Among the things to do in Antigua, visiting volcano Acatenango is a must. We reached its peak, and here you can find all you have to know about the hike to the Acatenango.
When in Antigua you will realize that the city is surrounded by many volcanoes. Volcano Acatenango is the highest in Antigua and the third in Guatemala. Even though it’s not active, it is the perfect point to see from close the frequent activities of his neighbor, the Volcano de Fuego.
From the town of Antigua is common to see and hear the explosions of Volcano de Fuego. For a better observation, we strongly suggest the hike to the peak of volcano Acatenango. It may be tough, but it will lead you to a unique place, surrounded by beautiful landscapes.
ALL YOU HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT THE HIKE TO THE ACATENANGO
The whole experience at the volcano Acatenango usually lasts 24 hours, from the morning of the first day until the second day at noon.
Tours leave at 10 am, it takes 5 to 6 hours to reach the campsite and an extra 1 to 2 hours to reach the peak. The final hike to the top of the volcano starts at 3 am, in order to admire the sunrise from the top of the Acatenango. Right after the second hike, breakfast is served at the campsite, and the way down generally takes from 2 to 3 hours.
BETTER WITH A GUIDE
The hike to the peak of the volcano Acatenango doesn’t require a guide by law, but we strongly recommend it.
Being part of a guided group means you don’t have to carry your own meals nor a tent. Moreover, in case of emergency or just discouragement, you will always have somebody to rely on.
Once to the top, you will find the campsite ready to host you with a warm fire and a stunning view. We also think that moments like these are way better if shared with other people.
GILMER SOY TOUR
There are many tour companies that organize the hike to the volcano Acatenango but, among the others, we choose Gilmer Soy Tour.
Soy Tours is the main local guide agency for excursions to the Acatenango. They offer a pickup service from Antigua and a few different options to explore the volcano. Their team of certified local guides is fantastic. They supported us mentally and even physically. We felt very secure with them.
Every company has a designed campsite, and theirs is beautiful. It’s like having a terrace facing the Volcano de Fuego, without nobodyelse around you.
The tent was impeccable, with a comfortable camping mat and a warm sleeping bag. Included in the price they offer lunch, dinner, and breakfast. All the meals were very balanced, abundant and tasty.
Before the actual hike, they offer us an extra down jacket that turned out to be very useful especially when we reached the very top. Is also important to say that a percentage of our fee contribute to support the local community. Absolutely the best.
VOLCANO OVERNIGHT OR DAY TRIP?
We strongly recommend doing the overnight experience. Sleeping at the basecamp was very beautiful. Having the possibility to see and hear Volcan de Fuego during night time was unique.
Anyway, Gilmer Soy offers few other options like a day tour from 4:00 am to 4:00 pm (High Difficulty) and a night tour from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm (High Difficulty).
FROM THE TOP
The most important thing you have to know about the hike to the volcano Acatenango is that every step is worth it. The view from the very top is breathtaking!
The Volcan de Fuego usually offer an amazing show with smoke, fire and loud noise. While facing it, on the left hand you will see the sun coming out behind the Volcan de Agua and the beginning of a new day. On the right hand instead, it is possible to see the Atitlan lake. No words can describe the magnificence of this place. Climb up and don’t give up.
CAN I DO IT?
The hike to the volcano Acatenango is a tough one. Agnese struggled a bit to get to the top. Most of the time we had to walk uphill in a sandy path that makes the experience even more challenging. If you are planning to do this hike, you definitely need to be fit and being able to walk for long distances.
Altitude sickness can be another problem: with its 3.976m, volcano Acatenango is the highest volcano in Antigua.
For the way down we strongly suggest using walking sticks to prevent knee injuries. It only takes 2,5 hours to get down from the campsite.
WHAT TO PACK
Even though the tour operator provided us all the meals, a nice basecamp, and heavy clothes, there is some stuff we suggest to bring with you.
We recommend to wear light clothes and bring as well some elements for cold weather. At the very top, the temperature can reach zero degrees centigrade.
- Down jacket
- Waterproof jacket
- Warm socks
- Hiking boots
- Extra t-shirt
- Water (at least 2.5l)
- Head lamp
Accessories like scarf, gloves, and hats can be rented at Gilmer Soy while an extra down jacket or a backpack can be borrowed by the company.
Don’t forget a good camera.