sunrises, this will give you the most astonishing views of the surroundings. Guatemala is a land of volcanoes and from this impressive top you will be able to see the nearby Volcano de Fuego and other volcanoes stretching for miles.
This 2 days and 1 night hike brings you up the slopes of beautiful Volcano Acatenango to our private campsite – bench-cut into the side of this towering mountain.
Once at the camp, you can thoroughly enjoy the incredible views with enough space to stretch and relax. With plenty of time to enjoy our camp meals, and appreciate the impressive sounds and sights of the constant and violent eruptions of the neighboring Volcano de Fuego, our comfortable and safe camp will be an unforgettable experience.
On the morning of the 2nd day, our group will summit the peak of Acatenango (3,975 meters or 12,720 feet) – the third highest volcano in Guatemala), taking in panoramic views from atop the summit.
To culminate this adventure, we will descend back down through a myriad of diverse and splendid microclimates to return to the former capital of Guatemala, Antigua Guatemala by early afternoon.
Itinerary overnight hike
Day 1: Hike to Camp
The adventure starts at 8:00 am, we will pick you up from your hotel in Antigua Guatemala to start a one hour drive to La Soledad village. Beforehand you need to have breakfast and pack some snacks for the road, fill up your water bottles or purchase any gear you may need additionally. Once we reach the slope of Volcano Acatenango, we will start the trail up, a four hours hike traversing four distinct microclimates.
Our hike will start up a steep path, we will take the same one used by local villagers every day to reach their fields where they plant corn, peas and lilies. This first hour of walking will help us to acclimatize and also prepare our leg muscles for the rest of the day hike.
After, we will pass through an old-growth tropical cloud forest where we’ll find some of the oldest trees in this volcano. This type of unique environment is home to the famous Quetzal. With a busting biodiversity, this second phase will give you the pleasure of enjoying the signs of local birds, wildlife and the refreshing mountain air.
As we leave the unique environment of the cloud forest, we will enjoy a spectacular view of several of the many volcanoes in Guatemala: Toliman, Atitlan, San Pedro, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas and Tajumulco and the Cuchumatanes mountain chain. We will prepare a fresh picnic at noon to enjoy with the group these impressive views.
The third phase of our ascent is characterized by a temperate coniferous forest and tropical dry forest. Our campsite is set down in a tree line with extensive views of the Antigua valley and Volcano Fuego. We will set up the camp and our guide will prepare the camp dinner, hot coffee and tea. The adventurous hikers are free now to rest, enjoy the surroundings and relax at approximately 3750 meters.
Day 2: Summiting Acatenango
The morning of the second day, the group will take an early camp breakfast to after start the ascent to the top that will take us about 45 minutes. This section of the trail is covered in sand and gravel, dotted with dwarf conifers and high alpine mosses is the steepest so far, and upon arrival we will discover an impressive rocky summit exposed to tempestuous and cold winds that pass all the time over the peak of Acatenango.
Here the group can rest and rejoice at the unparalleled 360-degree views of the Guatemalan highlands, these impressive views reach to the border of Mexico. We will have about 45 minutes to delight on the top, before beginning our descent of three hours back to La Soledad village, this will depend on the weather conditions and time. Our group has the opportunity to descend through an alternate route down Volcano Acatenango, experiencing a variety of microclimates and beautiful trails. 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 (~13:00 hrs).
The experience at the base camp of Volcano Acatenango during our overnight hike
If you take one of our overnight excursions, you will reach the base camp of Volcan Acatenango in the early evening. At an altitude of 3,750 meters above sea level, this left the Acatenango summit (226 meters higher) to be hiked the following early morning to see the sunrise. Our staff will have in the base camp have several tents set up, and our guide will distribute sleeping bags.
Often, you will be overheated from hiking, but be assured that the temperature will drop greatly overnight. As our fire will get going, night will fall, and the magic will begin. The clouds will part apart and the earth will start rumbling. You will have the first great view of Volcano de Fuego when the lava explodes into the sky like orange fireworks, later there will be a huge “bang” as the lava goes down the side of the volcano.
You will be gasped, hypnotized: immediately, climbing volcano Acatenango (and all the pain with it) will be categorically worth it. You may stay awake late into the night witnessing the volcano works its magic. Sleeping may not be always possible with the continuing interruptions of the volcano. Some of the most unimaginable eruptions may happen in the middle of the night. You may sleep a couple of hours, and then wake up to unzip the tent to witness the magic of this giant.
The very summit of the Volcan Acatenango excursion
At 3:45am you should get up for the final portion of the expedition: hiking to the very summit of Acatenango. You will hike through volcanic sand in full darkness to reach the highest peak of the volcano, and from there you will have a clear view of Volcano Fuego.
The summit climb is fairly dangerous, and so it is only done if the weather allows. Your guide will assess the climate in the morning. If the weather is good enough, you will wake up with good news, the group will be allowed to hike to the very summit.
The claim will be straight ascending and excruciating. The volcanic sand and dirt makes every step more demanding, and it is actually difficult to maintain balance. There will be enough stops to rest in case there are guests who feel lightheaded from the altitude. The sky will begin to lighten as you climb, and slowly the absurd view reveals itself. On a clear day, in the distance you will be able to see Antigua, Guatemala City, and an unbelievable string of other volcanoes.
After one and a half hours, you will reach the top of Volcan Acatenango. A closed crater, the terrain is rocky, sandy and barren. The gorgeous view will be like nothing you will ever see: an erupting volcano solidly reminds you how small a man is in the scope of this earth.