Acatenango Volcano Hike Guatemala: Complete FAQs

The Acatenango Volcano hike is a challenging 2-day hike that takes you to the summit of Acatenango Volcano, offering breathtaking views of the nearby Fuego Volcano. The hike is considered one of Guatemala’s most famous attractions and a must-stop on your Guatemala travel itinerary.

We've been coordinating hiking tours in Guatemala for over 20 years, so soak up our expert knowledge before you embark on a trip to this beautiful country. Gather your hiking boots! Here is a complete list of FAQs for the hike.

Section 1: Understanding The Hike + Technical Info

How high is the Acatenango volcano hike? How many miles up?

The summit of Acatenango Volcano stands at 3,976 meters (13,045 feet) above sea level. The hike covers a distance of approximately 8 miles (13 kilometers) round trip.

How hard is it to hike the Acatenango volcano? Is it steep?

The hike to Acatenango is considered challenging due to its steep inclines and high altitude. The trail ascends sharply, particularly in the final stages of the climb. Hikers need to be in good physical condition and prepared for a strenuous ascent.

How cold does the Acatenango volcano hike get?

Temperatures at the summit of Acatenango can drop significantly, especially at night. It can reach below freezing, with temperatures often ranging between 0°C (32°F) and -5°C (23°F). Hikers should be prepared with appropriate cold-weather gear.

Is it safe to hike the Acatenango volcano?

The hike is generally considered safe, but it is important to go with a reputable guide or tour group, as the trail can be challenging and weather conditions can change rapidly. It is also advisable to check for any volcanic activity alerts before starting the hike.

Can you see Lava on the Acatenango volcano hike? How often does the volcano erupt?

While Acatenango itself is not an active volcano, it offers spectacular views of the neighboring Fuego Volcano, which is highly active and frequently erupts. Fuego is famous for being almost constantly active at a low level. Small explosions of gas and ash occur every 15 to 20 minutes, and hikers can often see lava flows and eruptions from Fuego during the hike, particularly at night.

How to hike the Acatenango volcano?

  1. Preparation: Ensure you are in good physical condition and acclimatized to the altitude. Pack warm clothing, food, water, and camping gear if staying overnight.

  2. Booking a Tour: It's recommended to book a guided tour for safety and convenience. Tours typically include transportation, guides, and camping equipment.

  3. Starting the Hike: The hike usually begins from the village of La Soledad. Most tours start early in the morning or in the afternoon for an overnight trek.

  4. The Ascent: The hike is divided into sections: the farmland, the cloud forest, and the alpine zone. The ascent can take 4-6 hours.

  5. Camping and Summit: Many hikers camp overnight near the summit to watch the sunrise and the eruptions from Fuego. The final ascent to the summit is typically done early in the morning.

Can Kids Hike the Acatenango Volcano?

Hiking the Acatenango Volcano is challenging due to steep inclines, high altitude, and harsh weather. While older, physically fit children with hiking experience may be able to handle the trek, it requires a slower pace, frequent breaks, and proper cold-weather gear. Safety is paramount, so hiking with a reputable guide is recommended. For families with younger children, consider less strenuous hikes or a partial ascent for a more manageable adventure.

Are there other volcano hikes in Guatemala?

Guatemala is a hiker's paradise that strikes the perfect balance between adventure and natural splendor.

  • Pacaya Volcano Hike: A shorter hike near Antigua with lava fields and panoramic vistas.

  • San Pedro Volcano Hike: A strenuous full-day hike with panoramic views of Lake Atitlan from the summit.

  • Toliman Volcano Hike: A challenging hike with rewarding views of Lake Atitlan and surrounding volcanoes.

  • Atitlan Volcano Hike: A demanding trek offering breathtaking panoramic views from the summit of Atitlan Volcano.

For a comprehensive list of the alternative hiking trails in Guatemala, check out our blog Top Hiking Trails in Guatemala for Adventure Lovers – Antigua, Lake Atitlan & Nothern Guatemala [2023].

Section 2: How To Hike Acatenango + Booking A Guided Tour

When is the best time to hike the Acatenango volcano?

The best time to hike Acatenango is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. During these months, you are more likely to experience clear skies and favorable hiking conditions.

What day of the week is best to hike the Acatenango volcano?

Weekdays are generally better for hiking Acatenango to avoid the crowds that typically gather on weekends. A mid-week hike offers a more peaceful and less congested experience.

Can you hike Acatenango in one day?

Yes, it is possible to hike Acatenango in one day, but it is strenuous and requires a very early start. Most hikers prefer the overnight option to enjoy the sunset and sunrise views.

Should I hike in the morning or the afternoon?

Many guided tours start in the morning or early afternoon. Starting in the afternoon allows for an overnight stay near the summit, providing a chance to see the sunset, the Fuego eruptions at night, and the sunrise the next morning.

Can you hike Acatenango without a guide?

While it is possible to hike Acatenango without a guide, it is not recommended due to the challenging terrain and potential safety risks. A guide can provide valuable assistance, navigation, and emergency support.

Do I need to book in advance?

Yes, it is advisable to book your hike in advance, especially during the peak season, to secure a spot with a reputable tour operator and ensure the availability of necessary equipment and support. You can book a guided tour with Kayak Guatemala here.

How much does a guided tour of Acatenango cost?

The cost of a guided tour with Kayak Guatemala is $150 per person. This includes:

  • Professional Specialized tour guide with more than 25 years of experience in volcano trekking and camping

  • Support from our amazing local guide

  • Entrance fee to PRM Volcán de Acatenango

  • Entrance fee for Municipalidad de Alotenango

  • Private camp already set up

  • Sturdy & spacious tent for wind, rain & cold weather

  • Very warm sleeping bags & 10cm-thick sleeping mattress

  • Three delicious meals (lunch, dinner and breakfast)

  • Campfire

  • Great company! (cause we love what we do!)

This does NOT include:

  • Porters to help carry your gear

  • Gratuities for the guides and porters

Can you hike Acatenango on a horse?

No, hiking Acatenango on a horse is not a common practice due to the steep and rugged terrain, which is not suitable for horseback riding.

Are porters available for the Acatenango volcano hike?

Yes, porters are available for hire to help carry gear and supplies. This service can be very helpful, especially for those who find the hike particularly challenging. The cost for a porter typically ranges from $20 to $30. Contact your tour provider directly to book.

Section 3: Preparing For The Hike + What To Bring

What to bring on the acatenango hike?

Temperatures can drop down to -5 celsius so you must bring all of the following items:

  • Comfortable pants to hike

  • Hiking shoes/boots with good grip, better waterproof

  • Hat and sunglasses

  • Sunscreen or long sleeve shirt

  • Lip balm

  • Very warm fleece

  • Beanie, buff and gloves

  • Windbreaker/waterproof jacket

  • Two layers of under armor

  • Two extra pairs of socks

  • Water (3 lt, you can refill at campsite)

  • Your favorite snacks

  • Daypack to put your water, snacks and warm clothes.

  • Trekking poles (highly recommended)

  • Headlamp with extra batteries or powerbank

Do I need hiking boots? Can you hike in sneakers?

It is highly recommended to wear hiking boots for the Acatenango hike due to the rugged and steep terrain. Hiking boots provide better ankle support and traction compared to sneakers. While some people do hike in sturdy sneakers, it is not ideal and may increase the risk of injury.

What to wear when hiking Acatenango?

Layered clothing is essential to adjust to varying temperatures. Wear moisture-wicking base layers, an insulating layer for warmth, and a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Additionally, bring a hat, gloves, and warm socks for the cold temperatures near the summit.

Do I need altitude sickness pills?

Altitude medication like Diamox can decrease headaches, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath that can occur when you climb quickly to high altitudes (generally above 10,000 feet/3,048 meters). Antigua's Acatenango Volcano is 13,041 feet/3,976 meters tall, so it is slightly above the threshold recommended for taking altitude medication.

While not everyone experiences altitude sickness, it's a good idea to consult with your doctor about altitude sickness pills if you are prone to it or concerned about the high altitude. Staying hydrated and ascending slowly can also help mitigate symptoms.

Do I need to train for the Acatenango hike? How?

Training is advisable to prepare for the Acatenango hike. Focus on cardiovascular fitness, leg strength, and endurance. Activities like running, hiking, and stair climbing can help. Additionally, practice hiking with a loaded backpack to simulate the conditions of the hike.

How much water to bring on the Acatenango hike?

It is recommended to bring at least 3 liters of water per person for the hike. Some guided tours may provide water, but it's important to confirm this in advance and carry sufficient water to stay hydrated.

>> Click here to book a guided tour of Acatenango volcano with Kayak Guatemala <<

About Kayak Guatemala

When we established in Lake Atitlán in 2007, kayaking was our first love. Fast forward 16 years, and today we offer a range of adventure tours and cultural experiences in Guatemala. Check out our full range of tours here.

For more help with planning your trip to Guatemala, check out our 3-Week Guatemala Itinerary & Backpacking Travel Guide [2023] and THE BEST Tours & Excursions in Antigua Guatemala.

Have more questions? Email us!

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