Frost at Dawn on Pico Mayor

7 Best Acatenango Hike Tour Companies 2023

Ready for the challenge and exhilaration of hiking Acatenango Volcano ? All you have to do now is choose which Acatenango hike tour company to book. There are a lot of them, so I’ve tried to simplify the process for you by putting together a list of the top-rated companies offering Acatenango hike tours.

Have a look below for some quick information on what each tour company includes, their price tags, and a handful of reviews for each one so you can make the most informed choice.

Table of Contents: V-Hiking Tours – $65 Wicho & Charlie’s – $65 OX Expeditions – $89 Old Town Outfitters – $125 Trek Guatemala – $149 Tropicana Tours – $67 Balam Tours – $61.50

Acatenango Hike Tour with V-Hiking Tours

Watching Fuego Erupt during Acatenango Volcano Hike

V-Hiking Tours is one of the best Acatenango Hike Tour Companies available. The company was founded by owner-operator Elvin Soy, an Inguat-certified guide. Elvin grew up in the town of San José Calderas, just two miles from the Acatenango Volcano trailhead. He started climbing when he was six years old, so he has a lifetime of experience on the mountain.

Elvin founded this company to provide work opportunities for people in his community. This way, they won’t have to emigrate to the U.S. and can provide for their families.

Book with this tour company for an awesome trekking experience. Not only that, you’ll get a cultural experience as well—eating a typical Guatemalan breakfast prepared in the home of your guide.

Still not sure? V-Hiking has 57 Trip Advisor reviews. One is “Very Good” the other 56 are “Excellent.”

Cost of the Acatenango Hike Tour with V-Hiking

Q500 per person for tourists Q400 per person for Guatemalans

  • Private Round-trip transportation from your hotel in Antigua to the volcano
  • Professional Inguat-licensed guides
  • Entrance into the park
  • 2 Breakfasts (one will be a typical breakfast prepared by the mother of the guide)
  • Camping Equipment: Tents, comfortable mattresses, clean sleeping bags

Does Not Include:

Guide gratuity Additional backpacking/Hiking Supplies

What to pack and bring yourself

  • Comfortable (non-cotton) or quick-drying pants and shirts
  • Shoes or boots with thick soles and good traction
  • Two pairs of socks (to change into in the evening)
  • Sunglasses if the weather is sunny
  • Warm sweater (fleece) for the evening.
  • Two layers of clothing to keep warm: (thermal shirt and long sleeve shirt.) 
  • Waterproof jacket or windbreaker
  • Tuc or beanie cap
  • Warm gloves
  • Flashlight (headlamp with sufficient charge, or extra batteries)
  • Personal medications if you have medications prescribed by your physician
  • Personal hygiene kit (toilet paper roll, disinfectant gel etc.) 
  • At least 3 liters of water
  • Backpack that fits all the equipment on this list (35-45 liters)

Important Information about the Acatenango Hike Tour with V-Hiking Tours

  • Pickup at your hotel in Antigua is at 7 a.m.
  • Book through the V-Trekking Website
  • There is one guide for every 7 trekkers
  • Their private camp has great views of Fuego erupting
  • All the meals will be freshly prepared and hot
  • Sunrise from the summit

What they say about themselves:

Elvin, the founder of V-Trekking “began offering tours to Acatenango to provide employment for his family and the people of his community so that they would not have to migrate to the United States like many others. And also to show tourists the warmth and hospitality that Guatemala has to offer.”

Amazing views at camping area, excellent coordination and professional tour guides. The best there is! Great experience. – Marielos W

V-Hiking tours are the best around. I did this tour with my brother on 11/02/22 and couldn’t have been happier with our experience. Elvin and his guides are amazing – very hard working, laid back and friendly. Food was tasty from the breakfast at the family home to the spaghetti dinner in the evening and tents were comfortable. Our group was really interesting and kind, a massive difference from the other tour companies (Ox, Wicho and Charlies etc) who seemed chavvy and loud. Camp is at the front so he the best view of Fuego. No need to carry tents, cooking water etc up like other tour companies. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a friendly, hard-working, kind and reliable tour company. Thank you to Elvin and his team! -Daniel

I highly recommend V-Hiking tours. They are the people who formed all the Acatenango guides. They are the ones who started the mountaineering activity of the area. They have great knowledge and put safety first, unlike other tours you’ll find in the area. Elvin and his family also spend 10% of your purchase on charity activities of the Acatenango communities. They are a super committed and warm family. Enjoy your trip, you won’t regret it. -Sebson

Thank you V-hiking, that’s was amazing!

Many thanks to Elvin, his family and crew, we passed probably one of the best moments of our world tour. From start to the end, everything was perfect: travel, food, treks, camping… He has invited us in his family to degust Guatemaltec dinner and breakfast, try traditional clothes etc… During the trek and in the camp, all the guides were really attentive, food was good, tent was comfortable, and of course, el magico fuego 😍. Unforgettable, we hope we will see you again one day. – Oceane

One of the most amazing experiences of my life. My partner and I got picked up right near our air b&b by Elvin, driven to his home and ate a traditional & tasty homemade breakfast made by his very sweet mom, who showed me how to make tortillas 🙂 Rony, our guide for the journey, joined us soon after and we headed to the trailhead. Rony was so much fun and extremely competent- I felt incredibly secure to complete the arduous hike with him as our guide. We were an athletic group and got up to the campsite in about 3-3.5 hours; Rony set everything up when we got there, made a fire, hot cocoa, coffee, and then dinner. He was a great conversationalist and made the experience what it was: so great and memorable. I had an emotional experience with those volcanoes let me tell you. Thank you SO much V Hiking team. We highly recommend this crew.

******Also, side note to tourists, please consider when making your travel plans to go with Guatemalan-owned businesses. Most of the travel agencies in Antigua central are owned by internationals. Buy local always.******** – Lauren m e

GREAT EXPERIENCE – Elvin and his family were so accommodating and helpful to help us get ready before climbing the volcano. No worry if you don’t have equipment, they have everything!!! Then, the next day we climbed the volcano and our guide was so nice and motivating!

We arrived at the camp where there was a nice shelter and the camp is super well organized – all the equipment provided is top quality and I was not cold at all!!! The guide prepared our food at night and then the next morning we woke up at 3.30 am to go to the top. The experience is amazing but more than that, Elvin was so nice and welcomed us into his family!

This is a magical experience – and no worry if you are not the most experienced climber ever, they go at your rhythm and no one rushes you. I think with motivation, everyone can do it. I highly recommend V-hiking you won’t be disappointed!! – Virginie DL

Review Sources

Go to V-Hiking Tours Site

Acatenango Hike Tour with Wicho & Charlie’s

Sun rising behind Agua during Acatenango hike tour

Wicho & Charlie’s is a hostel located in Antigua Guatemala. In 2017 they branched out and started offering overnight Acatenango hike tours. They provide plant-based food, high-quality guides, and high-quality gear. Proceeds from the hike help feed 600 dogs and 200 cats at animal sanctuaries and also helps plant 500 trees every year.

What really sets Wicho & Charlie’s apart is that instead of offering tents, they have A-frame cabins at base camp, that will keep you out of the wind and cold, and safe from eruptions. They also summit Acatenango at sunset (usually), which I personally loved when I did my hike up the volcano. Once hikers reach base camp, they have the option to tack on the Fuego Volcano tour for an additional fee (paid upon return).

All Included Acatenango Hike Tour Package:

*Includes: 3 meals, snacks, guide, cabin with camping gear, essential gear, and transportation

  • $65 per person (staying in a shared cabin)
  • $79.5 per person (staying in a private two-person cabin – total comes to $159)

Economy Acatenango Hike Tour Package

*Includes: guide, cabin with camping gear, and transportation

  • $45 per person (staying in a shared cabin)
  • $57.50 per person (staying in a private two-person cabin – total comes to $115)

Gear Rentals

  • $1.5 each for hat, scarf, buff, winter gloves, multi-layer jacket (included in the All Included Package)
  • $7 for a 40-liter backpack
  • $3 for a trekking pole
  • $2.5 for thermal base layers
  • $2 for merino wool socks
  • $1 for a 250-lumen headlamp
  • $1.5 for three AAA batteries (for headlamp)
  • $5 for boots (check availability)

Porter Services on Acatenango Hike

*Paid to porter in cash. USD amounts below are estimates.

  • $20 (Q 150) for 22 pounds
  • $26 (Q200) for 23-33 pounds
  • $32 (Q250) for 34-44 pounds

Other Optional Add-ons:

$8 for a 1 liter box of wine

All Included Acatenango Hike Tour Package Includes:

  • Bilingual community guide trained in first aid, mountain rescue and evac (1 guide for every 6 hikers)
  • A-frame cabins at base camp, either shared (8 people) or private (2 people) with -10º sleeping bags, two ponchos, 6-inch foam mattress, and pillow
  • Kitchen at base camp with gas-stove and basic eating and cooking gear (minimal wood use and no single use plastics to protect the environment)
  • Beach chairs at base camp
  • Roundtrip transportation to trail-head in a certified and insured tourism bus
  • Lunch: Adobo soy protein, rice & beans with cilantro sauce
  • Dinner: Lentil curry with rice and bread
  • Breakfast: Instant Oats & PBJ sandwich
  • Snacks: apple, banana, 2 granola bars, peanuts
  • Quality winter gloves
  • Jacket, wind-breaker, middle layer
  • Water bottle

Does not include :

  • Entrance Fee and Hiking Permit (approximately $15)
  • Extra snacks
  • Toilet Paper
  • Guide gratuity

Important Info about the Acatenango hike tour:

  • Arrive at the agency at 8 am
  • Storage area available
  • 9 am departure from Antigua
  • Once hikers reach base camp, they can choose to proceed to Fuego Volcano for an additional fee (paid upon return). This hike includes a safety helmet and masks against volcanic fumes.
  • Sunset at the summit (unless weather makes this impossible, in which case it is swapped to a sunrise hike)
  • Showers available at the agency for a $1-2 donation
  • You must cancel 18 or more hours in advance of the hike if you want a refund.
  • If Wicho & Charlie’s cancels the hike due to weather, natural disasters, or the pandemic, you will receive an 80-100% refund.
  • There are no refunds or discounts for the Fuego hike if you participate, regardless of views or weather

What they say about themselves :

“The story of Wicho & Charlie started early in the ’90s with our two dads raising us with an entrepreneurial spirit. The attitude to do things right and that there’s no higher purpose than to be of service to others.”

“We don’t use tents. We believe in safety. Our cabins are a safe shelter ready to withstand eruptions like the one in 2018 and also protect you against the possible harsh weather in Acatenango. We care about you, your experience, and your safety without compromising quality. 

“We have the only cabins on the volcano with good quality gear that is already waiting for you at camp”

Review Roundup for the Acatenango hike tour with Wicho & Charlie’s

Wicho & Charlie’s is amazing!!! The guides were so kind, helpful, encouraging, and patient. They wanted everyone to have a good experience. The gear rentals were great as well! Good spot on Acatenango to see Fuego all night long. Can’t say enough good things! Kathryn B Thank you so much, Wicho & Charlie’s for making this experience possible! very uncomplicated, chilled and professional! Was very thankful for the wooden tents;) Everyone visiting Guatemala should go to Acatenango/Fuego… it‘s sooooooo much worth it. you have to work hard for it – but you can do it. Great job guys! Olivia Had a great experience with our tour guide Benjamin climbing Acatenango and doing the additional hike to Fuego. This hike was the main purpose of our trip and we initially had trouble finding a guide until we heard about Wicho and Charlie’s. They had all the gear for us to rent. They have sturdy metal A-frame cabins at base camp which adds some extra peace of mind since your so close to Fuegos eruptions. I would highly recommend 4.5 L of water per person and take lots of layers as it’s very cold at the summit. Jeff A Did the 2-day 1-night Acatentango hike as quite a last-minute decision due to the high recommendation for another backpacker who had done the trip a few days before. Popped into Wicho&Charlie one evening and found the staff super friendly and helpful and reassuring. Came back the next day to book and spoke to another member of staff who was also excellent, really putting us at ease and felt secure choosing this company… Once at base camp you can choose to stay there, continue for 1.5hrs up to the summit for sunset and 30mins down, or 1.5hrs across to Fuego and 2hrs back. As we could see how close Fuego was and how amazing it looked, we opted to hike over to Fuego. You leave at 4:30, arriving just before sunset at 6. Fairly easy hike over, and the views from the top are totally worth the extra effort and cost (extra 200Q pp). They give you lovely hot chocolate while you watch the sunset and wait for the lava eruptions! The trek back in the dark is harder – really have to concentrate on the slippery sandy paths by the light of your head torch, and it’s a hard climb back up after a long day. But still so worth the effort. The guides, porters, equipment, communication, price, perfect timing of everything made this trip perfect. The breakfast at the agency on the first morning was brilliant, great packed lunch to eat on the way up, ample dinner, and a nice porridge the following morning. Really glad we did the trip, and can highly recommend Wicho. What an experience. Expressive-one Review Sources:

Go to Wicho & Charlie’s Site

Acatenango Hike Tour with OX Expeditions

threesome on looking at Fuego volcano during Acatenango hike tour

OX Expeditions was founded “by mountaineers for mountaineers.” This company is known for quality gear, quality food, and professional guides certified in wilderness safety. On their Acatenango hike tour, they focus on client safety and comfort. They are also an eco-friendly company that supports Guatemalan kids by teaching them English, stewardship of the environment, and guide skills.

OX Expeditions targets adventure-seekers. They offer a range of action-packed tours such as mountain biking, kayaking, zip-lining, surfing, and of course, trekking volcanoes!

Cost of the Acatenango hike tour:

  • Roundtrip transportation from Antigua
  • Camping gear
  • Warm clothes at no extra cost
  • Breakfast before the tour, plus lunch, dinner, and breakfast on the tour, fresh coffee
  • Bi-lingual professional guide
  • Pre-trip meeting the day prior
  • Free locker storage for luggage
  • Entrance fee
  • Book one week in advance
  • Leaves Antigua at 7 AM
  • Includes a crater run challenge where you have the chance to win a t-shirt
  • Sunrise at the peak

What OX Expeditions say about themselves :

“We climb this volcano more than all our competition combined, rain or shine. Our professional guide team and organized procedures work hard to manage the unpredictable chaos of mother nature to provide a high-quality experience. It’s all about the details. We want each and every client to have an enjoyable time no matter where the adventure takes us. Another thing that sets us apart is we really care about the environment. Call us traditional but we pride ourselves on leaving no trace; we take all our gear up and bring everything back down. Hiking this way we protect the fragile volcanic ecosystem that we love so much.”

Review Roundup for the OX Expeditions Acatenango hike tour

This hike was WILD! It is definitely not for the faint of heart but you set your mind to it and go with a guide like Alonzo you’ll make it no problem. Alonzo from Ox was super skilled and let us know all of the ups and downs (mostly ups of the hike ?) He made the trip awesome and it made this extremely hard hike much more fun. Sara Reiland (1) A perfect trip – great guide (Romero) who provided thoughtful and insightful information regarding the hike, the mountains, the flora and fauna as well as the people. KC S (1) My boyfriend and I booked the Acatenango overnight hike with Ox Expeditions & were very happy with our adventure with them. Our guide was super knowledgeable and continually kept us updated with how much longer we had to go and made sure we had enough breaks to stop and rest. This is NOT an easy hike by ANY means, but the crew made sure that everybody stuck together. I also loved that once we got to base camp, we got the option to do the ‘double whammy’ and go to Fuego as well. We opted in for that, and MAN was that a cool experience. Ox was very professional in not letting us get TOO close to the erupting volcano, but finding us a nice spot where we could sit and see the eruptions out of the strong winds as best we can. On our way down, another company left behind an older man who was struggling to get down the mountain. With all the loose dirt, he kept falling. Our guide helped him down the rest of the way! If you are planning on doing either of these hikes, DEFINITELY go with Ox. There’s no better company to go with. Megan C (1) Pay the extra, it’s worth every cent. They provide ample food to keep you going from the morning to the end of the trip. They have great knowledgeable and helpful guides (Romeo & Daniel, you guys rock!), they are great at timing for sunsets and sunrises so you are first on the peaks to watch the lava show out of Fuego and get the best seats, even for sunrises on Acatengo. Plenty of rest breaks but still keep you on time. They don’t care how slow you are, they have endless patience and work really well as a team to keep you motivated and check on you when they notice you might not be doing too well. Tammy (1) I am a very experienced hiker but this experience was unpleasant. There were far too few guides and they left us because we “went too slow” and kept rushing us even though several people were sick from the altitude. There was no support and the guide kept wanting to split up the group so we had to walk alone even though it was completely dark. We only got a single piece of bread in many hours. Katja (1) Review Sources: 1

Check Rates and Book the OX Expedition Acatenango Hike Tour

Acatenango Hike Tour with Old Town Outfitters

Enjoying Fuego Volcanoe's eruptions from the summit of Acatenango

Another great Acatenango hike tour company to consider is Old Town Outfitters. They have been in business for twenty years and has high reviews across the board. They are focused on offering unique experiences, including custom-tailored tours. They are known for high-quality guides and high-quality gear.

Old Town Outfitters also leads mountain bike tours across Guatemala and may be able to organize a custom Acatenango Mountain Bike trip. Just head to their website, get in touch through the contact form, and let them know what you’re looking for.

Cost of the Acatenango Hike Tour with Old Town Outfitters:

$125-170 (dependent on number of people)

  • Roundtrip Transportation (from Antigua)
  • Local guide
  • Local bilingual guide with first aid training
  • Entrance fees
  • Lunch on the trail, dinner, breakfast, snacks, juice, coffee, tea
  • Tents, sleeping bags and mats.
  • Available for free upon request: backpacks, trekking poles, jackets
  • Orientation video and pdfs

Does not include:

  • Additonal snacks
  • Hiking boots
  • Flashlight/headlight

Important Info: 

  • The hike leaves at 7:45 and returns around noon the next day.
  • You can also opt to tack on their “Mountain to Sea” Tour, which will take you directly from the volcano to El Paredón Surf House, where you can relax on the beach and take a surfing lesson.

“ Go with the most-trusted operator, we have 20+ years of operating on Acatenango volcano and with our guides you will be in the best hands.”

“Every Old Town Outfitters’ product is committed to honoring our sustainable tourism philosophy:

  • Work to support the local communities in all of the areas we visit
  • Respect the cultures, beliefs and traditions in all of the areas we visit
  • Respect the environment, work to utilize resources sustainably, and minimize our impact”

Review Roundup for Acatenango hike tour with Old Town Outfitters

Wow! The hike was a good challenge but too much, the gear (tents, sleeping bags) was comfortable and in good shape, and the views we’re SPECTACULAR. I have traveled the globe quite a bit and sitting around the campfire under a star-lit evening next to a live volcano spewing lava and sharing chili and wine with friends is an experience that his hard to beat. Our tour guide Old Town Outfitters was on top of everything … our guides cool and certainly knew what they were doing. Hands down the best activity in and around Antigua! Rich (1) Old Town outfitters has friendly staff in their office and engaging guides on the trail. The food was great and plentiful; no shortage of snacks. Old Town’s campsite is in a perfect location to see Fuego errupting. Per our guuide’s suggestion, we changed the plan upon arriving at camp and decided as a group to continue on to the summit rather than summit in the morning as originally planned. It turned out to be a great decision as the views of the sunset were sensational! Angus (1) Old town was excellent, very professional, safe and they gave us a choice between hot chocolate or a touch of wine at base camp. The food was great and the views are unbelievable. Bryant (1) The guides were knowledgeable and made sure to check in with the group often. Camp setup was great and the gear was perfect for the cold temperatures at night. Food was excellent. Roberto C (2) We had the most incredible time with Mario and Juan Pablo with Old Town Outfitters! The hike was crazy hard, but the views were so worth it! Watching Fuego erupt all night – FANTASTIC! And these guys, they took such good care of us. Great personalities, very professional, and so encouraging. Loved every part of our experience! Kristi C (2) Our guide Juan Carlos was great! His English was good and he took really great care of us! I had one porter up and down which I can highly recommend, especially when you’re going up alone, it’s a lot of gear to carry by yourself with all the mandatory water and warm clothes (which you really need!). The gear in in great shape, the food was really nice (build your own taco, on top of a mountain with fresh guacamole) and I loved the views and the hiking! Angela (2) The great thing about Old Town Outfitters is that everything is arranged perfectly: 2 English speaking guides on 4 people, freshly made lunch with tortillas, avocado, beans, etc. instead of carrying your own box with some bread and peanut butter, top located tents in base camp, dinner, drinks,… Our guides Juan Carlos and Josias were great, professional and told us a lot on the road. We’ve seen groups of 20 people on 1 guide and we were so happy that we booked the tour with Old Town Outfitters. Bart R (2) Old Town is the best company in Antigua!! Their guides are so friendly and knowledgeable and the office staff is efficient and helpful. We have used them for Pacaya and Acatenango trips and look forward to our next excursion with them. Highly highly recommended!! Briana Havey (3) Review Sources 1 , 2 , 3

Go to Old Town Outfitters Site

Acatenango Hike Tour with Trek Guatemala

View of Atítlan during Acatenango hike tour

One reason to choose Trek Guatemala to lead your Acatenango hike tour is because this company leads trekking expeditions all over Guatemala. They focus on culture, service, and sustainability. One of their selling points is that a place is all about the people. They want their clients to experience Guatemalan culture by meeting local people.

Based on reviews of other walking/hiking tours organized by Trek Guatemala, they can accommodate special diets and allergies.

Cost of Acatenango hike tour with Trek Guatemala:

  • 2 guests: $229 per guest
  • 3 guests: $189 per guest
  • 4-5 guests: $169 per guest
  • 6+ guests: $149 per guest
  • Pre-departure packing list and trip briefing
  • Multi-lingual trekking guide with certified first-aid training
  • Roundtrip transportation from Antigua to Acatenango trailhead
  • Park entrance fees
  • Day 1 meals: lunch, dinner + snacks
  • Day 2 meals: breakfast + snacks
  • High-quality tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and trekking poles
  • Large capacity backpack (50L) +/ –  available for rental at additional cost
  • Flashlight/headlamp –  available for rental at additional cost
  • Cold-weather clothing –  available for rental at additional cost
  • Hiking boots/shoes
  • Raincoat (May through October)
  • 4-6L of water

Important Info :

  • Leaves Antigua at 8 AM
  • Morning at the peak after an early breakfast

“The summit of Acatenango is an extreme environment where things can, and have, gone wrong for hikers who are ill-prepared for the conditions. Tales of fly-by-night operators with leaky tents and unwashed sleeping bags leaving slower hikers behind are common from visitors deceived by their lower prices.”

“With nearly 20 years managing adventure travel in Guatemala, you can trust our team to keep you safe, satisfied and smiling.”

Review Roundup of Acatenango hike tour with Trek Guatemala

Was an absolute blast with Mario being an experienced and great tour guide. Fernando did a great job in leading the group up to the summit and carrying up food and sleeping bags. Has top equipment, considers different levels of fitness and provides lip-smacking comfort food. Murphy’s trips We initially booked a private tour with the caveat that if others wanted to join us they could. We were delighted when we receive a partial refund from Trek Guatemala to have Bethany and Laurie join us for the climb. Mario our guide was simply Awesome, not only knowledgeable on the trail and volcanoes but also providing information on flora and fauna as well as local culture along the way. And it must be added that Hyme our porter provided incredible assistance, support and motivation as well. Mike2018Roatan Trek Guatemala was prepared with a great guide who spoke Spanish, English, and French. The provided equipment, and rental gear if needed, was all new and of very good quality. The food was very good and our guide prepared lunch, dinner, and breakfast that other hiking groups were jealous of. Our guide made guacamole with tomatoes and onions at the stop. There were tortillas, chips, pastries, apples, bread, and refried beans. Dinner was sliced bread with tomato topping and a bottle of wine to start with. The entree was bow tie pasta, tomatoes, salad. Top off with S’mores at the end. Breakfast the next morning was after the ascent and included strawberries, granola, yogurt, apples, coffee and tea. The food was excellent and I may have missed a few items, but you won’t go hungry…Our tents were set up when we arrived and a nice touch was the thermarest chair made out of the sleeping pad. The only improvement I would suggest at camp would be to have a few log benches at least to sit on because it’s all lava rock. Hadfun2018  The whole process was awesome from the booking to completing the hike. Billy was our guide and spoke great English and his knowledge of the area was great. The experience was unreal from the change climate as you get higher on Acatenango from the fresh food we are along the way. I would recommend these guys to anyone that want to experience Acatenango as they had the best spot at base camp for viewing the eruptions. Jayn86 Review Sources:

Go to Trek Guatemala Site

Acatenango Hike Tour with Tropicana Tours

lone hiker on Acatenango volcano summit

If you want to hike Acatenango with a company that has lots of experience, Tropicana Hostel may be the choice for you. They have led over 10,000 tours up Acatenango volcano. They offer hikes every Saturday, throw in a free breakfast, and offer vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-intolerant options for their meals. All meals are vegetarian/plant-based.

Tropicana helps support the local community in La Soledad by hiring local guides, enabling them to stay in their communities instead of traveling to the city for work. They pay they above average and also equip them with good boots and cold-weather gear.

Another bonus with Tropicana is that they now have wooden cabins which will keep you out of the wind and cold.

Their guides are not bilingual, however. If that is important to you, you may wish to choose a different company.

$67 per person to join the Saturday group hike

Gear Rentals for the Acatenango hike with Tropicana

Choose any 3 items for 3 usd ($3 deposit), any 1 item for $7 ($15 deposit).

  • Running Shoes

1 item for $3 ($5 deposit)

Tropicana acatengango hike includes:.

  • Sleeping bag, mat, and wooden cabins with views of Fuego
  • Local Community Guide
  • Breakfast before the hike
  • 3 vegetarian meals (vegan, gluten-free, lactose intolerant options available upon request)
  • Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
  • One glass of wine
  • Marshmallows to roast at the campfire.
  • Roundtrip Transportation to and from the trailhead
  • Free storage at the hostel
  • Free shower and towel at the hostel after the trek, at no extra cost.
  • Backpack/Cold-weather Gear/Walking sticks
  • Non-English-speaking Guides
  • Tropicana leads hikes every Saturday, but may have hikes on other days (inquire)
  • Arrive at the hostel at 8am for the free breakfast
  • Shuttle departs at 9am
  • Campfire and marshmallow roast included
  • Pet friendly
  • Family friendly

“To make your excursion unforgettable, we will send you a packing list, conduct a pre-trip in-person briefing, serve you delicious meals, and make sure you are safe and satisfied.”

Review Roundup for Acatenango hike with Tropicana Tours

Struggle but definitely worth the hike. Great team and amazing guides (Cristián, Jairo y one more) highly recomendó it. Havannah C They have the best view of the Fuego volcano, incredible guides, good food, and the price is accessible. Luis G This trip was totally amazing, the hike was spectacular, I went with my kids and Tropicana made everything so easy, the food, the gear, the guides, the wooden cabins (that btw were just perfect for this kind of overnight), we definitely recommend it for all ages. Beth Smith Went on here to find a tour company, everyone raves about Tropicana. Chose them. Yes, some of the food and location are fantastic. That’s about it. Arrived at the hostel, and you’re treated as a resource immediately. No intro, nothing whatsoever. Just follow the herd! …Guides didn’t speak any english, but this isn’t on them — Tropicana should provide a translator as every.single.sign at their location is in English. Tsk tsk Tropicana. Tsk tsk. Onto the hike with lots of breaks. Good job here… Stunning lava explosions. Wow. I mean wow! You’re so close!!! Back in Antigua, Tropicana again treated us as an ATM. Gave out 3 free beers (out of 19 travels) in order to entice us as a group to stay there and hash out our adventures together (it worked, we were tired and ready to sit back and laugh and drink beers and gin’n’tonics). James M A must-do hike. I was advised by a friend to book the trekking with Tropicana and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. Booking was easy. Despite booking the wrong day, the agency changed the date only charging me for the wasted food. They offer rental of any gear you might need, peace of mind! Once on the field we had the two awesome guides Edwin and Juan. Lovely, kind and patient, making the whole experience even more special. They looked after us at all times, giving us generous breaks in a not easy hike. They served us dinner and we had a nice cabin (instead of rival companies tents) with comfy beds. Fire volcano didn’t stop spitting lava all night, so great for pics but bad for sleep. Bring earplugs! Next morning, after being up the crater, we had a nice breakfast and back to the starting point. I cannot stress more to advise you booking the hike with Edwin & Juan. What a nice couple of guys! Joan S Unique experience to watch the lava eruptions of Volcan fuego from Volcan Acatenango. After some recommendations, we went with the agency of Tropicana hostel, and would definitely go with them again. Great base camp, comfy sleeping, lots of food and some other surprises. Jairo was a great guide and served us riddles on the way to take our minds off the hard and steep hike??saludos from Annike – Noruega. Beatrice_Roma187791 Review Sources:

Go to Tropicana Tours Site

Acatenango Hike Tour with Balam Tours

Campsite with view of Fuego during Acatenango hike tour

Balam Tours is another great Acatenango hike tour company. They have high ratings for their hand-picked, safety-conscious guides, quality gear, and good food. They offer vegetarian and vegan menu options and include extra bonuses like wine, hot chocolate, and a campfire. Unlike other tours, they offer to pick you up right from your hostel (as long as it’s in central Antigua).

They are currently offering private tours (2 person minimum).

Cost of hiking Acatenango with Balam Tours:

$55 plus Q50 ($6.50 approximately) for entrance to the park.

  • Roundtrip transportation from central Antigua to the Trailhead
  • Walking stick
  • Boots (limited sizes, check with them beforehand)
  • Backpacks (limited quantity available)
  • Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, and a bonus evening snack at the campfire, plus wine and hot chocolate
  • Stay in a four-season camping dome with a cot, sleeping bag, pillow, and extra blanket
  • Private toilet (clean, secluded, and with a view)
  • Guide Gratuity
  • Snacks during the hike

Important Info about Balaam Acatenango hike:

  • 8:30-9am Shuttle Pickup at hostels in central Antigua
  • Sunrise at the Peak

It’s time to remember what it’s like to feel alive. Experience nature displaying its true beauty with the tour of a lifetime.

Review Roundup for the Acatenango hike tour with Balaam

Amazing trekking on Acetenango. Warm coats, gloves, hats and extra blankets were provided. Great food, also vegetarian. Best guide ever. We were 8 people and we had an amazing guide in Isaias. Very caring, attentive and cheery; waking us up with a bright Hola hola. And even carried one of our group down when her knee ‘gave up’. Views were magical, also from the basecamp. We could see El Fuego from quite close by. The tents were strong and decent and we slept on camping beds. Great experience with this tour company! Yessica Y Our guide Jamie was wonderful and the food was excellent. We were given jackets, gloves, poles, rain ponchos, really good sleeping gear up the mountain, and a fantastic view of Volcán Fuego from our campsite. Balam was an excellent company to use and the experience was our best in Guatemala. Wendy W We did this hike with Balam tours and I would highly recommend them. The hike is challenging so having a tour company that makes it easier is key. Our guides Johnny and Otta were outstanding and couldn’t have been more helpful. The food and accommodation was fantastic. We had one girl who injured her ankle at the end of the hike and they handled the situation brilliantly. Lindsey C Definitely a highlight trip. Although the hike up was difficult, once we arrived to the already set-up campsite everything was totally worth it. We went through Balam Tours which we booked through Three Monkeys Hostel for 400Q. The tour guides were great, they gave surprisingly accurate time estimates to the next stops or when the track would not be so steep which I really appreciated. They provided jackets, gloves and beanies if needed but you had to supply 4L of water, 3L for you and 1L for them to cook with – so the backpack felt pretty heavy going up! But super easy going down as the backpack was super light. The campsite up the mountain was pretty cool – it looked directly at Fuego – which was very active and just incredible to see both in the day and at night time. The two tents were secured down and blocked a lot of wind. If you choose the bed next to the door, it is a lot colder so just warning! It was really cold when we went so I would recommend bringing a lot of warm clothing. Aleisha W

Go to Balam Tours Site

And there you have it!

Pico Mayor Acatenango Volcano Guatemala

This isn’t a complete list, but it covers the best-known Acatengango hike tour operators out of Antigua. Other companies in Xela and Panajachel also offer excursions to Acatenango, so there are plenty of options if you want a tour based out of another location. If there’s enough interest, I may expand this list to include more tour companies, including more budget options such as Guate Valley.

If you haven’t already done so, learn everything you need to know about hiking Acatenango Volcano !

Looking for more volcanoes to climb? Check out my post on climbing San Pedro Volcano in Lake Atitlán , or choose one of these awesome Pacaya Volcano tours from Antigua .

*** GUATEMALA TRAVEL PLANNING GUIDE *** Should I buy Guatemala travel insurance? YES  — Personally, I always travel with travel insurance because it gives me extra peace of mind.  SafetyWing  is an excellent travel insurance company that’s quite affordable. Plus, if you travel longterm, it’s a snap to renew on a month to month basis. You can keep renewing for up to a year and still pay the same deductible. Where’s the best place for finding cheap flights to Guatemala? When I purchase a ticket, I always search several different sites.  Kayak  and  Expedia  are great places to start running a search. Spirit is usually the cheapest carrier, but American Airlines and United also sometimes offer excellent deals. What’s the best way to book my Guatemala accommodations? I recommend  for finding and booking hotels in Guatemala. For vacation rentals, I recommend  — it offers beautiful and unique spots to stay. What’s the best way to book Guatemala tours? Viator  is a great tour booking site with several excellent options available in Guatemala’s main tourist areas including Tikal, Atitlán, Antigua, and Acatenango. There’s a nice range of prices and options available. Can you drink the water in Guatemala? No – Don’t drink the tap water! Instead, buy purified water from any corner store or grocery store in Guatemala. Be sure to brush your teeth with that water as well to avoid getting sick. And hydrated, especially when traveling to high elevations. Do I need a visa for Guatemala? Probably not — Visitors to Guatemala from “Category A” countries like the United States, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and most European countries are automatically given a 90-day tourist visa (in the form of a passport stamp) when entering Guatemala. This visa is valid for Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. At the end of 90 days, it can be renewed once at Guatemala’s Migración without leaving the country. After 180 days, you will have to travel outside of Central America before returning. Check to see  if you need a visa . Will my phone work in Guatemala? It’s possible, but check with your provider in advance to see if Guatemala is covered. If not, you can easily pick up a local SIM card. There are essentially only two carriers in the country: TIGO and CLARO. Both have good coverage.

v hiking tours acatenango

Yvonne McArthur is a writer, word-lover, and adventurer born and raised in Guatemala. Since starting her niche travel blog in 2021, she's helped thousands of people discover Guatemala, from top tourist attractions to far-flung destinations.

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Acatenango Volcano Hike – An Experience of a Lifetime

Acatenango Volcano Hike – An Experience of a Lifetime

Acatenango is a stratovolcano whose moon-like crater rises to 13,045-feet above sea level, making it the third highest peak in Central America. Getting to the top is a physical and mental challenge worth tackling, especially if you like to push yourself to the limits of endurance, experience nature in its raw glory, and climb higher than the clouds.

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Really well organised Acatenango hike. Guides were very helpful and attentive. Food was good and... read more

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first of all, we never actually did the acatenango tour with them, we were from another camp, but... read more

v hiking tours acatenango

Acatenango Volcano with V-Hiking Tours

Hiking the volcano was definitely a great experience for me. I was very lucky to do the trekking one on one with my guide. The views were awe-inspiring despite the brutal trekking of almost 7 hours. We camped out overnight with Volcan Fuego erupting at regular intervals. My guide Walter was great and patient with me and so is Elvin who picked me up from my hostel and arranged everything. I will definitely recommend V-Hiking tours to everyone. V-Hiking is a fantastic local company. Thank you for the once-in a lifetime experience.

v hiking tours acatenango

Elvin took great care of us. He picked us up from our Antigua Hotel and set us up with a fun guide to climb Acatenango. When one of our party was unable to make the full hike up the volcano, he helped us get her up on their horse carrying supplies to a camp where they had another group camping. When we finished our hike, Elvin took us to his family's home for a nice lunch on the patio before we headed back to our hotel in Antigua. I would definitely go with V-Hiking tours again and will do the overnight camp with our next trip.

My boyfriend and I just returned from an awesome hiking trip on vulcano Acetenango with our guide Warner. We enjoyed every minute of it and the service was awesome. The camp was very comfortable and V-hiking is one of the few companies where you don’t have to carry all camping equipment to the top. Good breakfast, lunch and dinner was provided and cooked by the family of Elvin. It was an awesome experience with a company where you will hike to the top in small groups, so you don’t have to wait if people are slower than you. We had an awesome time! Thanks V-hiking!

v hiking tours acatenango

Elvin is incredibly kind, patient, and generous. He really seems to be not about the money, but about the service. He bends over backwards to be helpful to travelers. His whole family accepts travelers to their home everyday, yet still has true kindness and generosity. And they are great cooks! Elvin picked us up from our hotel and helped deliver us to our next destination afterwards. The provided us wifi, food and a place to shower and wash up after the hike. Amazing service! Their camp was the best view out of all the camps. Patient guide who waited while the group struggled with the altitude.

I had such an awesome experience with v-hiking tours!!! They are very well organized, the campsite is great with the best views of Volcano de Fuego and Elvin, the owner, is super super friendly, easy to approach, attentive and extremely knowledgeable about these volcanos as he lives at their bottom and been climbing them the whole life !!! I definitely recommend them to everybody wanting to have this unique experience!! Best wishes Elvin 🍀 Keep the great work 😉

Super knowledgeable guides!!! Unforgettable one of a kind experience! Great memories. Breathtaking views and best cacao made on fire)

Acatenango Volcano Overnight Hike: Everything you need to know (updated 2023)

Smoke rising from Fuego Volcano Guatemala, man jumping in front of erupting volcano, man in white shirt and brown pants

The Acatenango Volcano Overnight Hike is a must do in Antigua Guatemala . Not only do you get to sleep on the side of a volcano , but you get first row seats to watch an active volcano erupt every 15 minutes! It was awe inspiring to witness the power of nature up close, but remember there’s no gain without a little bit of pain!

Where is Acatenango Volcano?

Acatenango Volcano (or Volcan de Acatenango in Spanish) is located in Guatemala in Central America . It is around 1 hour drive from the city of Antigua. Additionally, it is part of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Tours of Acatenango Volcano

View of campground on Acatenango Volcano, Sun rising over Pacaya Volcano Guatemala, clouds surrounding Pacaya Volcano

There are a range of tour companies which offer overnight hike tours of Acatenango Volcano. These volcan Acatenango tours take you up Acatenango Volcano, which is about an hour drive from the city of Antigua Guatemala . From base camp some tours offer the option of hiking onto the adjacent active volcano, Fuego Volcano , for an additional fee. Alternatively you can hike to the summit of Acatenango Volcano ( 3,976m elevation ). Some tours do the hike to the summit for sunset and others hike to the summit for sunrise the next morning. You spend the night camping on the side of Acatenango Volcano, which gives you unbeatable views of the regular eruptions of Fuego Volcano .

Comparison of tour companies offering overnight tours of Acatenango Volcano

There are six main tour companies offering tours of Acatenango Volcano. Prices range from $64-$275 USD per person. The cheapest operator is Tropicana Hostel and the most expensive is Trek Guatemala .

All companies offer transport between Antigua and the bottom of the volcano, 3 meals and guides. Some companies also offer a pre departure breakfast, snacks, storage facilities and rental gear. Additionally, some companies offer private accommodation for couples for an additional cost. The entrance fee to Acatenango Volcano may or may not be included in your price, depending on the operator. The biggest difference between the companies relates to the accommodation (cabins or tents, permanent campgrounds or carry your own tent up), group sizes, whether or not rental gear is included and the experience of the guides. Some operators explicitly request you bring a tip to pay your guide on their website. However there is an expectation that you will tip your guide regardless of the provider chosen.

Below are the main features of the different Acatenango Volcano overnight hike Guatemala tours.

Tropicana Hostel Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: $79 (shared cabins) or $249 (for 2 people in private tent with bottle of wine and special dessert)

Meeting point: Tropicana Hostel

Meeting time: 8am

Departure time: 9am

Accommodation: Shared cabins or private 2-person tent

Guides: Local guides

Meals: Pre departure breakfast, 3 vegetarian meals, hot beverages, marshmallows

Transport: Transport between Tropicana Hostel and the bottom of the volcano is included

Storage: Free storage at the hostel

Entrance Fee: Included in price

Other inclusions: free shower and towel at the hostel after the trek

Discounts: discount at the hostel for the following nights (except during low season)

What you need to bring: warm clothes, 4 litres of water, extra snacks, flashlight, medium backpack

Rental gear available: clothes (3 for $3 plus $3 deposit) – jacket, sweater, scarf, gloves, hat, pants; running or hiking shoes ($7 for a pair plus $15 deposit); backpack ($7 plus $15 deposit); headlamp ($3 plus $5 deposit)


Pros: Cheapest

V-Hiking Tours Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: 550 quetzales (tourists) or 450 quetzales (Guatemalan nationals)

Meeting point: Pick-up from your accommodation in Antigua

Departure time: 7am

Accommodation: tents

Guides: 1 guide for every 7 guests, family business run by local guide

Meals: Pre departure breakfast with local family, 3 meals, 1 snack

Transport: private transport between your accommodation in Antigua and the bottom of the volcano is included

Entrance Fee: 110 quetzales entrance fee is included in price

Other inclusions: camping equipment – clean sleeping bags, comfortable mattresses etc.

What you need to bring: warm clothes including 2 pairs of socks, personal medication, personal hygiene kit (toilet paper, hand sanitiser etc), 3+ litres of water, flashlight/headlamp with sufficient batteries, 35-45 litre backpack.


Pros: Locally owned, family business

Wicho & Charlie’s Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: $97 (shared cabin) or $275 (for 2 people private cabin)

Meeting point: Wicho & Charlie’s Office: 2 calle Oriente #22, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Meeting time: 7am

Departure time: 8am

Accommodation: Shared cabins or private 2-person cabins

Guides: Bilingual local guides raised within a 5km radius of the volcano with at least 300 ascents experience, first aid certified, air and mountain rescue certified

Meals: Pre departure breakfast, 3 vegetarian meals, snacks. All food is vegetarian and gluten free.

Transport: Transport between Wicho & Charlie’s office and the bottom of the volcano is included

Storage: Free storage at Wicho & Charlie’s Office

Other inclusions: essential gear rental (hat, scarf, buff, winter gloves, multiple layer jacket), 4 litres water

Discounts: 5% discount when you pay by cash

Potential extra fees: If you fall behind the group by more than 45 minutes a separate guide will be assigned to you and you will be charged an additional Q250-Q300. If this happens on the way down and you miss the bus to go back to Antigua there is an additional Q250 fee for the alternative transport.

What you need to bring: toilet paper, warm clothes, extra 0.5 litres water, extra snacks (500 calories), sunscreen, camera, battery power bank, 40 litre backpack

Rental gear included: multiple jackets, scarf, buff, winter gloves, hat, headlamp as well as water bottles.

Additional rental gear available: thermal base layers (20q); merino socks (15q); 40 litre backpack (70q); trekking pole (40q). Deposit required – government ID or money.

Porters available: 200-350 quetzales for a maximum of 30 pounds. A third party provider provides this service, so payment is in cash directly to the porter.

Cancellation policy: refund or change of date if requested 24 hours prior to tour start time (7am)


Pros: Best campsite and accommodation on Acatenango Volcano

OX Expeditions Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Meeting point: Ox Expeditions Office: 2a Calle Poniente #23, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Accommodation: Tents

Guides: Professional bilingual guides

Meals: Pre departure breakfast, 3 meals, coffee

Transport: Transport between Ox Expeditions Office and the bottom of the volcano is included

Storage: Free storage at Ox Expeditions Office

Entrance Fee and camping fee: 100 quetzales

What you need to bring: Hiking clothes (a synthetic base layer, fleece, rain jacket and quick drying leggings or shorts), a good pair of trainers or hiking boots, hat and sunscreen, snacks, tip for guide.

Rental gear available: rental gear is included


Pros: Rental gear is included

Old Town Outfitters Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: $140-245 per person, depending on group size. Old Town Outfitters operates on tiered pricing, meaning the price depends on the total number of paying customers in the group. You can join an existing tour or start a new group yourself for your preferred date.

Meeting point: Old Town Outfitters Office: 5a Avenida Sur, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Accommodation: High altitude tents with sleeping bags and pads

Guides: Experienced local guides from the community of La Soledad

Meals: 3 meals, juice/coffee/tea, snacks

Transport: Transport between Old Town Outfitters Office and the bottom of the volcano is included

Entrance Fee: Included

What you need to bring: one warm layer and/or windbreaker, warm clothes for the near-freezing night-time temperatures at camp, rain jacket (May-October), hat, sunglasses, hiking boots or trekking shoes (no sandals), minimum 4 litres water (you can fill up waterbottles at the Old Town Outfitters office before the hike), sunscreen, camera, flashlight, backpack for your personal gear, personal toiletries and/or medication, snacks, tip for your guide.

Porters available: $45 for a maximum of 30 pounds. This is typically enough to share between 2 hikers. The Porter Service charge goes directly to local porter staff and OTO does not earn a profit from this service.


Pros: No minimum tour size required

Trek Guatemala Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: Private tours for 2-12 guests; $229 per guest for 2 guests, $219 per guest for 3 guests, $169 per guest for 4-5 guests, $149 per guest for 6-12 guests

Accommodation: high quality tents

Guides: Multilingual guides, first aid certified

Meals: 3 meals, snacks

Transport: Transport between Antigua and the bottom of the volcano is included

Other inclusions: High-quality tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and trekking poles

What you need to bring: flashlight/headlamp, warm clothes, hiking boots/shoes, raincoat (May-October), 4-6 litres water, 50 litre backpack, tips for guides.

Rental gear available: 50 litre backpack, flashlight/headlamp, warm clothing,


Pros: Private tours

Acatenango Balam Tours

For completeness, we note that we found a Facebook page for a company called Acatenango Balam Tours. This company appears to offer tours for the Acatenango Volcano overnight hike. However their last post was in 2020 and their last review suggested that this was a fake company.

Which tour company we chose for Acatenango Overnight Volcano Hike Guatemala

We did our tour with Wicho & Charlie’s . We chose them because they have the best position on Acatenango Volcano, their guides are well trained and very experienced and they came highly rated on TripAdviser. For our tour in 2020 we paid 450 quetzales or $61 USD per person. The tour started from their office in Antigua at 7:30am and returned at around 11:30am the next day. Included in this price were, transport, guides, essential gear, food and accommodation.

Our Experience with Wicho & Charlie’s Acatenango Hike

Our impression of wicho & charlie’s.

Fuego Volcano erupting at sunset, volcano eruption surrounded by clouds, purple sky and stars

Wicho & Charlie’s runs a very professional and well organised hike. Their guides were excellent and made sure that everyone was well taken care of. They had enough guides that you could go at whatever pace you were comfortable with without worrying about being left behind. Their campsite has the best vantage point for viewing Fuego Volcano and their food was delicious. We think they run the best tour on the volcano and highly recommend going with them.

What is supplied on the Wicho & Charlie’s Acatenango overnight hike

Woman hiking down Acatenango Volcano Guatemala, woman using hiking poles and carrying a backpack, hiking in Central America, Hiking in Guatemala

Wicho & Charlie’s include the following in their Acatenango Overnight Hike:

  • All your food (which you need to carry up yourself)
  • Tents and camping equipment on the best permanent campsite on Acatenango Volcano
  • Cold weather clothing such as base layers, jackets and scarves
  • Waterbottles
  • For an extra charge you can rent items such as backpacks, hiking poles and other useful equipment. We borrowed a hiking pole for part of the walk down, and after struggling without one, we’d say it’s worth the cost, especially if you’re not an experienced hiker

What to bring for the Acatenango overnight hike

Woman wearing beanie and jacket sitting at Wicho & Charlie's campground on Acatenango Volcano Guatemala, Pacaya Volcano in the background, sunrise on a volcano, volcano surrounded by clouds

We recommend you bring the following items for the Acatenango Overnight Hike. This is in addition to what is supplied by Wicho & Charlie’s:

  • 4 litres of water (3 litres for yourself and an extra litre is required to give to the cooks for preparing dinner)
  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • Photography equipment to capture the best shots (if you have a DSLR , now is definitely the time to use it!)
  • 200 quetzales, just in case you decide to go onto Fuego Volcano. Even if you don’t think you’ll do that, make sure you keep that option open in case you change your mind in the moment
  • Any medication you might need, keeping in mind that altitude sickness is a potential risk on this tour. Bandaids might also come in handy if you get blisters from the hike
  • Hand sanitiser

If you have your own cold weather clothes, we recommend you bring them.

Before the Acatenango Volcano hike

The tour starts at the Wicho & Charlie’s office in Antigua Guatemala . We got a welcome drink on arrival and they have filtered water available so you can fill up your water bottles for the hike. The team from Wicho & Charlie’s gave a debrief about the tour. We were also provided with a hearty breakfast to start the day. After breakfast we were able to select the gear that we wanted to borrow for the hike. Some items came included in the package and other items were an additional charge. After we selected our items we then had to let the staff know what we’d selected. The staff made note of our items so they could ensure all items were returned at the end of the tour. We thought there was a good range of items available in various sizes.

Once everyone was ready, we got into a couple of minivans. We then drove to the base of Acatenango Volcano, which was about an hour drive away.

Last restroom stop before Acatenango Volcano

At the drop off point at Acatenango Volcano we had our last opportunity to use an actual toilet before the hike. The restrooms are in sheds just next to the road. They are pretty basic and not the most pleasant to use, but a step up from going in a hole in the ground.

Hiking to Base Camp on Acatenango Volcano

Couple halfway up Acatenango Volcano on Wicho & Charlie's Acatenango Overnight Hike, donkey in background

Hiking Acatenango is really challenging. It goes in three main stages . The first stage is STEEP and it’s gravelly. I thought I was pretty fit and it would be no problem but I struggled. But you know you just put one foot in front of the other. Just try and motivate yourself and the views at the top are absolutely worth it.

When you’re at the top you can see you’ve got a great vantage point of Fuego Volcano which is an active volcano and it erupts pretty much every 15 minutes. It’s an amazing sight to see and a very thrilling experience.

Wicho & Charlie's tour group approaching the summit of Acatenango Volcano Guatemala

Once you get to base camp which is about 4 hours from the bottom, you have the option of going up to the summit which is a one and a half hour hike up and then half an hour hike back. Or you can have the opportunity of going to Fuego itself, which is a four hour hike, down and up, down and up, and that will be another 200 quetzales . We were considering doing Fuego, but the hike just to base camp took all the energy we could muster! After a couple of hours rest we did the summit hike and that was probably the most demanding part of the whole trip. But very worth it once you’re up the top. You get an amazing sunset .

The Wicho and Charlies campground on Acatenango Volcano

Lava Flowing from Fuego Volcano Guatemala, Volcano at night, stars in sky, Volcano eruption in Guatemala

Wicho & Charlie’s has the best camp ground on Acatenango Volcano . They have a higher vantage point than other tour companies and they have a permanent campsite with fixed shelters for sleeping quarters, a large tent which contains the dining room and kitchen and a fire pit with plenty of camp chairs surrounding it. The Acatenango Wicho and Charlies campsite spans over two levels. We were on the lower level, which was next to the main dining room tent. The views from the camp site are awe inspiring. A couple of people ended up spending the night around the camp fire watching the volcanic displays from nearby Fuego Volcano . From the camp ground you were close enough to actually hear the eruptions.

The sleeping quarters are basically big sheds with two rows of camping cots. We were also provided with sleeping bags and a pillow each. The beds were surprisingly comfortable and the shelter provided good protection from the elements. We managed to have a decent night sleep up on the volcano, and were refreshed enough to get up early to watch the sun rise over Fuego Volcano .

The food on Wicho & Charlie’s overnight hike

We were well fed on our tour with Wicho & Charlie’s. For our hike we were given a brown paper bag which had lunch and snacks inside. We had a number of stops along the way to have morning tea and lunch and have a well deserved rest on the way. Dinner was spaghetti with a tomato based sauce, which was quite tasty.

Waking up on Acatenango Volcano

View from Wicho & Charlie's campground on Acatenango Volcano Guatemala, Sunrise view of Pacaya Volcano, Pacaya Volcano surrounded by clouds, Volcano rising through clouds at sunrise

Waking up on the side of a volcano is an incredible experience! It was surreal being above the clouds and watching the sky being painted with beautiful sunrise hues. The sun rose right over nearby Pacaya Volcano , which is also an active volcano. The area was so peaceful and still. If you can wake up early enough, we definitely recommend being up before sunrise to make the most of this unique experience.

After enjoying the sunrise, we had breakfast and then began the hike back down Acatenango Volcano. The hike down was a lot quicker than the hike up, but it was still quite challenging as the loose rocks underfoot made for a slippery walk down. It took us about an hour and a half to get back down to the pickup point. We were again able to use the toilet facilities at the base of Acatenango Volcano while waiting for the minivans to pick us up and return us to Antigua Guatemala .

Back at the Wicho & Charlie’s office we had to return any gear that we had hired and we had one last chance to chat to our fellow hikers before we left.

Tips for the Acatenango Volcano hike

How hard is the acatenango hike.

The Acatenango hike difficulty is high. It’s one of the most physically demanding things we’ve ever done. Not only is the hike itself steep, but being at altitude makes it so much more difficult. We recommend only attempting this hike if you have a reasonable level of fitness and have allowed sufficient time to acclimatise to the altitude.

Preparation for the Acatenango overnight hike

Sunset view of Fuego Volcano from the summit of Acatenango Volcano, Volcano surrounded by clouds at sunset

We recommend you stay at least forty eight hours at altitude at either Antigua or Lake Atitlan to make sure that you’re acclimatised for the hike. You should also make sure that you’re in peak fitness because it is a very demanding hike and you want to make sure that you’re not throwing up on the way.

How to get the best photos of Fuego Volcano

Wicho & Charlie Tour Group on the Acatenango Overnight Hike; sunset view of Fuego Volcano, Volcano with sunset and clouds

Sunrise and sunset are the best times to get epic photos of Fuego Volcano . The red glow of the lava doesn’t become visible until twilight. During the day you won’t see the lava, but you’ll still see rocks flying into the air and a lot of smoke.

What to wear for the Acatenango hike

Man standing at summit of Acatenango Volcano looking at Fuego Volcano at sunset, Man standing above the clouds

It gets very cold and windy at the top, at close to freezing temperatures, so make sure that you bring plenty of warm clothes and especially the hike to the summit. But don’t wear all of your clothes right at the beginning of the hike because you will get very hot.

The hiking trail gets very dusty, so having something to cover your mouth and nose as you’re hiking up will save you from eating a lot of dust!

The path is very rocky and slippery so be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes with good grip.

Facilities on Acatenango Volcano

There are no toilets on Acatenango Volcano. Wicho & Charlie’s provides toilet paper and paper bags, and when nature calls you’ll have to find a discreet place to squat. Make sure you dispose of any paper rubbish in the bins provided. Solid waste needs to go in the bags to be disposed of in the bins provided. There are toilet cubicles just before you start the hike at the bottom of Acatenango Volcano. You will have an opportunity to use the facilities when the minivan drops you off at the base of Acatenango Volcano, just before you start the hike. You will be able to use these toilets again just before the minivan picks you up to return back to Antigua the morning after the hike.

Is Acatenango Volcano safe?

Hiking near an active volcano is not without risk. The nearby Fuego Volcano is a highly active and unpredictable volcano. Fuego Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. In early February 2021 both Fuego Volcano and nearby Pacaya Volcano both experienced increased volcanic activity.

When was the last major eruption of Fuego Volcano Guatemala?

The last catastrophic eruption of Fuego Volcano was on 3 June 2018. This eruption resulted in around 200 official deaths, and one local organisation estimated that up to 2,900 people may have actually died. This eruption happened with little warning and no time for evacuation.

Is Acatenango active?

Yes Acatenango Volcano is an active volcano. However it has been 50 years since Acatenango volcano last erupted. An active volcano is a volcano that is either erupting or is likely to erupt in future.

When was the last time Acatenango Volano erupted?

Whilst Acatenango is still an active volcano, the last known Acatenango eruption was in 1972.

Acatenango deaths

On 8th January 2017, 6 Guatemalans died while doing the Acatenango Volcano overnight hike. Weather conditions on that day were particularly hazardous, with temperatures drastically dropping to below -6 degrees celsius (21 degrees fahrenheit).

Do I need to be fit for the Acatenango Volcano hike?

To hike Acatenango Volcano you need a reasonable level of fitness. We are both very fit, but we found it VERY challenging. Keep this in mind when deciding whether this hike is the right activity for you.

Do I need to acclimatise before the Acatenango hike?

Yes! Be aware that the Acatenango hike is at altitude, with an elevation of 3,976 metres (13,044 feet). With altitude comes the risk of altitude sickness. Because of this, you will need to acclimatise at altitude at either Antigua Guatemala or Lake Atitlán Guatemala for at least 48 hours before you hike volcan Acatenango. Around 25% of our tour group were vomiting or ill throughout the night because they had not acclimatised beforehand. If you experience any signs of altitude sickness , let your guide know as soon as possible so they can take care of you.

Altitude sickness

The signs of altitude sickness are:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of Breath

General safety tips for Acatenango Volcano

Other general safety considerations for travel to Acatenango Volcano:

  • Drinking water – bring 4 litres of drinking water with you on the hike and make sure you stay hydrated.
  • Mosquitoes – Acatenango Volcano is at altitude, so mosquitoes aren’t an issue.
  • Road safety – The roads to Acatenango Volcano are in good condition. Exercise normal road safety.
  • Sun safety – The UV Index is very high in Guatemala , so sun protection such as sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses is very important to ensure you don’t get burnt.

Final thoughts on the Acatenango overnight hike

The Acatenango Overnight Hike is one of the most physically demanding things we’ve done in our lives, but also one of the most rewarding. It was an amazing experience to witness the constant eruptions of Fuego Volcano and is definitely an experience you should add to your Bucket List! If you want to learn more about this incredible Guatemalan adventure, check out our Acatenango video .

Guatemala Blogs

You can find our Guatemala travel blogs below.

View of Volcan de Agua from Tanque La Union Antigua Guatemala, Street view Antigua Guatemala

Why you need to visit Guatemala right now!

Parque Central Plaza Mayor Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala Flag

Top 5 Things to do in Antigua Guatemala

Cafe Sabor Cruceño Santa Cruz Guatemala

Why 4 days at Lake Atitlán was not nearly enough!

Man at Tikal Temple I - Temple of the Great Jaguar - Tikal Guatemala

Tikal: Exploring Mayan Ruins in Guatemala

Smoke rising from Fuego Volcano Guatemala, man jumping in front of erupting volcano, man in white shirt and brown pants

Semuc Champey Guatemala: A Hidden Oasis

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The Smooth Escape

Nature & adventure travel blog

Volcan Acatenango hike: A bucket list adventure in Guatemala

A volcano erupting with bright orange lava pouring down its sides

The Acatenango Volcano hike is a must-have experience for every nature lover and adventure seeker visiting Guatemala. It’s one of my all-time favorite hikes and thinking back to those phenomenal views from Acatenango still gives me goosebumps.

The challenging but spectacular hike takes you to the summit of Central America’s third-highest volcano and offers an epic panorama of the Guatemalan highlands. However, the absolute best part of the Acatenango trek is witnessing the eruptions of the neighboring Volcan Fuego. 

Seeing the glowing red lava burst into the night sky and hearing the roars of the volcano is a surreal experience which you’ll never forget. It’s a true spectacle of nature that will leave you speechless!

In this post, I’ll cover everything you need to know to plan your Acatenango hike, including the difficulty level, the best time to do it, the best tour options, what to pack and some practical tips from my personal experience of doing this iconic trek.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links from which I may make a commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase.

a volcano spitting out a plume of smoke during sunrise; one of the best views on the Acatenango hike

General info about the Acatenango hike

Type of hike: out-and-back Distance: 17km (10 mi) + 5.5km (3.4 mi) if you also want to hike to Fuego Difficulty: difficult Time: 1.5 days Altitude: 3,976m (13,000 ft) Elevation gain: 1,600m (5,250ft)

Volcan Acatenango is a 3,976m (13,000 ft) tall stratovolcano near the city of Antigua in southern Guatemala. Although it is technically considered an active volcano, it had its last eruption in 1972 and is currently safe to hike.

Right next to Acatenango sits the majestic Volcan Fuego aka the Volcano of Fire, one of the most active volcanoes in Central America. Fuego has small eruptions about every 15 minutes, which you can watch from a safe distance at Acatenango. It has larger eruptions every 4-5 years and the last one was in May 2023, just a few weeks after our hike.

During the day, you can see Fuego Volcano spew out tall columns of ash and smoke. However, the real show starts at night when you can watch the luminous red lava burst out of its crater and trickle down its sides. It’s a truly incredible sight and for many travelers (including myself), it ends up being one of the highlights of their Guatemala trip .

A woman standing on the summit of Acatenango Volcano with the smoking Volcan Fuego in the background

How to hike Acatenango

The Volcan Acatenango hike is usually done as a guided overnight hike. The tours depart from the city of Antigua and take about 1.5 days in total. I’ll go into detail about the best Acatenango tour options later in this blog post.

On the first day of the tour, you’ll hike up to Acatenango Base Camp at 3,600m/11,800ft, where you’ll spend the night in a tent or a basic cabin and get to enjoy amazing nighttime views of Volcan Fuego. From the base camp, you also have the option to do the additional Volcan Fuego hike. 

Next morning you’ll hike to the summit of Acatenango for sunrise before heading back down and returning to Antigua.

It is possible to hike Acatenango in one day if you’re short on time but I highly recommend including the full overnight tour in your Guatemala itinerary if you can. The best part is seeing Fuego erupt at night but you’d miss out on that if you do a one-day tour.

It is also possible to do the Acatenango hike without a guide but I wouldn’t recommend it. Doing a guided hike – whether as part of a group or privately – is not only safer because the guides are experts on the volcanoes but it is also much easier because food, tents/cabins and transport are organized for you (at least on most tours). 

I really wouldn’t want to carry my own tent, sleeping bag and cooking gear (in addition to all the other things you’ll need) to the top of the volcano. It would make the hike significantly harder. Also, hiring a guide is a great way to support the local economy.

The peak of the pyramid-shaped Agua Volcano peeping through clouds

Volcan Acatenango hike difficulty

The Acatenango Volcano hike is generally considered a challenging hike. Many people describe it as grueling, brutal and the hardest hike they’ve ever done. I personally didn’t find the hike super challenging. I’d say that for anyone who’s used to hiking, has a reasonable level of fitness and trains a little bit for Acatenango in advance, this hike is totally doable. 

The trail is quite steep and uphill almost the entire way but it’s not too strenuous because you’ll take a lot of breaks and hike pretty slowly if you’re with a tour group. And in case you do find it hard, you can always hire a porter to carry your backpack or you can slow down your pace.

To physically prepare yourself for the hike, I recommend doing leg workouts, going on walks with a heavy backpack and doing some of the easier hikes in Guatemala, such as Pacaya or the Indian Nose hike (a must-do hike at Lake Atitlan). 

Hikers trekking down the side of Acatenango Volcano with panoramic views of Guatemalan highlands in the background

Also, you should acclimatize yourself to the altitude before climbing Acatenango to reduce the chances of getting altitude sickness. Spend at least 48 hours in Antigua, Guatemala City, Lake Atitlan or any other place with a similar altitude (1,500m/4920ft) before the hike.

If you’re prone to getting altitude sickness, bring medication from your home country to mitigate that. Otherwise, being acclimatized, staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol and caffeine before the hike should be sufficient for most people to handle the elevation.

Tip: If you think hiking Acatenango is too big of an endeavor for you, it is also possible to get almost to the base camp of the volcano by a 4×4 car with this tour .

Volcan Fuego blowing out smoke on a clear sunny day with blue sky

Best tour options for the trek

Since the Acatenango trek is one of the most famous volcano hikes in Guatemala, there are numerous tour companies offering guided overnight tours, most of them based in Antigua.

The tours usually include transport, food and hot drinks, cabins or tents with sleeping bags and sometimes even equipment rental. Also, some tours include the 110 GTQ park entrance fee whereas others ask you to pay that at the volcano.

a plastic box with rice and chicken, a typical lunch on the Acatenango overnight trek

On most tours, once you reach the base camp, you can also do the additional Fuego Volcano hike if you have the energy. The hike to Fuego and back is a 5.5km (3.4 mi) round trip and will give you a close-up view of the volcano if the sky is clear. It usually costs 200-300 GTQ extra.

Here are the Acatenango hike tours I recommend and the tour that I did:

Acatenango tour with OX Expeditions : This is the classic 2-day, 1-night tour with one of the most reputable tour companies in Guatemala. Their camp has comfortable wooden cabins with a volcano view and you can rent gear like backpacks and warm clothes for free. They also organize a meeting the day before the tour to give information about everything you should bring and what to expect.

Acatenango tour with V-Hiking : This is the tour I did. Overall it was a great experience – the cabins and sleeping bags were comfortable, the camp had a nice view and the food was decent. What I didn’t like though was their time management. On day 2 we almost missed the sunrise from the summit because our group was moving so slowly. 

Acatenango Glamping tour : If you don’t like the idea of sleeping in a basic tent or a cabin, you have the option of staying in a comfortable spacious glamping tent with a proper bed instead. It’s the only camp of its kind on Acatenango.

One-day tour : As I said earlier, if you’re short on time you can do the Acatenango day hike. I definitely recommend the overnight tour instead but if you can’t fit it into your travel plans, doing the day hike is better than not doing the hike at all.

The conical Agua Volcano with pink sky in the background during sunrise

Itinerary for the Acatenango overnight hike

Below I’m describing what you can expect on each of the days of the hike. The exact itinerary can vary a bit depending on the tour company but in general, all the Acatenango Volcano overnight hike tours follow a similar schedule.

Day 1: Trek to base camp and Fuego

You will either be picked up from your hotel in Antigua or you will meet at the tour company’s office early in the morning. Then you’ll drive for one hour to La Soledad where the Acatenango trailhead is located. Before starting the hike, you will usually also have breakfast in a nearby restaurant or, in our case, at the tour operator’s house. 

The trek up to the base camp takes 5-6 hours. Since it’s a popular hike, you can expect to see lots of people on the trail. Along the way, there are a few vendors selling snacks, soft drinks and even alcohol in little makeshift kiosks.

A vendor selling water, soft drinks and chips from a small stall next to the Acatenango hiking trail

What makes the ascent to the base camp interesting is that the scenery is changing all the time. You will hike through four different ecosystems – farmland, tropical cloud forest, high alpine forest and finally, volcanic terrain. The cloud forest with its lush moss-covered trees and humid air was definitely my favorite part.

a woman standing on the hiking trail in a forest, gazing up at the treetops

As you get closer to the camp, the terrain flattens, the vegetation becomes more sparse and you’ll get your first glimpse of Volcan Fuego. It’s an exhilarating moment that will make all the effort worthwhile!

You will arrive at your camp at around 3pm. Now it’s time to relax, have lunch and take in the magical view of Fuego spitting out plumes of smoke.

a woman looking at Volcan Fuego blowing out smoke in the distance

In the late afternoon or evening, those who want can hike to Fuego with a guide. It’s about a 3-hour round trip hike from the base camp but is much steeper than the hike to Acatenango. On the other hand, you won’t be carrying your heavy backpack so in that sense it’s easier. 

We did the Fuego hike but unfortunately didn’t get any views of it while there because it got completely wrapped in clouds just when we arrived. Thankfully, the sky cleared up when we got back to base camp.

As the night falls, it’s time to sit back, have dinner and enjoy the best part of this whole hike –  watch Fuego spew out glowing red lava into the dark sky. It’s a bucket-list-worthy moment and a surreal experience to see a volcano erupt in front of you!

While it’s tempting to stay up all night to watch the lava show, it would be wise to get some sleep before the early alarm on Day 2.

A nighttime view of Volcan Fuego erupting and spitting glowing red lava into the sky, the highlight of the Acatenango hike

Day 2: Trek to Acatenango’s summit and back down

You will wake up at 3.45am and get ready to hike to the summit of Acatenango to be there by sunrise. This portion of the hike is by no means mandatory and you can just wait in the camp if you don’t feel like doing it. 

The hike from the camp to the summit takes 1-1.5 hours and you’ll be walking on loose volcanic gravel up a steep slope. Some people consider this the hardest part of the entire Acatenango hike. I didn’t think it was too bad though because you won’t have to carry your heavy backpack there.

As we climbed up the volcano, the sky started turning pink and lighting up the landscape around us. Once at the summit, we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the perfectly conical Agua volcano and Fuego volcano erupting in the golden glow of the sunrise.

a panoramic view of Guatemala's hills and valleys and a pink sky during dawn

Then it was time to hike back down to the camp, have breakfast, pack up our stuff and start the descent to the base of the volcano. 

The hike down takes about 2.5 hours. It’s much easier than the hike up because you won’t be carrying the weight of your food and water but it can be a bit hard on the knees. Once down, your van will pick you up and you’ll be back in Antigua at around 1pm.

Best time to hike Acatenango

The best time to hike Volcan Acatenango is from November to April, which is the dry season. During these months, you’re more likely to have clear views and no rain. December to February are the clearest but also the coldest months.

With that said, Acatenango tours run all year round and you can definitely climb it during the rainy season. There is just a higher risk that the clouds will cover the view and you won’t see Volcan Fuego as much. You’ll spend so many hours on the volcano though that there’s a good chance the clouds will clear up at some point during your trek.

We did the hike in April and had great weather with no rain and only occasional clouds. At the start of the hike, it was 23°C (73°F) and it got gradually colder as we ascended. At night, the temperature dropped to about 0°C (32°F).

A woman with a trekking pole standing on a trail leading through farmlands

Acatenango Volcano trek map

To get an idea of where the Acatenango trail starts and where the base camp and summit are located, take a look at the map below. Click on the icon in the top left corner of the map for more details.

Practical tips for hiking Acatenango and Fuego

Bring layers of clothes: You might want to start the hike in shorts and a T-shirt (depending on the weather) but as you get to higher elevation and cool down from the hike, you’ll need a lot more layers. I ended up wearing a Merino wool shirt, fleece, light down jacket, leggings, pants, woolen socks, scarf, beanie and gloves. Bring also another pair of socks, a rain poncho/jacket and a bandana to protect your face from the dust.

Wear proper shoes: Worn-in hiking boots are best but trainers will also work (but their grip is not as good).

Bring a backpack: It should be at least 35 liters and you can usually rent it from your tour company. Leave your other luggage in the tour company’s office or your hotel.

Other gear to bring: Headlamp (for the Fuego hike and the sunrise); power bank, lightweight tripod (to take photos at night) and sunglasses. 

Hiking poles: You can usually rent a walking stick or hiking poles for a very low price from your tour operator or from locals at the trailhead (about 10 GTQ). They help a lot with stability and grip on the loose gravel.

Bring a plastic bag: It’s for your waste. Everything you bring up to the volcano you also need to bring down. It can also be useful for storing wet clothes.

Water: The general recommendation is to bring 3-4 liters per person. There’s no water on the way (apart from a few vendors that may or may not be there) or at the base camp so you have to bring what you need.

Snacks: Although meals are usually included in the tours, you’ll probably want to have some extra snacks such as nuts, muesli bars, cookies etc.

Toilets: There are proper toilets near the start of the trail but at the base camp they are very basic and without running water. Bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Toiletries: Remember to bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes, lip balm (the air is very dry up there), sunscreen.

Cash: You’ll need it in case you want to hire a porter (200 GTQ one way), pay for the toilet near the start of the trail (5 GTQ), pay for the park entrance fee (110 GTQ unless it’s included in your tour) or buy snacks from vendors along the trail.

Altitude sickness: Bring altitude sickness pills if that gives you peace of mind, preferably from your home country because you usually need a prescription for it. Or just stay in Antigua 48 hours beforehand to acclimatize and avoid alcohol and caffeine before the hike.

Dogs: There are lots of friendly stray dogs living on Acatenango volcano. You might want to bring dog treats for them.

a large group of hikers waiting next to a wooden hut at Acatenango National Park entrance

Where to stay before and after the hike

Almost all Acatenango tours start and end in Antigua, so I recommend staying there before and after the trek. It’s a really charming historical town with lots to see and do.

Here are the hotels in Antigua I recommend:

BUDGET & MID-RANGE: Barbara’s Boutique Hostel   A small hotel in a lovely historic building just a 10-minute walk from the center of Antigua. It has both private rooms and shared dorms. There’s also a shared kitchen and a small rooftop and they serve free cake every day!

LUXURY: Hotel Casa Santo Domingo This is Antigua’s most famous 5-star hotel. I spent two nights here and it exceeded all my expectations. The hotel has a really unique ambience as it’s set in the ruins of an old convent. Also, there’s an amazing spa where you can pamper your sore body after the hike.

If you want to know more about what to expect when staying at this iconic hotel, read my detailed review of Hotel Casa Santo Domingo .

a church with a yellow facade with intricate details in Antigua

I hope that this post convinced you to add the Acatenango Volcano trek to your bucket list because it’s an experience you really shouldn’t miss in Guatemala!

If you have any questions about the hike, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll get back to you.

Be sure to also read my other Guatemala travel guides to plan the rest of your trip:

  • The perfect 10-day Guatemala itinerary
  • How to visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal
  • Guide to visiting El Paredon
  • 12 best places to visit in Guatemala
  • Indian Nose sunrise hike at Lake Atitlan

Enjoyed reading about the Acatenango hike? Pin it!

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Review: Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, the most iconic hotel in Antigua Guatemala

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Why you should visit El Paredon, Guatemala + best things to do

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10 days in Guatemala: An unforgettable Guatemala itinerary

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Guatemala highlights & best places to visit

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Volcan Fuego erupts on the acatenango volcano hike

The ULTIMATE guide to the overnight Acatenango Volcano hike, Guatemala [2024]

Have you ever wanted to sit around a campfire, hot chocolate in hand, whilst watching an active volcano send sparks and lava into the air? Well, now’s your chance! The Acatanengo volcano hike in Guatemala is a real thing that you can do and it definitely needs to be added to your bucket list!   

The Acatenango Volcano hike is one of the most amazing experiences you’ll have in Guatemala, and even the whole of Central America. And you don’t even need to be super fit to do it! Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know, and everything we wish we’d known , about hiking Acatenango Volcano. So, keep reading for the ULTIMATE guide to the the Acatenango Volcano hike (it’s more in-depth than anywhere else, we’ve checked!)

Volcan Fuego erupts on the acatenango volcano hike

A guide rests on the summit of Acatenango

We knew before we even set foot in Guatemala that hiking Volcan Acatenango was a non-negotiable activity during our Central America adventures. 

But there are so many volcanoes in Central America! Why did we want to hike this specific one?

Well, Volcan Acatenango lies directly next to Volcan de Fuego. Fuego is Central America’s most active volcano , with low-level (non-dangerous) eruptions every 10 to 15 minutes. 

The chance to see Volcan de Fuego erupt, sprinkling sparks like stars across the dark night sky before sending lava cascading down through the clouds below, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity . It was an experience that we weren’t willing to miss. 

Preparation is the key to success! Keep reading for the Ultimate guide to the Acatenango volcano hike. Start here, at the beginning. Or skip to any of the contents below for instant answers to your burning volcano questions (because this guide is as long as my Masters thesis… no joke).  

We’ll cover what, and where is Volcan Acatenango, and why you’d want to hike it! After that, we’ll let you know all about the hike and what to expect. And we’ll finish up with the logistics; how to find a guide, what to pack, what to expect from the weather and altitude, and how fit you need to be to hike Acatenango. 

Click on any of the links below to be taken to that section. 


  • What, and where, is Volcan Acatenango?
  • Why do the Acatenango Volcano hike?


  • Acatenango Volcano Hike Day 1: What to expect
  • Acatenango Volcano Hike Day 2: What to expect
  • Is the optional Fuego hike worth it?
  • Is it guaranteed to see lava?!


  • Facilities: What to expect at Acatenango Base Camp?
  • Accommodation: What to expect at Acatenango base camp
  • My honest review of the Acatenango Volcano Hike


  • Do I need a guide to hike Acatenango?
  • Can I hike Acatenango by myself?
  • How to find a tour company for the Acatenango hike?
  • Best tour companies for Acatenango
  • What's the price of the 2-day trek?
  • Is a more expensive tour worth it?
  • What's included in the price?


  • When is the best time to hike Acatenango?
  • Weather on Acatenango
  • How cold is the Acatenango hike?
  • The importance of Acclimatisation?
  • How to avoid altitude sickness


  • What to wear for hiking Acatenango?
  • What to pack for hiking Acatenango?
  • How long is the Acatenango volcano hike?
  • How long does it take to hike Acatenango?
  • Is the Acatenango Volcano hike difficult?
  • Do I need to be fit to do the Acatenango Volcano hike?
  • Do I need to train for the Acatenango hike?
  • Can I hire a porter to carry my backpack up Acatenango?


  • Is the Acatenango Volcano hike safe?
  • Can I hike Acatenango in one day?
  • How to hike Acatenango responsibly
  • Other amazing things to do near Acatenango
  • Is the Acatenango hike REALLY worth it?

Volcan Fuego erupts on the acatenango volcano hike

Fuego from the summit of Volcan Acatenango 


Sitting in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, Volcan Acatenango is a stratovolcano in Guatemala. This conical volcano is built up by many layers of hardened lava and tephra. At 3976 meters high, Acatenango is the third-highest peak in Central America and the second-highest volcano in Guatemala.

But Acatenango itself isn’t very special – no. more so than your average Central American volcano. When people say that they’re going to do the Acatenango volcano hike what they really mean is that they’re hiking to see its smaller, very active, and appropriately named neighbour, Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire) . 

Volcan de Fuego is the most active volcano in Central America . This volcano has low-level eruptions daily , sending smoke, sparks, and copious amounts of lava into the air.

Watching Fuego erupt over and over again will likely be the coolest and most insane thing you’ll ever see in your life . But nothing easy is worth having. You have to work for this incredible view with a pretty strenuous two-day hike. 


Hiking to the base camp of Volcano Acatenango gives you a direct view over ‘Volcan de Fuego’ which is the most active volcano in Central America. 

Living up to its name, which translates to Volcano of Fire , Fuego sends ash plumes into the air roughly every 15 minutes . At night, Fuego will light up the sky with sparks, and send burning rocks and lava soaring through the sky and crashing down onto the slopes. 

The Acatenango volcano hike remains one of our most challenging yet rewarding hiking experiences to date . There were times when I was really close to giving up. 

But I’m so glad I didn’t! 

The reward of camping on top of an active volcano while watching another highly active volcano spit fire was d efinitely worth the effort ! You’ll get to watch the sun splash its evening orange colours across the sky, and watch it rise again in the morning as volcanoes poke their summits through a sea of pink clouds.

The Acatenango Volcano hike was the best thing we did in Guatemala and one of the highlights of our whole Central America trip ! Above the clouds, you’ll feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Latin America. It’s worth all the leg pain afterwards, we promise!

Alice is standing on Volcan Fuego an extra option on the Acatenango Volcano Hike in Guatemala

Pure excitement! These views can be yours on the Acatenango Volcano Hike, Guatemala!


#1 pick up supplies & travel to acatenango.

Each company does their  Acatenango Volcano hike  differently. You’ll most likely be picked up from Antigua in a minibus. The drive to the trailhead takes around an hour , maybe a little more. 

You might have a briefing on the way to the Acatenango volcano hike trailhead, you might not. Either way, you’ll usually arrive at the trailhead around 9 am to 10 am ready to start walking. 

We did our Acatenango volcano hike with V-Hiking tours . They picked us up at 7am from Antigua, earlier than most tours would offer. Then they drove to their hostel in San José Calderas, a small village at the foot of Acatenango. Here, we had a delicious home-cooked Guatemalan breakfast of fried plantain, beans, eggs, bread, and veggies! It was the perfect way to fuel ourselves for the hike ahead, and we also had the chance to rent gear here as well. 


It sounds so easy condensed into four words. So simple. 

But it’s actually really tough!

It can be quite hot at the trailhead, and the hike on the first day is entirely uphill. As you start hiking, you’ll begin to see the groups who set off the day before coming back down. 

They’ll all tell you that the first few hours are the most difficult and that the route will get easier. But it’s not really the route that’s the problem, it’s the altitude. The route won’t get easier until the last 45 minutes before base camp. But your body will acclimatise and you’ll stop feeling so dizzy and out of breath after the first hour or so. That’s something at least!

It’s about five to six hours from the trailhead to base camp, but that also includes snack and water breaks. Your first stop will be around 20 minutes in, at a set of wooden huts selling snacks and drinks. You’ll stop again at the park entrance, where you’ll need to fill out your entry form. After that, where your team stops is up to you!

We set off at 10 am and arrived at base camp around 3pm – so around 5 hours of hiking in total. Our group was super chatty, which I was grateful for. I saw a lot of groups walking silently, headphones in, staring at the pair of boots in front of them. But it was nice to have a group where we could swap stories, share recommendations, and help each other organise our onward travel plans!


Once you arrive at base camp, you can c ollapse into a chair or a hammock and watch the magic begin ! Fuego will (hopefully) erupt fairly regularly, sending smoke pluming into the air. All of a sudden, you’ll see why hiking Acatenango was worth all the pain. 

It gets better! A s the sky begins to darken, you’ll see sparks scatter across the sky and explode into the darkness like orange fireworks. This is followed by a huge bang as rocks hit the ground and roll down the sides of Volcan de Fuego.

You have to make sure you’re watching though. Sound travels slower than light, which means that by the time you hear the eruption, the show is mostly over.


The Fuego hike has a n add-on cost of ~200Q ($25 USD) , but can be upwards of $40 USD with some tour companies! You can only do this trek a) if the weather is good, and b) if enough people from your group want to join you. For our group, the minimum was 3 hikers. 

The hike to Fuego is tough. It’s in a V shape, and involves 300 metres of descent followed by 300 metres of ascent again. Double that for the way back, and you’re looking at 2+ hours of hiking and 600 metres of elevation on top of the 1550 metres that you’ve already ascended today. 

After you’ve made it to base camp, you’ll collapse, either into a chair or onto your bed. You’ll reach for your warm layers, bundle up, and a mug of steaming cocoa will be pushed into your freezing cold hands. 

You’ll have a lovely warm campfire with a perfect view of Fuego erupting in the background. Maybe there’ll even be cookies or marshmallows. You will be warm, cosy and enjoying the very thing you came to see. 

You will not want to get up, put your hiking boots back on, and walk for another two hours. 

This is the wrong choice. Hear me out and I’ll explain why in a minute. 

Alice lies in a hammock. Volcan Fuego is erupting in the background on the Acatenango Volcano Hike in Guatemala

How many hammocks have views like this?


The summit of Acatenango is really exposed and, like any mountain, this can be quite dangerous if the weather is bad. Your guides will wake up at around 3 am and check the weather conditions. If it’s looking alright, they’ll wake the group. Roll into your hiking boots and strap on your head torch for a 3:30 am start.

Climbing to the summit can take up to 90 minutes. Although it’s only 300 metres in elevation above base camp, the hike is straight upwards, the loose volcanic terrain is slippery, and your legs will ache from the day before. It’s hard work. 

As you hike, you’ll see the sun rising behind Volcan de Agua. The name translates to Water Volcano – we think she’s the perfect pair to Fuego! We had the most beautiful cloud inversion on our summit hike, paired with an appearance from Agua, and a sun ready to light up the whole world.

The ascent to the summit is also optional and you can just as easily watch the sunrise from base camp. But if you’ve come this far, you might as well go up to the top, right? Don’t forget to look back and see Fuego lit up against the dark blue sky.

Top tip: Wear all the clothes you have with you. It’s bitterly cold and windy at the top, where you’ll want to sit and watch the sun rise.


Luckily, the loose volcanic terrain makes getting down a breeze. You can slip and slide your way back to base camp in 15 to 20 minutes. 

Top tip: the best way to get back to base camp is to give into the force of gravity and run down. You can also get down with a sort of bum-shuffle which is pretty fun!

Once you’re back, it’s time for breakfast and packing up your things. Take your time over breakfast. Soak up the final views of Fuego, and take a moment to be in the here and now. You’ll be walking with your back to the eruptions all the way down. 

Remember, what goes up must come down, including your rubbish! Bring it back to the trailhead where it can be disposed of properly.

Do your bit to keep nature clean. Get our 7 top tips for eco-friendly hikers here. 


Remember that gruelling 5 hour uphill slog from yesterday? Well, although the distance may be the same, the way back down takes half the time . The first 45 minutes are fairly flat, before the trail gets steeper again. 

Head down at your own pace. This part of the hike can be hard on your knees, and we really recommend taking your time, as the trail can be slippery. I think everyone in our group slipped at least once! This is where it’s really handy to have proper hiking shoes and walking poles. 

As you get nearer to the road, you’ll pass the people heading up Acatenango. They’ll be less than an hour into their trek, with fresh faces and excited smiles. “Keep going” , you can tell them “It gets easier after the first couple of hours”.

Because you woke up so early, you’ll finish this hike nice and early at around 11 am. The group will meet at the minibus by the roadside. There are a couple of wooden shacks here selling snacks and drinks. Grab an ice-cold can of soda whilst you wait for the rest of your group – you’ve surely earned it! 


Some companies will take you straight back to Antigua, some will take you via their office or equipment hub . We went back to the V-Hiking headquarters to drop off our rented equipment and enjoy a freshly-squeezed juice and some homemade biscuits. 

Either way it won’t be long before you’re enjoying a warm shower and a comfortable bed!

Most of us napped on the hour-long ride back to Antigua, where we were dropped back at our hostels. We’d only left the day before, but it felt like we’d been gone for ages! 

Some companies also offer direct transport to Lake Atitlan from the trailhead of Acatenango . It didn’t seem to save any money, but such a journey could save you time if you are planning to go there anyway.

Top tip: Why not treat yourself to a nicer-than-usual accommodation in Antigua? We usually book cheap hostels. It’s just a place to rest our heads after a long day of adventures, we don’t need anything fancy! But we can guarantee that you won’t want to do much for the rest of the day after your Acatenango volcano hike and you’ll probably just want to nap and laze around. We don’t blame you! And where better to do that than a hammock in a nice hostel? 

Alice is standing on Volcan Fuego an extra option on the Acatenango Volcano Hike in Guatemala

Less than 900m away from an erupting volcano on the optional Fuego hike.


Volcan Fuego is the star of the show. The main attraction, the one you’re hiking towards,  the reason you’ve dragged yourself up the side of one volcano and are considering whether you can make your legs move towards another despite exhaustion setting in the minute you reach base camp.

Once you sink into your oh-so-comfortable plastic chair at base camp, y ou will not want to get up again. Your guides will pass around hot chocolate and cookies. There’ll be marshmallows for toasting and, after a couple of hours, your legs will begin to ache from the day’s hiking. 

But, when your guides offer the chance to get closer to Volcan de Fuego for sunset, take it. 

This part of the hike was the best part of the entire trip. It was the ‘wow’ moment. The views were so much better than the views from base camp. Better, even, than getting up at 3:30 am to see the sun rise from the top Acatenango. 

Fuego erupts very regularly, approximately once every 15 minutes (although it’s common to have several eruptions in a short space of time) . On the optional Fuego hike, you’ll be less than 900 metres from these eruptions. You’ll be so close, you’ll feel the ground shaking. 

After the sun sets, you’ll be in the perfect position to witness the bright orange lava spewing out into the sky and tumbling down the side of Volcan de Fuego. 

Note: It’s not uncommon for many of the Fuego hikers to be too tired for the Acatenango summit hike at 3:30am. Although the sunrise hike to the summit is the purpose of the entire trip, we still thought the Fuego hike was more impressive ! And we made it to the Acatenango summit too – it is possible!


The burning question! (pun intended)

As with anything in nature, nothing is certain, and everything is out of control . Fuego had had a bigger-than-usual eruption during our time in Central America… followed by quiet. We’d heard from travellers coming down from Guatemala that Fuego wasn’t erupting at all.

Was it even worth the hike? 

Well, we weren’t lucky enough to see the classic ‘lava fountain’ that Fuego is so famous for.  But we still got some epic plumes of smoke, a spark-lit sky, and some lava, which was visible against the night sky.

I’d never seen a volcano erupt before, and I was so satisfied with what we saw. Especially on the optional Fuego hike, which blew my mind! 

It’s also important to remember that a lot of the photos of Fuego that have ‘lava’ (like the example below) are taken using professional camera equipment.  Photographers use long-exposure to capture multiple eruptions in a short space of time, and what looks like lava is often just a long-exposure shot of hot rocks being thrown out of the top! We say this so that you don’t have unrealistic expectations – just in case Fuego doesn’t feel like putting on a show for you!

Volcan Fuego erupts on the acatenango volcano hike

Long exposure photography of Fuego


Facilities: what to expect at acatenango base camp.

Each company has their own base camp area with similar facilities. There are a couple of things in common: no electricity, no showers and no WiFi at base camp.

Most of us can go without a shower for one night at least, so the lack of showers isn’t really a problem . It’s bloody freezing up there anyway, so you won’t want to take your jumper off, never mind the rest of your clothes! 

The lack of WiFi isn’t really a problem either. You’ll be too busy chatting with your new hiking buddies and watching Fuego erupt to even think about checking in on social media. Save it for when you’re back down. If you have relatives who worry, remember to let them know you’ll be off-grid for a couple of days. 

If you need to charge your phone or camera, w e recommend bringing a fully-charged battery pack. There’s no electricity at base camp and you don’t want to miss out on epic photo opportunities because your phone ran out of battery!

Top tip: At high altitudes or cold temperatures, we like to sleep with our phone in our sleeping bag or under our pillow. Why? The cold temperatures massively drain the battery (iPhones are really bad for this!) which can make your phone shut off and refuse to start. 


There are two main options for sleeping: tents or cabins.

Different tour companies have different options, so you’ll need to pick a company based on your preferred accommodation.

Tents are the cheaper option. The tents are usually two-person tents, which is perfect if you don’t like to share with strangers. You have a little more privacy as you will only be sharing a sleeping space with your travel buddy (or you can have a tent all to yourself!).

However, they’re generally a bit colder and not very spacious. When the cold set in, I was grateful for the body heat of my travel buddy .

Cabins are slightly more expensive, but not by much! They’re more solid, so you’ll be protected from the elements. You’ll also get a proper mattress to sleep on (although you won’t get many hours of sleep on this hike!) and mountains of bedding, sleeping bags, blankets, you name it!  

T he cabins are also shared between two people – great for us, as we were travelling together. If you’re travelling alone, you may be able to have a cabin to yourself but you might be asked to share with a stranger. Then again, after spending all day hiking together, you won’t exactly be strangers any more. 

Most camps also have a campfire and an area to sit, eat and socialise.

Our camp had hammocks to chill out in, and plastic chairs to sit on for meals. Other travellers have reported that they were sitting on logs or on the ground. If this is something you care about, it might be good to check with your tour operator. 

Hikers waiting for Fuego to erupt on the acatenango volcano hike

What to expect from your camp: an excellent view of Fuego!


The Acatenango volcano hike in Guatemala isn’t just a hike for your Guatemala bucket list. It should be on your ultimate bucket list. The list of things to absolutely do before you… y’know… kick the bucket.  Feeling the formidable force of nature as Fuego erupts directly in front of you, shaking the ground and sending birds flying from trees, is something you need to experience. 

I’m not going to sugar coat it, this was a hard hike. I approached it with a somewhat cocky attitude ( very unlike me, I know). I’ve done multi-week treks in Nepal’s Himalayas , hiked the highest mountain in Morocco, and just a couple of months prior, trekked the Inca trail and Rainbow Mountain – both high-altitude hikes in Peru . Plus, we hike regularly at home in Scotland! I thought it would be a breeze.

But after struggling uphill for five hours, plus an extra three hours to hike closer to Fuego, I was worried I wouldn’t make it up to the top of Acatenango the next morning ! The altitude was taxing, and the weather wasn’t great – it was a little drizzly and we had some clouds. 

That said, nothing worth having comes easy , and it was worth the pain to make it to the top. As the sun set, Fuego treated us to a spectacular display of smoke and sparks, a testament to the raw power of nature. Camping so far away from any major settlement meant that the stars came out once it got dark, and we sat around a campfire sipping hot chocolate and swapping stories.  You’ll forget the leg pain and steep uphill struggle. But the feelings you experience whilst watching Fuego erupt will stay with you forever. 

Would I do it again? 100% yes.  

Sunset on the acatenango volcano hike

The sun setting from the Fuego hike. Literally, floating on clouds!


Do i need a guide to hike acatenango.

Well, there’s no rule that says you can’t do this hike by yourself. But, unless you know the route, have all your own gear, and have experience hiking and camping at altitude, I’d strongly recommend hiring a guide for the Acatenango Volcano hike in Guatemala. 

Doing the hike with a guide is safer and easier. All of the logistics are handled for you. The tour companies usually have tents/cabins and cooking facilities set up at the base camp already. They’ll provide gear, like extra clothing and sleeping bags, and they’ll arrange your pickup and dropoff in Antigua

Add all of that up, and doing this without a guide probably won’t save you any money !

We also want to encourage travellers to give back to the communities they visit. Supporting local communities is a great way to contribute to the local economy and be a responsible tourist . Keep reading for the best companies for your Acatenango volcano hike.

Why is it so important to give back to local communities? Find out here!


We get it. There’s something very rewarding about hiking without a guide. It’s just you and the nature, and you can experience everything in your own time. But please don’t do this hike without a guide unless you are very experienced and have the right equipment. 

Inexperienced solo travellers have died from attempting Acatenango alone. Why take the risk? Here’s why we wouldn’t recommend hiking Acatenango without a guide: 

  • Guided tours are very affordable , prices start at $50 USD
  • The trail isn’t well marked. Unless you know where you’re going, it’s easy to get lost!
  • It doesn’t save you any money to do it alone . By the time you’ve hired your equipment, paid your hiking permits, bought food/water/fuel and arranged transport to and from the trailhead, it’ll be around the same price as a guided tour. 
  • Solo hikers have died from hyperthermia before. Temperatures can reach minus degrees Celsius, so unless you have cold-weather gear and equipment, it’s not worth the risk.
  • It is possible to suffer from altitude sickness (more on that later!). If this happens, it’s good to have someone who can recognise the symptoms and treat them promptly.


It’s super easy to organise your  Acatenango volcano hike from Antigua or Guatemala City.  But Antigua is definitely the easiest place to organise an Acatenango hike in Guatemala (Who goes to Guatemala City?) . 

Hiking Acatenango Guatemala is one of the most popular activities in Antigua and the Acatenango volcano hikes run almost every day . There are so many tour companies that it can be hard to choose one

When we were trying to make our decision, we talked to a lot of other travellers about the company they chose for their Acatenango tour. If there’s one thing we learned, it’s that all the Acatenango tour companies provide the same experience for a very similar price point. 

All the companies will claim that they offer employment to local communities. They will all claim that they provide comfortable accommodation, high-quality kit, and good food. There are tons of tour companies in Antigua. Just walk the cobbled streets and ask around – you’ll soon get a feel for the sort of experience you’re looking for! 

Looking for more awesome adventures in Central America? Why not try volcano boarding in Nicaragua?

Alice is standing on Volcan Fuego an extra option on the Acatenango Volcano Hike in Guatemala

The Fuego hike


There are so many tour companies that offer the Acatenango hike at so many different price points. In the end, we chose V-Hiking Tours , as they were the only locally-owned and family-run busines s we found to hike Volcan Acatenango.  

The company was set up by Elvin in San José Calderas, a village at the foot of Acatenango. He’s been climbing this volcano since he was six years old and wanted to share the beauty of Guatemala and the kindness of his community. Having watched many in his village being forced to emigrate to the USA in search of work, Elvin set up V-Hiking tours to provide employment for his family and his community.

As tourists, we have a responsibility to make sure our money is going to the local people we visit, instead of large overseas companies. V-Hiking was a company we wanted to support!

Here’s why we loved V-Hiking tours:

  • They’re a family business and provide employment and empowerment to the women of the community. Elvin’s mum cooks all of your meals – how cute is that!
  • The money that you pay for the trip supports their local community , instead of going straight into big business’ pockets.
  • They had a really fair price for the quality of the hike. The food was plentiful, and the cabins were spacious and comfy with unobstructed direct views of Fuego. You can cosy up in your sleeping bag and watch the eruptions all night. 
  • There was an optional extra hike after dinner to get close to the crater of Fuego where we were less than 900 metres from the eruptions! It was insane. One of the best experiences of my life. 
  • V-Hiking has smaller groups. They assign one guide for every six guests and there’s always a guide at the front and a guide at the back so you can take your time. 

We also heard lots of good reviews about CA Travellers , and Soy Tours . Soy Tours also actively gives back to support local communities, and may also be worth checking out. 

Top tip: Arrange your Acatenango tour in-person in Antigua directly with the tour operator. If you book online or arrange it through your hostel, they’ll take a huge cut! Do yourself a favour and save yourself some money. 


Overnight tours start at around 500Q ($65 USD) . The prices vary between companies, but most tours cost between $65 and $100 USD.

We went with V-Hiking Tours  and paid 550Q (around $70 USD). Absolutely everything was included; transport, guide costs, accommodation, park entrance fees, and four full meals (more on that below). For the most accurate and up-to-date pricing, contact the companies you are interested in hiking with.

We opted for the add-on hike to get closer to Fuego (an extra $20 USD). We also chose to borrow a wool hat, gloves, and a walking stick each and it was an extra $3 USD per person – totally worth it! Why were these so important? Check out our ‘What to pack’ and ‘What to wear’ sections below. 

Want to start packing light? Get out our free eco-friendly travel packing list here!


The Acatenango Volcano hike is popular and there is a lot of competition between companies. This means that prices can be very similar.

The price you pay usually reflects your experience (but not always!) . I n general, if you’re paying a lower price, your tour company will be making cutbacks. You may get lower-quality camping equipment, fewer guides, and lower-quality food (and less of it). 

Some (more expensive) tour companies have permanent structures set up, making for a much more comfortable night’s sleep. You’re likely to have higher quality food with larger portions, and your tourist dollars will go to pay the guides better wages and support the local economy. 

Why is supporting the local economy so important? Here are 5 easy ways you can support local economies when you travel!

That said, V-Hiking was a company on the lower end of the cost spectrum, but we had excellent-to-ok meals, happy guides, and a safari-style tent with a comfortable mattress and more blankets than we could ever need. 

We can’t tell you what to do! So do your research, read reviews, and make an educated choice for your budget and needs.

Top tip: Don’t arrange the Acatenango Volcano Hike through your hostel if there are other options available (in Antigua, there’s plenty!) . When you arrange any tour through your accommodation provider, you don’t really know which tour company you’re going with. We ended up with some disorganised, chaotic tour experiences when arranging tours in Guatemala through our hostel. 


Not all tour companies include or exclude the same things. This means it’s super important to check what your tour includes so that you don’t get any nasty surprises on the way up.

Most companies will include transport, meals, accommodation and guides. Some companies will include the park entrance fee and camping fee in their upfront cost, but you may need to pay this on arrival (~$15 USD). And some companies may even include gear rental!

Generally speaking, the base price will include:

  • Transport: pick up from your hostel in Antigua and drop off back at your hostel in Antigua afterwards. 
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, a couple of extra snacks, maybe water
  • Accommodation: Tent or cabin, mattress, sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, and blankets.

Additional costs may include:

  • National Park entrance fee and camping fee . If this isn’t included, it’s Q110 (about $15 USD).
  • Trekking poles. These can be hired at your company HQ or at the trailhead. I’d really recommend hiring these! 
  • A porter. For around 150Q per day, you can hire a porter to carry your backpack to base camp and back. This is 150Q (~$17 USD) each way. 
  • The o ptional hike to Fuego . If the weather is right, you will be able to get closer to Fuego to see the eruptions up close. It’s an additional ~$20 USD. 
  • Tips for your guides. Tips aren’t expected in the same way they are elsewhere in the world, but they are always appreciated
Love hiking? We do too! Here are all our guides to some of the world’s most epic hikes!

Volcano Agua with the sunrise in the background on the Acatenango Volcano Hike in Guatemala

Sunrise over Volcan Agua on the 4am hike to the summit of Acatenango


When is the best time to hike acatenango.

Everyone will tell you that the best time to hike Acatenango is during the dry season . This is typically between the months of November to April. 

Climbing the volcano during the dry season increases the likelihood that you’ll have fewer clouds and less rain. This means you’ll have unobstructed views of Fuego erupting and hopefully stay dry on your hike too! But good weather (and good views!) can never be guaranteed . Not with climate change, not in the tropics and especially not at 3700 metres altitude. 

We hiked Acatenango in June (wet season!) , and had perfect weather . It was overcast during the ascent, and the top of Volcan de Fuego was hiding in the clouds when we reached base camp, but we soon got some clear views. As we hiked closer to Fuego, we were lucky enough to have a cloud inversion, creating a floor of fluffy clouds with some of the highest volcanoes poking their heads through. It felt so dreamy!

If you’re in Antigua and the weather looks okay, I’d recommend the Acatenango volcano hike regardless of the season. You never know what the views will be like, and you may be surprised! If you have the luxury of time, you can check the weather forecast for Acatenango here to maximise your chance of good weather. 

Remember: The weather and volcanic activity are up to Mother Nature. There is never a guarantee of good conditions or volcanic eruptions. 


The Acatenango hike has varying weather along with wildly varying temperatures to match. We began our hike under the blazing hot sun, and experienced misty clouds with a little rain for the ascent, followed by clear views at the top. 

Bad weather is possible year-round. In the rainy season (May to October) the rain can really dampen your spirits. But that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed perfect weather in the dry season either (November to April)

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing! Here’s our guide to hiking in the rain!

At the top, there are normally only two weather conditions. You’ll either be in the clouds (fog) or above them (no fog). No matter what the weather is doing, it’ll be absolutely freezing.


So, you’ve heard other travellers saying that t he Acatenango hike in Guatemala is absolutely freezing too? They’re not wrong! 

It might be warm at the trailhead. But due to Acatenango’s elevation of 3976m, it is cold all year round in the upper parts of the volcano . You’ll feel the chill even more once the sun sets, and the sky begins to darken.

If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to stay out in the evening to watch the volcano erupt. This means that you should bring as many layers as you can . At night, the temperature dropped to below freezing. We slept in every layer we’d brought: merino wool thermals, fleece jumper, light down jacket, thermal leggings, and hiking leggings on to

Top tip: don’t sleep in your sweaty clothes. We sweat to cool ourselves down. If you sleep in wet clothes you’ll wake up in the night shivering as the temperature drops. 

Volcan Fuego erupts behind a cloud

Sometimes Fuego might be hiding. That’s ok! He’ll pop out soon. 


How high is acatenango in guatemala.

The summit of Volcan Acatenango is 3976 m above sea level, which is high enough to cause altitude sickness . If you start to feel the altitude, you may have to turn back mid-hike and if this happens you won’t get a refund. 


The trail starts at the dizzy heights of 2400 metres above sea level, and the base camp is around 3700 metres. This means that your elevation gain on day one will be around 1300 metres.

If you climb to the summit of Acatenango (3976 metres), you r total elevation gain will be around 1550 metres over two days. 

Add on the optional Fuego hike – an extra 600 metres of elevation gain –  for a grand total of 2150 metres. Yep… doing the maths, I can see why my legs ached now! 


Altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness, is a common illness experienced at high altitudes. It happens when travellers and hikers ascend to high altitudes too quickly, without giving their bodies time to adjust to the reduced oxygen levels. The main symptoms of AMS include headache, shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, indigestion and loss of appetite. 

Altitude sickness can hit anyone at any time. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, or if you’ve avoided altitude sickness before. There’s no guarantee that it won’t affect you this time.

People respond to altitude in different ways. Whilst neither of us experienced altitude sickness on Acatenango, that doesn’t mean that you won’t (or will) . In our group of twelve, only one person got mild altitude sickness. He still made it to the top of Acatenango, but he had to go a little slower than the rest of the group.

Here are our top tips to minimise your chances of getting sick at high altitudes when hiking Acatenango in Guatemala:


Disclaimer : these tips are just a few things that have helped me. You should always consult a medical professional for any medical advice. 

The best way to avoid altitude sickness in Acatenango, Guatemala, is to avoid going up too high, too fast . When hiking above 2000 metres above sea level, mountain guides will recommend increasing your altitude by less than 500 metres a day. But if the elevation gain for the Acatenango volcano hike is 1550 metres, that just isn’t possible on this hike!

Firstly, I’d recommend that you hike Acatenango in Guatemala after you’ve spent a couple of days in either Antigua or Lake Atitlan. Both these places have an altitude of around 1500 metres, which will give your body time to adjust. 

If you’re terrible at sitting still and relaxing (me too, don’t worry) , you can take a day trip from Antigua to nearby Pacaya Volcano or Hobbitenango. Both of these places at slightly higher altitudes which will help your body adjust. If you’re in Lake Atitlan, y ou can prepare for the Acatenango hike by hiking ‘Panajachel’ (2293 m) for panoramic lake views. All of these activities will help your body to adjust to the high altitude of Acatenango. You can also avoid heavy drinking leading up to the hike. 

Once you’re on the trail, you can reduce the severity of altitude sickness by hiking slowly – it’s not a race after all. It’s really important to stay hydrated , so sip plenty of water throughout the day. You can also eat lighter meals and don’t eat too quickly. If you suffer from altitude sickness regularly, you can bring over-the-counter altitude sickness tablets (such as Diamox). But these should be used as a last resort!

Volcan Fuego erupts on the acatenango volcano hike

Fuego sending out sparks as the sun rises on the Acatenango volcano hike


What to wear for hiking volcan acatenango.

After you book your tour, your agency should send you a list of what you’ll need to bring. Each company is slightly different, but generally speaking, this is what you’ll need (plus our personal recommendations!)

  • Hiking boots: Hiking trainers are fine – that’s what we had – but I missed my lovely leather walking boots that I left back in Scotland. Normal sports shoes will probably be ok, if that’s all you have, but fashion sneakers or converse won’t do.
  • T-shirt: It will be boiling hot when you start hiking, but the higher you get, the cooler it becomes. Wear something you’re comfortable in, and bring a thin jumper for layering. 
  • Shorts or leggings: Again, wear something that’s comfortable for hiking in the heat but that you can layer up once you get to base camp. Zip-off trousers are perfect for this. 
  • Thin jumper: it can get a bit chilly when you stop for a break! Although it might be warm when you set off, have a thin jumper accessible in your backpack, just in case. 
  • Sun hat or bandana: not essential, but nice to have. I love to have a bandana because my head always burns. 
  • Sunglasses: there’s not a lot of shade in parts of the hike. Polarised ones are best, but bring what you have. 
  • A backpack : we travelled with only 30L backpacks plus a small day pack. A 30L backpack will be enough for everything you need for this hike!

While hiking Acatenango, the temperature will gradually drop. And up at base camp and the summit, it’s quite cold. Because of this, it’s important to bring lots of warm layers for the trek. 

But Alice, I haven’t packed for cold climates? 

Don’t worry, we didn’t pack for cold weather either! You can rent anything you need from your agency for a small cost. We borrowed wool hats, gloves, and trekking poles. And let me tell you, they were worth every penny. When my ears get cold, I get the worst headaches, so a wool hat was a must for me. 


If you have hiking boots, that would be the best option, but trainers are fine! 

I wore my Vivo Barefoot hiking trainers for all our Central America hikes and they held up really well. That said, I did miss my walking boots, which I left back in Scotland ( they’re heavy!)

The route up isn’t technically challenging, it’s just steep and goes uphill for a really long time. Coming back down it’s nice to have some ankle support and shoes with a good grip. On our hike, most people wore hiking trainers. Pretty much everyone slipped at some point, although luckily, no one was seriously injured.

Get all of our gear recommendations and gear discounts here! Don’t worry – we only recommend what we own and use ourselves!


You’ll want to have some stuff in your backpack in addition to what you’re wearing. Again, your tour agency should give you a list. But here’s what we packed  (or wish we’d packed!)

  • Spare clothes for Day 2: A second T-shirt, another pair of leggings or trousers (unless you want to be gross and wear the same thing for 48 hours like we did) , and a change of underwear
  • Thermal layers: It’s cold up there at night and you’ll want something warm to sleep in. We love Seadon’s Merino wool t-shirts. Get your discount here!
  • Water: There’s no running water on Acatenango, so you’ll need to bring enough for two days, even if you have a travel filter bottle!
  • Extra snacks:  A handful of nuts or a chocolate bar can go a long way in keeping up morale on this hike. 
  • Toilet roll: Self-explanatory. Any traveller to Latin America should always carry toilet paper or tissues.
  • A headlamp and spare batteries: you’re going to be getting up at 3am to hike to the top of Acatenango for sunrise, and it’s going to be dark. Bring a headlamp and spare batteries!
  • Electronics: Bring what you usually bring. For us that was our phone, GoPro, and battery pack. We’re a chatty pair of hikers (seriously, we don’t shut up) but if  you’re a headphone-hiker, bring those too.
  • Toiletries: Glasses/contact lenses, any medication, toothbrush and toothpaste, sun cream. 
  • Cash: Just enough to cover any surprise costs. It’s also polite to tip your guide, but it isn’t expected in the same way as it is for some hikes around the world.

Top tip: The Acatenango volcano hike in Guatemala is super popular!  Leave what you don’t need back at your accommodation in Antigua, they’ll store it for you for free while you hike! 


How long is the acatenango hike.

In general, it’s around 7 km to the base camp and a further 2 km to the summit for a total round trip distance of 18 km (11 miles) . Add a couple more kilometres if you choose to do the optional Fuego hike. 

The exact distance you walk will depend on what company you go with, as the base camp locations are all slightly different.


The Acatenango volcano hike is usually done as an overnight trip over two days. It can be done in one day, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The overnight hike can be broken into three parts.

Part 1: Trailhead to the base camp. This is day one. It will take between five to six hours, depending on your pace.

From base camp you should already have spectacular views of Fuego. If you’re like to get even closer to Fuego, you might be able to do an optional extra hike. This will add another two to three hours of hiking on day one.

Part 2: Base camp to Acatenango summit . Weather permitting, you start to hike to summit of Acatenango early on day two (we started at 3:30 AM). This only takes a couple of hours up and down. But it is the toughest part because it is straight up, and you’re hiking through volcanic sand, in complete darkness. 

It’s worth the reward: sunrise views while watching Volcan Fuego erupt. But we thought it was nothing compared to the gorgeous sunset we witnessed as we hiked closer to Fuego the night before.

Coming back to base camp is easy, just slide down the rocky slopes!

Part 3: Base camp to the trailhead. The trip back down is all downhill. It’s around two to three hours in total.

A hiker on the summit of Acatenango Volcano

Hiking down from Acatenango’s summit


T he Acatenango hike is hard, both physically and mentally. It’s known for wreaking havoc on experienced and inexperienced hikers alike because of it’s brutal incline. 

In fact, we heard from lots of travellers (and read in many blogs) that it was the hardest and most strenuous hike of their lives. And we also have to say that it was really exhausting!  

Should you still do it? Absolutely!

This hike broke me . I mean, coming back from the ‘optional Fuego hike’ (more below), I disocciated. My legs kept walking, but my brain was somewhere else. But the views were spectacular and seeing an active volcano erupt right in front of you makes you feel connected to nature in a way so few experiences do. 

Have we put you off yet? We hope not! Nothing beats the feeling of getting yourself right in front of an active volcano. The views are nothing short of spectacular. And think about how proud and accomplished you’ll feel once you reach the top!


Most people who do this hike are not super active athletes or mountaineers. They’re just normal travellers. If they can do this hike, then so can you!

Hiking Acatenango will definitely be easier if you have a decent fitness level and exercise regularly. But even if you don’t, don’t let it hold you back! You should still have this amazing experience, even if you can’t describe yourself as fit. The altitude will be a challenge regardless, so if you’re generally healthy, you should be fine.

Remember, you can hike at your own pace . It’s not a race for who can do it the fastest. And you can take as many breaks as you like going up (we took breaks every 20 to 30 mins). 

Hiking is more about having a positive mental attitude than about being super fit. And the Acatenango Volcano hike in Guatemala is it’s about 20% physical and 80% mental. I’m not at peak fitness, but I’ve accomplished some of the world’s most amazing hikes, mostly out of belief that I can. From Canada’s Rocky Mountains to Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit and Peru’s Machu Picchu to Morocco’s Mount Toubkal , I’ve made it to the top every time out of sheer willpower. 

The key is just to just believe in yourself. So, get chatting to your travel buddies, listen to some upbeat music, share out some chocolate, and keep on putting one foot in front of the other. Nothing else matters for those few hours. You’ve got this!


If you can walk uphill for the best part of a day with a light to medium-weight backpack, you don’t need to do any extra training. 

That said, it’s never a bad idea to hike up few smaller volcanoes in Central America in preparation. We recommend nearby Pacaya in Guatemala , the Santa Ana Volcano hike in El Salvador , or Cerro Negro in Nicaragua . All of these are great hikes to get used to steep slopes and volcanic terrain. 

Use the Santa Ana Volcano hike in neighbouring El Salvador to train for Guatemala’s Acatenango! Get your free guide here. 


Your hostel in Antigua will be able to hold on to most of your belongings for you whilst you hike Acatenango in Guatemala. You only need to bring what you need for the hike. This will make your backpack significantly lighter than the beast you’re probably used to carrying around Central America. 

If you think you might struggle with carrying your bag on the hike (or just want to make your hike easier!) , you can hire a porter to carry it to the top for you. The cost of a porter is between $10 to $15 USD, one way. They will carry your bag up to base camp, meet you there, and then head back down. This means you only have to carry your backpack downhill the next day. 

Note: Since 2021, you can no longer ride a horse up to base camp or have a horse carry your luggage! We love this new legislation, as from what we’ve heard, the horses weren’t treated very well! 

Volcano Agua with the sunrise in the background on the Acatenango Volcano Hike in Guatemala

Sunrise over Volcan Agua


Is the acatenango hike safe.

Hiking to see an active volcano? Is this hike even safe? Well, Acatenango, the volcano you’ll be hiking up, hasn’t erupted since 1972. Since the Acatenango volcano hike has exploded in popularity, this v olcano is constantly monitored for any signs of activity.

If there was any risk of Acatenango erupting, you wouldn’t be allowed to hike. Simple as that. 

Volcan de Fuego, on the other hand, is the most active volcano in Central America . Clouds plume in the air, sparks light up the night sky and lava cascades down the slopes. If you choose to do the extra Fuego hike, you’ll be less than a kilometre away from this. You’ll be so close, that you’ll be able to feel the ground shake with every eruption. 

But that’s kind of the point. You’re hiking because you want to to see an active volcano, right? Yes, there is an element of risk to it. But no risk, no reward.

The daily eruptions from Fuego are low-level eruptions with minimal risk. Dangerous eruptions from Fuego are relatively infrequent. The last one was in June 2018 and caught many people by surprise. But when the guides noticed signs of an eruption, they had plenty of time to get everyone off the slopes and back to Antigua. 

Like Acatenango, Fuego is also constantly monitored . If there are any signs of a big eruption, companies will push pause on their tours until the danger has passed. 

In terms of crime, there’s nothing to really worry about. You’ll be in a huge group on a well-trodden path, probably with groups in front and behind you. Plus the hike is seriously hard work. I can’t imagine any opportunistic criminals hanging out on the trail on the off chance that they might get to swipe your belongings. 


Can i hike acatenango in one day.

Yes, it’s possible to hike Acatenango in one day, but it’s difficult.

Some tour companies in Antigua offer 1-day hiking tours. These will bring you up to the summit of Acatenango and back down, without staying overnight in base camp. I’d only recommend these if you’re pressed for time. 

There are two types of one-day tours, a day-tour and a night-tour. 

Let’s discuss both options for hiking Acatenango in one day in more detail…


This is the Acatenango trek to do if you’re r eally short on time. Your day tour will leave Antigua bright and early (around 5 am) and return to Antigua in the evening, around 12 hours later

It’s a really long day . Hiking Acatenango in one day, from 2400 metres to 4000 metres of elevation, and all the way back down again will be hard . I mean, it was hard over two days, I can’t imagine condensing it into just one! 

And, you’ll only get around 30 minutes to enjoy the views from the summit . There’s n o guarantee that you will get to see Fuego erupt in these 30 minutes . When we did the hike, Fuego would be fairly quiet for 20 to 30 minutes, before erupting several times in a row. Imagine if the quiet 30 minutes were your one and only chance to view Fuego’s eruption?!

For me, the best part of the trek was getting to walk closer to Fuego for sunset. The sunrise hike was also incredible; watching Fuego erupt, sending orange sparks splashing across the deep blue sky, was an awe-inspiring moment. It’s only after nightfall that you can really see the sparks and lava coming out of the volcano’s crater.

On the daytime trek, you’ll get no sunset, no sunrise, and no night-time Fuego eruption . You’ll be missing out on a lot, and not saving an awful lot of money either! Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this tour unless you absolutely can’t spare two days from your itinerary.


For a night hike, tours typically leave around 11 pm from Antigua. You’ll start hiking at around 1 am . The aim is to be at the summit of Acatenango for sunrise. After 30 to 45 minutes, it’s time to hot-foot it back down the volcano and return to Antigua all within 12 hours. 

Hiking Acatenango in one day will always be a really long day . Your legs will be dead afterwards. I was exhausted just getting to base camp , never mind the extra 300 metres of elevation between base camp and the summit. This option is my idea of hell! I’m definitely not a night-time person and hiking 12 hours through the night will mess up my sleep for days!

The night hike can also be stressful as there’s t ime pressure to reach the top for sunrise .  If you’re a slow hiker (don’t worry, I am too!) , a little unfit, or haven’t coped well with hiking at altitude in the past, this probably isn’t the trek for you.

Again, there’s also n o guarantee that you will get to see Fuego erupt in the 30 minutes you have at the top . He’s a fickle volcano, sometimes there are lots of eruptions, and sometimes it’s only once every few hours. 

You won’t even save any time on this hike ! The days before and after the hike will be a write-off as you recover and try to get your sleep pattern back. It’s also not much cheaper than the 2-day hike, but you can save a bit of money by not needing a hostel back in Antigua at least. 

Honestly? We still don’t think it’s worth it.


Got cash to splash? Really don’t want to hike at all? There’s an option for you too! 

For the steep price of $295 – $495 USD per person, you can embark on an Acatenango Jeep tour. These tours are the same as the overnight tour, but you save around 3½ hours of uphill hiking, leaving a far easier trip to the summit, and giving plenty of extra time for slower hikers.

A 4WD vehicle will drive you almost all the way to base camp. Jump out of the jeep and enjoy a gentle 45 minute stroll to your tent or cabin for the night. You don’t even need to carry a backpack or anything.

I’d say that this option is o nly worth if if you want to see the volcano and there’s no way you’d make the hike (whether that’s due to age, fitness, illness, or physical ability). It’s insanely expensive and the experience will be mainly the same.

A dog looks at the sun rise on the acatenango volcano hike

There are so many friendly dogs on the Acatenango volcano hike!


Remember to practise respect during your Acatenango trek, and your entire stay in Guatemala. You’re a guest in this country, so it’s important to respect it. 

This means that during the hike, be sure to pack in and pack out. Stay on the trails, disturb as little of the land and nature as possible, and don’t leave behind your rubbish! I really recommend checking out our 7 tips for eco-conscious hikers as a good place to start. 

If you’re interested in becoming a better tourist, head to our sustainability hub for more tips on how to travel responsibly.


#1 explore the streets of antigua.

Antigua is the most popular city in Guatemala , with both travellers and locals heading here for a dreamy getaway. Soak up the atmosphere with a stroll through Antigua’s UNESCO-listed historic district, and get your photo with the famous Santa Catalina Arch. You can also take a free walking tour of historic churches and convents, delving into the fascinating history of this former capital city.

But the best thing about Antigua? The FOOD. After travelling through Honduras and El Salvador, where vegetarian options were few and far between, Antigua’s foodie scene was a breath of fresh air. This little city has  everything  you could possibly want to eat. Local cuisine is plentiful, but there are also tons of healthy vegetarian and vegan options! They have ‘Western food’ too, if you’re craving that. 


Not another volcano?! Well, your legs might be crying in pain after the Acatenango hike. But volcano hiking is addictive. You’re going to want to see another one soon, we’re certain of it! 

Enter, Volcan Pacaya. Like Acatenango, Pacaya is another active stratovolcano near Antigua. If you were lucky enough to have a clear day for your Acatenango hike, you might have seen it in the very distance. 

So what’s special about this one? Well, firstly, your legs will be relieved to hear that you probably won’t be hiking it to the top. The Pacaya hike is just an afternoon stroll to a viewpoint. We were pretty disappointed when we realised this! But our mood was improved when our guide whipped out a bag of marshmallow s, dug a hole, and began to roast them over the volcano’s natural heat . How cool is that?

Are you as obsessed with volcanoes as we are? Here’s one in Nicaragua that you can board down. 


Escape to the tranquillity of Lake Atitlan, cradled by volcanoes and surrounded by indigenous villages. This is the perfect place to relax after your Acatenango volcano hike. Here, you can explore little lakeside towns, such as San Juan and San Marcos (our favourite!), book a massage, and dip your toes in the crystal blue lake. 

Lake Atitlan is also surrounded by indigenous villages, so it’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in their vibrant culture and appreciate the traditional Mayan customs. Head to San Marcos for a cacao ceremony, or explore the weekly Chichicastenango market!

Top tip:  Although it looks idyllic, I’d be hesitant to swim in the lake itself. A lot of the waste from local communities can end up in the lake, and when we were there, everyone was getting sick! 


Immerse yourself in the vibrant indigenous culture with a day trip to Chichicastenango. This bustling local market is the perfect place to grab souvenirs , but it’s also where the local people come to trade. There’s a colourful kaleidoscope of handicrafts, textiles, and fresh produce on offer.  Chichicastenango is a crazy yet captivating experience we hope you won’t skip on your visit.

Plan your visit wisely as the market is only open on Thursdays and Sundays. The hours listed online are 6am-6pm, but most of the vendors will not finish setting up their shops before 9am.

v hiking tours acatenango

Smiles all round. You, too, could be this happy on the Acatenango Volcano hike!


Absolutely. Yes. 100%.

This is  possibly the best hike and toughest hike of my life but it was worth every minute of the struggling uphill . Despite almost crying several times on this hike, given the chance, I would choose to do it again every time. 

We were incredibly lucky, especially considering that we hiked in the wet season. The weather was mostly alright and the views were incredible: Fuego really put on a show for us. It was a truly unforgettable experience. 

If you are wondering whether this hike is for you, my answer would be yes. Don’t skip it ! You’ll regret missing out on this epic experience. 

We hope you found this guide useful and that we’ve inspired you to give Acatenango a go during your travels to Guatemala. If you have any questions about hiking Acatenango or if you want to share your experience with us then please leave a comment below. As always, we would love to hear from you!



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Alice is a UK travel blogger who advocates sustainable travel and being more eco-conscious on a budget. She loves coffee, her houseplants and summiting mountains.

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Ultimate Acatenango Volcano Hike Guide: Best Tours and Trekking Tips

The Acatenango Volcano hike is a challenging and rewarding trek not far outside of Antigua, Guatemala .

This hike is one of the best things to do in Guatemala as it boasts views of its noisy neighbor: Volcan Fuego. This means, from the top of Acatenano you get one of the best views of shooting lava erupting from Fuego every 10-20 minutes.

We experienced the ups (and downs) of the hike firsthand and will share everything there is to know about hiking Acatenango in this post.

erupting volcano in antigua guatemala

Volcanos Near Antigua

Antigua is a special city as it is quite literally surrounded by volcanos. These are:

  • Acatenango Volcano
  • Fuego Volcano
  • Pacaya Volcano
  • Agua Volcano

Quick Facts About Acatenango

  • Location: Acatenango is an active volcano located in Guatemala just outside of Antigua.
  • Elevation: The volcano has an elevation gain of 13,045 ft (3,976 m).
  • Weather: The weather around Acatenango can vary from wet and foggy at the base to cold and snowy near the peak.
  • When to Hike: The best time to hike Acatenango is between December and February when temperatures are relatively milder.
  • Last Eruption: 1972. However, Fuego Volcano erupts approximately every 10-20 minutes, which can be seen from Acatenango.

fuego volcano eurpting at night

Best Acatenango Hike Tour Operators

1. ox expeditions.

Ox Expeditions are one of the best volcano tour operators in Guatemala offering hikes, biking and volunteer opportunities. While they are a little more expensive than going with smaller tour operators, Ox's English-speaking guides really know what they are doing. We opted to go with Ox and were very happy we did.

  • Day Hike: $59 USD
  • Overnight Hike: $89 USD

2. Wicho & Charlie's

Wicho and Charlie's is a sustainably-minded vegan tour operator in Antigua. Had we known about them while choosing our tour, we definitely would have given them a try.

  • Overnight: From $97 USD

3. Old Town Outfitters

Old Town Outfitters is one of the top-rated tour operators in Antigua. While we didn't hike with them, they have fantastic reviews and sound like a great choice for trekking Acatenango. They have tiered pricing, which varies on dates and the number of hikers.

Note: It is customary to tip tour operators in Guatemala.

10 Tips For Hiking Acatenango Volcano

  • Wear appropriate and comfortable footwear with a good grip. Hiking boots are best suited to the harsh terrain. This is especially true when coming down the Volcano. We had a number of our group slip on the steep dusty declines.
  • Take necessary precautions against Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS). Seek medical help in case of any symptoms.
  • Research tour operators to ensure safety and comfort on the trail and find the right tour that fits your needs. See our recommendations in this article.
  • Pack layers of lightweight, weatherproof clothing since temperatures can vary greatly between night and day on the volcano. Trust us - it gets very cold at night.
  • If necessary, consider hiring local Sherpas who are experienced guides to carry your gear, so you can concentrate more on your trekking journey with minimal fatigue. Just remember to tip!
  • Bring along a fully-charged camera or phone as you will pass through breathtaking sights like forested areas, terraced farms, unique wildlife, and vibrant wildflowers en route - not to mention the awe of Fuego erupting in the distance!
  • Stay hydrated throughout the hike by bringing at least two liters of water per person each day to prevent dehydration or altitude sickness caused by the extreme heat and altitude gain of Acatenango Volcano.
  • Have enough food supplies as there are limited stores during the hike, especially when reaching higher altitudes where most energy should be conserved for summiting the volcano itself. Depending on our tour, food may be provided.
  • Utilize an organized pace when climbing steep areas so as to not overwork yourself quickly or cause accidents from moving too quickly on steep surfaces such as rock faces or lava fields around the summit crater lake.
  • Follow Leave No Trace ethics by respecting the environment including animals and plants on the mountain, disposing of all waste properly and preserving historical sites around Acatenango Volcano as well as campsites used throughout your journey.

best acatenango hike tours

Common Questions About Hiking Acatenango

How difficult is hiking acatenango volcano.

Acatenango is a surprisingly tough hike due to its high altitude and steep upwards climb. While it can be hiked in a day, the trek is challenging and can even be dangerous due to altitude sickness. We both experienced AMS symptoms during this hike, especially in the first hour, which caused us to stop and rest for a period before deciding to continue on.

When is Acatenango predicted to erupt next?

As Actenango is still considered an active volcano, the volcano could potentially erupt at any time. However, its eruption history suggests it has erupted approximately every 100 years with its last confirmed eruption in 1972.

Can you hike Acatenango without a tour?

The short answer is yes, it's possible. There are no restrictions for anyone who wants to hike Acantenango, or Fuego, on their own. In fact, we looked into doing this ourselves before we decided to book with a tour company. We originally chose a tour company for two reasons: we did not have warm clothing (which the company provided) and two: we wanted to sleep on Acatenango and we did not have camping gear. If we had had these things, we might have ventured alone.

However, returning from Fuego to Acatenango in the darkness, we stumbled across multiple people lost. Some had perched a tent in the day and now were completely lost in the darkness. It was impossible to help these people find their way, too late for them to hike down, and the temperature was dropping rapidly. Make no mistake, Acatenango can be a dangerous hike if not properly prepared - with or without a guide.

Is hiking Acatenango worth it?

In short, yes! The hike is tough, but its once-in-a-lifetime views of erupting Fuego are absolutely worth it. If you decide to do the hike we recommend you do the overnight tour for the best possible sight of Fuego. If you have the energy, make the trek across to Fuego too for an absolutely incredible sunset and front row seats to one of the best shows on Earth.

Hiking Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala is an amazing experience that will give you a unique perspective on nature and beauty. This dormant volcano offers stunning views of its neighboring volcanoes, including Fuego and Agua. From the peak, visitors can get an unforgettable glimpse of some of the most majestic volcanic views in Central America. Additionally, hiking the volcano you'll be surrounded by beautiful forests, vibrant local communities and diverse flora and fauna. When preparing to hike Acatenango, it's important to pack the necessary supplies (food and water) as well as bring sturdy shoes, warm clothing and flashlights. Despite being quite strenuous due to the altitude change and slippery slopes, this rewarding adventure will stay with you forever. Climb Acatenango and marvel at its natural beauty today!


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Montez l’Acatenango dans la joie et la bonne humeur

v hiking tours acatenango

Randonnée facultative supplémentaire vers le volcan Fuego🌋

  • Pour les accros à l'adrénaline !
  • Randonnée supplémentaire près du cratère pour voir les éruptions de près
  • 3 heures supplémentaires de marche au total
  • Q200 Supplémentaires

v hiking tours acatenango

Le ventre plein, tout va bien!

  • Vous prendrez le petit dejeuner dans ma famille, le matin avant l’ascension du volcan.
  • Vous aurez votre déjeuner du jour et petit déjeuner du lendemain à emporter. Le dîner chaud vous sera servi sur place par nos guides! Végétarien? Vegan? Allergique à quelque chose? Précisez-le nous lors de votre réservation, on vous concocte un plat spécial !

v hiking tours acatenango

Vous êtes frileux? Pas besoin de sortir du lit!

  • Notre camp a une vue parfaite sur le Fuego ; vous pouvez regarder les éruptions toute la nuit depuis votre lit douillet, sans vous soucier du froid.
  • Si vous voyagez léger, nous louons bonnets, gants, vestes, sac à dos, bâtons de marche pour quelques quetzales (entre XNUMX et XNUMX) !

v hiking tours acatenango

Chacun marche à son rythme

  • Nous avons 1 guide pour 6 invités, vous ne devriez donc pas vous précipiter.
  • Comme l’ascension du volcan se fait en altitude, nous faisons beaucoup de pauses. Prenez votre temps, ce n’est pas une course !

v hiking tours acatenango

Rencontrez le vrai patron, ma mère! ❤

  • Toute la famille est impliquée dans l’entreprise, et nous donnons du travail aux femmes de la communauté.
  • Vous êtes chanceux, les repas sont préparés par ma mère et mes soeurs avec les légumes du jardin et de la region.

v hiking tours acatenango

Après l’effort, le réconfort!

  • Quoi de mieux après une longue marche que de se retrouver autour d’un beau feu avec un petit verre de vin?

Voir l'itinéraire complet

Acantenago 2 jours.

7: 00 am - Prise en charge à votre hébergement à Antigua en transport privé

8: 00 am - Arrivée à San José Calderas, pour prendre le petit-déjeuner traditionnel dans ma famille

9: 00 am - Départ à 2400 m d'altitude. Vous aurez de nombreuses pauses en cours de route !

2: 00 pm - Arrivée au camp de base privé (3600m) pour un déjeuner bien mérité

4: 30 pm - Détendez-vous autour du feu de camp avec une boisson chaude. Départ pour le Fuego pour ceux qui ont encore des forces et souhaitent voir la lave de plus près (en fonction du climat, respectant les conditions de sécurité)

6h30 – Profitez d'un dîner chaud tout en regardant l'éruption du volcan Fuego avec le coucher de soleil en arrière-plan

3: 45 am - Réveil

4.30am - Départ pour l’ascension vers le sommet de l'Acatenango

6: 00 am - Arrivée au sommet (3976 m) pour le lever du soleil

7.30 am – Redescente au camp de base

8.00 am – Petit déjeuner au camp de base

9: 00 am - La descente commence depuis le camp de base

11: 30 am - Fin du trek, retour à la maison d’Elvin pour une collation, puis transport privé vers Antigua.

1: 00 pm - Arrivée à Antigua

Qu'est-ce qui est inclus?

  • Transport privé depuis votre hôtel à Antigua, aller-retour
  • Guides professionnels et agréés
  • Entrée par le parc (Q110)
  • Petit déjeuner typique préparé à la maison familiale, lunch box jour 1, dîner au camp jour 1, petit déjeuné jour 1 et collation au retour à la maison familiale
  • Matériel de camping : lits propres, matelas confortables.

Choses à apporter

  • 3 litres d'eau
  • Pantalon et chemise confortables (sans coton) ou à séchage rapide
  • Chaussures ou bottes à semelles épaisses et bonne traction
  • Deux paires de chaussettes (pour changer le soir)
  • Lunettes de soleil si le haut convient
  • Suéter que sea abrigado para tarde noche. (vellon)
  • Dos capas de ropa para mantener el calor : (camisa térmica y camisa de mango larga.) Cálido suéter (vellón)
  • Chaqueta imperméable ou cortavientos
  • Bonnet pour tête froide
  • gants chauds pour les mains
  • Lampe de poche (lampe frontale avec une charge suffisante ou changer les piles)
  • Médicaments personnels si vous avez des médicaments prescrits par votre médecin
  • Kit d'hygiène personnelle (rouleau de papier toilette, gel désinfectant, etc.) Au moins 3 litres d'eau
  • Mochila donde encajan todos los equipos de esta lista (35-45 litres)
  • Usted Si Padece del asma, no se olvide de tomar su medicamento y tenga en cuenta que sube una altura del volcán de 3, 976 metros sobre el nivel del mar. A un tiempo estimado de caminata de 4 horas a 6 horas primer día. Inclinaison de terre des de 10 à 45 degrés d'inclinaison. Segundo día, tanto como ir a la cumbre final y regresar al campamento base y luego al base de origen un total de 5 horas.

Reserve maintenant

v hiking tours acatenango

Guide officiel d'In-Guat

Conoce a Elvin, le fondateur de V-Hiking Tours. Elvin creció en el pueblo de San José Calderas, al pie de Acatenango, ¡y ha estado subendo este volcán desde que tenía 6 años! Comenzó a hacer tours por Acatenango para proporcionar empleo a su familia ya la gente de su comunidad para que no tuvieran que emigrar a los Estados Unidos como muchos otros. Y aussi para mostrar a los turistas la calidez y hospitalidad que Guatemala tiene para ofrecer.

v hiking tours acatenango

Electrostal History and Art Museum

v hiking tours acatenango

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Andrey M

Electrostal History and Art Museum - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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