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Home » Ultimate guide to hiking Acatenango

Ultimate guide to hiking Acatenango

Ultimate guide to hiking Acatenango volcano
Summit of Acatenango Volcano, Guatemala, Central America

Ultimate guide to hiking Acatenango Volcano; Here’s all you need to know;

Here is your ultimate guide to hiking Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala! In this blog, I’ll share how to book and prepare for the hike as well as its difficulty and what to expect!

If you’re wondering how to make it to this part of Guatemala, here’s my Guatemala itinerary breakdown.

Geography facts

  • Acatenago Volcano summit: 13,044 feet (3,976 meters)
  • Elevation gain: 5,253 feet (1,600 meters)
  • Distance: 8.6 miles (13.8 km) total
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Time needed: 2 days and 1 night
Acatenango Volcano erupting, Guatemala, Central America

How long does it take?

The hike to the basecamp takes around 5-6 hours, depending on the group. The total km up and down is 18km. When you reach the basecamp, also called Fuego Campsite, you’ve hiked 3736m. There’s then an option to trek an extra 3 hours (22km over and back) once you reach the campsite to be within 200 metres from the lava. If you chose to hike to be within 200 metres of the lava, that would total you up to 9-10 hours of hiking in total through steep terrain. Is it worth it? 110%. As far as I know, Fuego is the closest you can get to an active volcano in the world.

How hard is it to hike?

This hike is definitely difficult, yet doable at the same time. Honestly, we had heard horror stories of people quitting after 30 minutes or literally renting a horse to carry them up so we were nervous. By no means was it easy especially when you’re carrying 4 liters of water each, warm clothes, food, and snacks but if you are relatively fit, you will manage.

Do you hike again on day 2?

There is an option to wake at 4am to reach the summit the next morning to watch sunrise at almost 4000m high. However, if the sky is not clear, it’s usually not worth it. Once you have your breakfast, you’ll start the decent back down.

What is the best time of the year to hike this volcano?

The best time of year to hike Acatenago is usually from November to April during peak season. In saying that, you can still hike the trial all year round and off peak season. If you hike during peak season you’ll have a better chance of getting a clear day to enjoy the views at the top.

Do I need a guide?

Yes, however, it is not advised due to the extreme temperatures and dangers on the trail. Would I hike without a guide? 110%, no. We went with @tropicanahostelantigua and couldn’t recommended them more. They literally had everything organized so perfectly. The guides made sure to take pit stops every 500 metres or so, which meant just when your mind was like ‘ah feck this’ we stopped for water and a break. Our guides were so experiences and they made sure to check in with each member of our group individually.

Ultimate guide to hiking Acatenango Volcano; What do I need to bring?

It gets absolutely freezing and temperatures can drop to -5°C so you’ll need warm clothes. Most companies have the option to rent clothes such as jackets, gloves, hats, etc. We did this and it was relatively cheap to do. You’ll also need to carry 4 litres of water as well as any snacks you’d like to bring.

Ultimate guide to hiking Acatenango; Extra tips;

  • If you’re hiking Acetenango don’t book accommodation for that night as you’ll be camping on the mountain. Most companies let you leave your bags in their place free of charge, Tropicana is one of them.


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