We went to Guatemala to conquer the top of the Acatenango volcano of 4,000 meters above sea level, a spectacular place with incredible views, a country plagued by active volcanoes and many other things.
How to get there?
Book the cheapest flight for Guatemala City, then when it lands hire private transport from the airport to get to Antigua and from your hotel here hire the tour service to climb Acatenango.
What to bring?
Comfortable clothes for walking, thermal jacket, windbreaker jacket, fleece-type sweater, thermal lycra, thermal underwear, gloves, hat, 3 liters of water, hat or beanie, sunblock, water bottle of about 35 L, preferred snacks, hiking boots or trail tennis shoes and toilet paper (or wet wipes).
Guilmer (+502) 4169 2292
Airport Transportation – Antigua
Cost:300 Quetzales (just over $ 40) Walk Acatenango
* includes transportation from Antigua, food, tent, and sleeping
We stumbled upon Guatemala City to take direct transport to Antigua (it’s about $ 10 / person from the airport) … Only Karla arrived a bit later but she had no problem getting to the hostel where we stayed.
On Friday night we went for a walk around the center of Antigua to get to know a bit and also eat something … the city is lovely, colorful, full of life and also has a view of 3 nearby volcanoes that are called Water, Fire, and the Acatenango volcanoes.
The next day, after having all our stuff packed, the tour van arrived at to knock at our hostel door around 7 am. (we used a recommended guide by tripadvisor named Guilmer)
On the way there we picked up more people from other hotels and then continued our 1 hour trip to the base of operations of Soy Tours in a small town near the starting point of the walk. Here you pay, they give you a snack and provide the latest recommendations for the climb to the top.
We started walking past 10 am, it was sunny with a cool breeze … the road is sand (ash) between farms and obviously ascending. The tour goes at a slow pace to keep the group together and we had several breaks (about 6 in total during the whole climb).
* Recommendation: do not rush because you will cool down while waiting for the slower ones.
After a little more than an hour of hiking, the trail goes into the forest (under the shade) and after a little while, there is a strategic stop where there are benches, a toilet, and a ranger station. At this stop, you have to eat your snack to recover your strength since there is still some way to go.
We continued walking and the forest began to change vegetation, it gets a little drier, the ground is not dirt but it’s more like ash, in addition, the trees are cypress … by that time you’re almost ready for lunch and there is a scheduled rest that lasts half an hour.
After walking 5 hours you reach the first semi-flat part which also means that we are approaching the base camp. This is probably the coolest part, at the time the flowers were blooming and you can see the famous Volcano of Fire right in front of you which is the star of the place making eruptions all the time.
We arrived at the camp after walking for half an hour through this part with an epic view, we settled in the camping tents (already set up) and we went to see the sunset around the mountain that the sun is falling. This sunset was incredible because it prepared us a little for what we were going to live the next day. You have a front seat view of the volcano and it is amazing. In addition, it erupts constantly so this makes it even better.
During the night we got warm with everything we could (the temperature drops to 0 degrees easily) and tried to rest for what was coming the next day.
Our alarm was set at 3 am it was time to climb out of bed and zombie walk to the top while freezing our butts off. After 10 minutes of walking, you begin to warm up and it’s good to remove some layers of coats to avoid sweating so much. (this and the wind will cool you off in no time)
Overall it took just over an hour of walking up to the top of the Acatenango Volcano … You arrive at night and you have to use the flashlight at all times until it starts to clear up and the sky reflects all of these beautiful colors of dawn and more and more people gather at the top for the most anticipated moment …
On the top you have an awesome time, despite the penetrating cold there is a lot of emotion that is contagious and it multiplies while the side volcano (of Fire) erupts nonstop …
You can bear the cold for this, and then boom! the sun rises behind the Water Volcano … this moment is simply spectacular and you have to live it because words are not enough to describe so many emotions.
*** If you manage to have clear skies you can see the sea, and to the west, you can see the silhouette of Acatenango with Lake Atitlán in the background.
After the sun rises the fun part of the trip begins … to go down through the quicksand. What took us 1 hour to climb, we descended in 20 minutes in a straight line and without generating an impact on the knees.
Once in the camp, we had breakfast (cereal) in front of the campfire and then picked up our stuff and went down to the starting point in 2 hours of descent.
During this trip it was clear to us that Guate was the place to visit … it has a lot to discover, it’s also safe, cheap and easy to travel.
IMPORTANT TIPS:You are given lunch, dinner, and breakfast, but we recommend bringing a sandwich, granolas, and any nibbles to avoid hunger.
At this place, there is no water so you have to go up with 2.5 to 3 liters of water and make it last. With that, you’ll hold up well.
Date of the tour: OCTOBER 2018