THE BEST Lake Atitlan Hiking Tours [Easy to Super Extreme]

This guide to Lake Atitlan hiking tours will help you choose the perfect trek for you.

Lake Atitlan is considered the most beautiful lake in the world, and there's no better way to explore its beauty and nature than to embark on Lake Atitlan hiking tours. Hike up a volcano and experience breathtaking views of the glistening lake shore from above, or trek the ancient Mayan paths that connect each Mayan village around the lake.

Whether you're a casual walker or a seasoned mountaineer, Lake Atitlan's diverse hiking tours offer something breathtaking for everyone. Here are nine spectacular hiking trails with Kayak Guatemala that encapsulate the essence of Guatemalan adventure.

Lake Atitlan Hiking Tours

2-Day Atitlan Volcano Hike & Camping

One of Guatemala's toughest hikes, the overnight Atitlan volcano hike is steep and traverses through rugged volcanic terrain to reach the 11,598ft summit.

Difficulty: Super Extreme

Duration: 2 Days

Suitable for: 16+

Lake Atitlan displays a captivating backdrop of conical stratovolcanoes. Among them, the Atitlan Volcano stands out, beckoning adventurers for an exhilarating hiking experience.

Tackling the steep hike to the 3,535 m (11,598 ft) summit is worthwhile to see remarkable views of the surrounding Acatenango, Fuego, and Toliman volcanoes, Lake Atitlan, and even the Pacific Ocean. On this volcano hike, you may also spot rare wildlife and birds such as the Guatemalan Quetzal.

This 2-day hiking trip includes one night of camping, possibly sleeping on the edge of the volcanic crater if the weather is clear. With a diameter of 250m, remnants of the 1853 eruption can still be seen at the highest part of the volcano, creating a remarkable sight.

Hikers should prepare for a unique but challenging experience with panoramic views of Guatemala’s most iconic landscapes. The Atitlan Volcano hike is for true adventurers.

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Indian Nose Sunrise Hike

Watch the sun slowly rise above a horizon of seven volcanoes as you hike the world-renowned Indian Nose Peak, a short and easy 30-minute ascent to the summit.

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Duration: 6 Hours

Suitable for: All Ages

Among the mountains that tower over Lake Atitlan lies one of the best sunrise viewpoints in Guatemala. The Indian Nose, also known as “Nariz del Indio” or “Mayan Face”  is only a 3km (2 miles) hike in total and crosses lush cloud forest and terraced agriculture. Once at the summit, you’ll observe magnificent views of the lake and its surrounding villages. It’s considered one of the most beautiful vistas in Guatemala.

According to Mayan legend, the mountain outline of the Indian Nose Peak resembles the face of an indigenous man looking up at the sky. On this tour, you’ll learn about the spiritual beliefs related to this stunning rock formation and the indigenous culture that surrounds it.

We hike the Indian Nose at sunrise to appreciate its full beauty. As the sun comes up, the rapidly changing colors of the sky are beautifully reflected by the water’s surface. The atmosphere is truly magical. Budding photographers, bring your camera because landscape views from the Indian Nose are utterly picture-perfect.

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Lower Mayan Trail

This easy Lake Atitlan hike takes you off-the-beaten-track with nature trails that cross two unique ecosystems and an NGO tour.

Difficulty: Easy

Duration: 3 Hours

Suitable for: All Ages

The tour begins with a boat trip across the serene waters of Lake Atitlan, arriving at the quiet Mayan villages of Jaibalito and Tzununa. Here you’ll see villagers going about their daily lives, farmers tending to maize and coffee fields, plus magnificent natural scenery, since this rugged and remote section of Lake Atitlan has barely been touched by the outside world.

Next, we begin an easy hike along ancient paths used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries. As we follow the lake’s perimeter, we walk from the upper lakeshore into the narrow Pumpatin Canyon, showcasing the phenomenal breadth of nature around Lake Atitlan. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Atitlan’s famous volcanoes, and experience two different ecosystems.

We also visit an NGO, Amigos de Santa Cruz, that provides primary education, vocational training, and social enterprise to benefit the local people. We tour the school, a typical family home, and a training center to help you understand the daily lives of modern-day Maya communities.

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Upper Mayan Trail

Not your average Lake Atitlan hike, the Upper Mayan trail includes cloud forest, a visit to Solola street market, and a Mayan fire ceremony.

Difficulty: Extreme

Duration: 4-6 Hours

Suitable for: 14+

This full-day hiking tour of Lake Atitlan takes you high into the mountains. Hike along ancient paths used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries. Along the trail, encounter farmers tending to corn and coffee fields as villagers harvest crops and prepare them for sale. You’ll learn about ancient agricultural techniques still in use today. Converse with villagers and understand how local people live in the modern world with the help of your bilingual guide who can translate the centuries-old indigenous language.

We visit Solola to explore its renowned and vibrant street market. Several Mayan tribes travel to this market each day to trade goods such as fruits, vegetables, fish, flowers, handicrafts, textiles, and even live animals. The market is a blaze of color from the textiles, flowers, and produce. Your guide will explain the designs and colors used in the traditional textiles, introduce you to foods unique to this area, and even teach you a few words in the Mayan language.

The tour ends with a visit to a sacred Mayan cave located in a protected mountainous region. You’ll witness local shamans perform mystical rituals and elaborate fire ceremonies to bring good health and luck to the indigenous people. We explain the history and cultural importance of the unique ceremony and lead you on a similar meditation. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to step into the magic of Maya culture for one day.

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Acatenango Volcano Hike Guatemala

The world-famous Acatenango volcano hike offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to watch an active volcanic eruption and camp overnight with views of the volcano.

Difficulty: Extreme

Duration: 2 Days

Suitable for: 16+

Acatenango is one of the highest non-technical hikes in Central America, with an elevation of 3,976 meters (13,045 feet). The hike takes you through a variety of landscapes. Starting from farmlands and lush vegetation, you’ll gradually enter a cloud forest as you ascend. The scenery changes dramatically as you climb higher, offering panoramic views of the surrounding volcanoes, valleys, and the Guatemalan highlands. You’re in safe hands with our expert tour guide who has 25+ years of experience in volcano hiking and camping.

Reach base camp and witness spectacular displays of smoke, ash, and lava flows from neighboring Mount Fuego, an active volcano known for its frequent eruptions. We spend the night camping in rustic huts where you can rest, relax, and witness Fuego’s eruptions under the starry sky: an incredible and unique camping experience. The summit also offers amazing views of Agua, Pacaya, and the other 33 volcanoes of Guatemala.

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Guatemala Jungle Trek – Quetzal Birdwatching & Santiago Waterfall

A unique Guatemala jungle trek where you'll see the Santiago waterfall and the national bird of Guatemala, the Quetzal, in its natural environment.

Difficulty: Hard

Duration: 7 Hours

Suitable for: All Ages

On this trek through the Guatemala jungle, get familiar with the great diversity of birds and wildlife that make a home in these rich forests. We observe species like monkeys, snakes, and over 500 species of birds in their natural environments.

During this jungle trek through the municipal park of El Rey Tepepul, you’ll have the opportunity to observe the national bird of Guatemala, the Quetzal (also the namesake of the country’s currency) which inhabits the jungle. Few places in Guatemala offer such a unique experience to see the Quetzal in its natural environment.

This hard Guatemala hike journeys to the depths of the jungle and leads to one of the best waterfalls Guatemala has to offer: the Santiago waterfall. Witness one of the most impressive processes on the planet as water bursts out of the mountainside, giving life to the region.

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San Pedro Volcano Hike

The #1 hiking expedition in Lake Atitlan. The San Pedro Volcano hike crosses cloud forest to reach panoramic views at the 3,020m summit of the oldest volcano in Lake Atitlan.

Difficulty: Extreme

Duration: 8 hours

Suitable for: 16+

Situated along the intersection of the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates, Guatemala is home to an impressive 37 volcanoes ranging from active to extinct. No trip would be complete without hiking one of these jaw-dropping volcanoes, and the San Pedro volcano hike is #1 in Lake Atitlan for good reason.

Taller than any mountain surrounding Lake Atitlan, San Pedro boasts unrestricted summit views stretching beyond the lake. This challenging 3-5 hour uphill trail is lined with coffee and avocado farms. You’ll come face-to-face with the old-growth forest, ferns, and birdlife and feel as if you’re standing above the clouds at the 3,020m (19,908 ft) summit.

The volcano has been dormant for 40,000 years, so hiking the San Pedro volcano is completely safe. It is also possible to see the Horned Guan, a majestic but endangered bird species listed on the IUCN Red List. At approximately 85cm long, this large, turkey-like bird has a red horn on its head and long, black tail feathers and many birdwatchers travel to Guatemala specifically to spot the creature.

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Toliman Volcano Trek

One of Lake Atitlan's most challenging trails, the Toliman Volcano hike crosses through cloud forest to reach an imploded volcanic crater.

Difficulty: Extreme

Duration: 1 Day

Suitable for: 16+

One of three volcanoes that tower over Lake Atitlan, the 3,000m summit of Volcan Toliman makes for a challenging hike, but also an incredibly unique and intimate experience; you’re unlikely to see other travelers, only fields of avocado trees, coffee plants, and bean stalks. The trail is well-maintained by locals and from these steep paths, it’s possible to see the horned guan (a rare species of turkey, locally known as a ‘pavo’) or even the glorified Quetzal bird.

The hike starts at a local market and it takes 3 and a half hours to reach the summit. With its two majestic peaks, Toliman offers incredible views over the lush Guatemala forest and the volcano’s imploded crater where ancient lava flows remain from the last eruption centuries ago.

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2-Day Kayak & Hike Excursion In Lake Atitlan

Discover the natural landscapes of Lake Atitlan and stay overnight in a beautiful lakeside lodge with our 2-day kayak and hike excursion.

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Duration: 2 Days

Suitable for: 13+

Described as “the closest thing to Eden on Earth” and “the most beautiful lake in the world”, Lake Atitlan is undoubtedly one of Central America’s scenic highlights. With its volcanic backdrop and glistening waters, the natural landscape is best discovered on both land and water. This Lake Atitlan hike and kayak adventure offers both; spend two days discovering beautiful scenery, exotic plants, bird life, and jaw-dropping waterfalls as you kayak alongside the rugged north shore and hike through the secluded Pumpatin Canyon.

This two Day Kayak and Hike Adventure from Antigua includes a visit to Santa Cruz la Laguna, a kayak tour of the lake, swim and cliff jump or rock climb (optional), and a hike from the Maya Ruta through San Marcos, Tzununa, El Jaibalito. Meals, beverages, and a night’s accommodation are included so you can fully enjoy the adventure. The itinerary can be customized specially for you with a great mix of activities from mild to extreme.

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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 Lake Atitlan and beyond. Check out our full range of tours here.

For more help with planning your trip to Lake Atitlan, check out our "Top Tours & Things To Do In Lake Atitlan" guide or our Guatemala 7-day itinerary for families

Lake Atitlan Hiking Tours FAQs

How much does it cost to hike the Guatemala volcano?

Hiking the majestic Volcan Acatenango in Guatemala usually costs between $50 and $100, depending on what’s included in your package from a tour company as well as group size. Typically, these packages feature basic sustenance along with tents and sleeping gear. If you are after something more luxurious that comes complete with additional luxuries or extras, then prices may be higher accordingly.

What is the hardest Lake Atitlan Hiking Tour?

For mountaineers looking for the ultimate challenge, ascending the three peaks of the Acatenango volcano in Guatemala is it - a difficult hike over 30 km with more than 5000 mts gained. It’s only recommended for those with excellent physical condition and endurance!

Is it safe to hike a volcano in Guatemala?

Hiking the Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala is considered safe, as it lies far enough away from Volcan Fuego’s activity and has a low risk of major eruptions.

What is the best jungle trek in Guatemala?

Exploring Guatemala’s jungles is truly a remarkable experience, and the Rio Dulce route provides lots of chances to immerse yourself in nature. From swimming or kayaking to fishing, there are plenty of activities available for those wishing to take full advantage of this wondrous journey.

What is the easiest volcano hike in Lake Atitlan?

Visiting Lake Atitlan provides hikers with three great options, and of them all, the San Pedro Volcano is the easiest to explore. It’s perfect for those who seek an enjoyable day trekking around its area. But should you be looking for something a bit more challenging, then the Toliman volcano would be ideal instead, experienced adventurers may opt to hike up the mighty Atitlan mountain as well.


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