Hiking Guide To Guatemala’s Volcanoes

Guatemala is the land of the volcano.

There are 34 in total, meaning that as you travel through the country an opportunity to climb one is bound to present itself. Each has their own pros and cons, depending on how strenuous you want to get on your adventure.

This post offers a quick overview of the most frequently hiked volcanoes in Guatemala.

Pacaya Volcano

  • Pacaya (2,552m/8,373 ft) is by far the most popular, an easy couple of hours walking, with the possibility of lava and great views. Easily accessible from Antigua and Guatemala City. Pacaya is one of  only a few volcanoes in Guatemala currently in active status. Can’t guarantee you will see lava like that in the picture above, but some visitors report seeing great lava flows.

Volcán de Acatenago

Acatenango from the summit

Acatenango from the summit

  • Volcan de Acatenago (3975m/13,041 ft) is best suited to a two day hike as it takes 8-9 hours to reach the summit. But this means you can camp on the side of the Volcano, and watch both sunset and sunrise. A fantastic hike, tough but rewarding. See our account of it here and our tips on how to climb it (what to bring, what to expect etc). Tours to hike Acatenago leave from the town of Antigua.

Volcán de Agua

  • Volcán de Agua (3,761m/12,339 ft), is the volcano which dominates the skyline in the town of Antigua. There are no scheduled tours up this one but tour companies can organise special excursions. This volcano has a reputation for robbers, so tour agencies will expect you to foot the bill for  2 security guards carrying shotguns to accompany you. If you are willing to pay this, it reportedly takes approximately 13 hours up and back down again.

Volcán de Fuego

  • Volcán de Fuego (3,763m/12346ft) is located near the town of Antigua, from which it is accessible. Has small eruptions reasonably frequency (which you might see if you are in the town of Antigua). Despite frequent eruptions the volcano is apparently safe to climb up until a certain elevation (do with a guide). Alongside Pacaya, Fuego is one of only a few volcanoes in Guatemala considered active status.

Tajumulco Volcano


Crater of Tajumulco Volcano. Photo Credit: ACFoote

  • Tajumulco Volcano at 4,220 m/13,845 ft is the tallest volcano in Central America. The hike is reportedly quite easy, though does take two days as you need to acclimatize on the first day. To do so you spend the first night camped on the side of the volcano.

Lake Atitlan

  • Lake Atitlan: Is a large crater lake a few hours west of Anitgua and Guatemala City, surrounded by 3 volcanoes. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Guatemala A great place to go hiking and enjoy views over the lake. Lake Atitlan is also surrounded by a number of small towns, each accessible by a network of cheap boats/water taxis. Each town comes with its own style and flavour and something different to offer.

Santa María

  • Santa María (3,772m/12,375ft) is a large active volcano in western Guatemala (near the city of Quetzaltenango). An eruption from Santa María in 1902 was one of the four largest eruptions of the 20th century. It is also one of the five biggest eruptions of the past 200 – 300 years.

Here is a map to help put things in perspective.


Tour Companies

  • Monte Verde Tours offers tours out of Quetzaltenango. This place offers cheap tours, and different tours, such as full-moon hikes up the volcanoes.  Check them out here.
  • Ox Expeditions offers regular tours up and down the volcanoes surrounding Antigua.



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  1. March 12, 2014

    […] Hiking Guatemala’s Volcanoes […]

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