Taylor-Acatenango6

A happy woman on the Acatenango Volcano hike
Wearing Maho Shades!

They say that when everything feels like an uphill struggle, think of the view from the top. Sometimes you just need to change your altitude. That quote can best describe the Acatenango Volcano hike I did during my solo trip to Guatemala.

Located in Guatemala, Acatenango is one of the highest volcanoes in Central America at 13,044 feet (3976 meters) above sea level. Acatenango Volcano is considered an active stratovolcano, but the last eruption happened in 1972. Situated right next to Volcan Acatenango is Fuego Volcano, which is highly active (hence why it is called the fire volcano).

Hiking Acatenango is one of the top things to do in Antigua, Guatemala. The trek is two days and one night. It’s considered strenuous and it is recommended that you’re in good health if you decide to participate in this hike. I did my Acatenango hike with Wicho & Charlie’s, who are based in Antigua, Guatemala.

Sunrise overlooking Volcano Fuego erupting
This photo was provided to me by Wicho & Charlie’s. I am crediting Fabian Wiktor for this photography work. You can check out his work on his website and Instagram.

During March 2022, I did a wonderful Central and South America trip. I started my trip solo in Guatemala where I spent two nights in Antigua, one night hiking Volcan Acatenango and the remaining two nights on Lake Atitlan. I then flew to Colombia where I met Caitlin of My Darling Passport. We spent two nights on Isla Barú, which is an island off the famous city of Cartagena and concluded our trip in the city.

In this thorough Acatenango Volcano hike guide, read all about my experience on this unforgettable trek and discover how to best be prepared for it.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Acatenango Volcano hike in Guatemala

Basic Facts of Guatemala:

A woman at the Santa Catalina Arch in Antigua, Guatemala

Guatemala is in Central America. Spanish is the official language of the country and the predominate religion is Catholicism. There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala and one of them is in fact the city of Antigua (it’s closest to Acatenango).

The other two UNESCO sites are the ancient Mayan archaeological site of Quirigua and Tikal National Park. Chocolate originated from Guatemala and its cuisine is influenced by Mayan and Spanish culture.

Traveling around Guatemala:

A woman exploring Antigua, Guatemala on a solo trip.

It is easy to visit the Central American country of Guatemala. I took a flight from Newark Airport in New Jersey to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, with a layover in Miami. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner!

One of the best ways to get around Guatemala is by using Uber. There are city taxis all around, but as a foreigner, you may need to haggle the cost of your ride. Other great ways to get around the country at a more affordable cost are by buses.

Guatemala is known for its camionetas, which are also known as chicken buses. Recognized as the most affordable and authentic mode of transportation in Guatemala, chicken buses are old North American school buses that are used to transport everything from luggage to live animals (like chickens)!

If you plan to use the chicken buses, make sure to have cash on you and be aware of getting scammed as a foreigner. You can hail a bus at public terminals, near a lot of markets. They are hard to miss!

The chicken buses of Guatemala

The Pullman is usually considered a first-class bus in Guatemala and they are also a great way to get around the country. With a 25 percent higher cost than the chicken buses, the Pullman bus tickets can be bought in advance. Most Pullman buses leave out of private offices.

Another way to get around Guatemala is by renting your own vehicle or organizing private transportation through your accommodation. During my time in Guatemala, I organized all my transportation to and from each destination through my hotels. I did use Uber a few times and I also got to ride the chicken bus when I was at Lake Atitlan.

Tuk-tuks are another great way to get around Guatemalan cities at an affordable cost. It’s also one of the most authentic ways to travel from place to place. Even though they are more common in Southeast Asian and African countries, tuk-tuks are a motorized rickshaw that has three wheels. As a foreigner, you may need to haggle the cost of your ride like you would with a taxi.

Hiking Volcan Acatenango with Wicho & Charlie’s:

A woman enjoying views of Volcano Fuego

For you to do the Acatenango Volcano hike, you must go with a tour group! I did my trek with Wicho & Charlie’s and had an incredible experience with them. Wicho & Charlie’s has developed a hike that is best suited for the average person deemed “physically healthy” to be able to hike up and down the volcano.

The best time to hike Acatenango is during Guatemala’s dry season, which is between November and April. Since Central America is based in the Tropics, rainy season takes place between May through October.

All Wicho & Charlie’s guides are bilingual, First Aid certified and know the mountain and volcano well. They will always ensure that every hiker is safe and that no one gets left behind!

An A-frame cabin on the Acatenango trek

Hiking Acatenango with Wicho & Charlie’s is affordable and they provide hikers with the best base camp facilities on the volcano. Our overnight stay on Volcan Acatenango had us in A frame cabins that were made specifically for eruptions and weather. It costs Q500 ($75 USD) for a shared cabin, which sleeps up to eight people and Q1200 ($199 USD for two people) for a private cabin, which sleeps only two people (perfect for a couple). Please note that there are no beds in the cabins; they include sleeping bags that come with a pillow and extra blanket.

The cost of the Acatenango trek also includes four meals, snacks, professional guides, the cabin with camping gear, essential personal gear and transportation.

Hikers on Volcan de Acatenango
This photo was provided to me by Wicho & Charlie’s. I am crediting Fabian Wiktor for this photography work. You can check out his work on his website and Instagram.

Here are some other important facts about doing the Acatenango Volcano hike with Wicho & Charlie’s:

  • All food on the hike is vegan. The tour provides you with two breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner.
  • We did need to hike with our backpacks, but you can hire a guide to take your bags up at an extra cost. All hikers were required to bring their food with them too that are prepared by cooks at Wicho & Charlie’s office. The meals are stored in plastic containers and you must bring them back to Antigua with you.
  • Wicho & Charlie’s provides hikers with essential personal gear such as jackets, a headlamp, beanie/hat, buff/scarf, gloves and water bottles, but it is an extra cost to rent insulated gloves, pants, wool socks, a backpack, trekking poles, hiking boots, thermal base layers and AAA batteries. Since most of these items are hand-me-downs, I decided to bring my own gear. I did rent a headlamp and an extra 2L water bottle from Wicho & Charlies. If you decide to rent anything, you will also need to keep a government ID at the office, which they give back to you when you return. (I gave them my driver’s license, not my passport. I did bring my passport with me on the hike though as a form of personal ID.)
  • Have some cash on you in Guatemalan Quetzal. It costs Q50 to enter the volcanic park, which is around $6.50 USD. (This price is separate from what you pay for the trek.)
  • It is important to bring extra water and snacks with you. The last place to fill up your water bottle and purchase snacks is when you pay to enter Acatenango Volcano.
  • There are no bathrooms, so you will need to do your business outside. Wicho & Charlie’s provides you with biodegradable tissues.
  • You can purchase beer at an additional cost.
  • I recommend using hiking shoes and trekking poles, which you can rent from Wicho & Charlie’s. I go over everything I brought with me below.
  • Since I was traveling around, I had my big luggage, which I was able to store in the storage room at Wicho & Charlie’s office for free. They also have lockers too to store valuables. You will need to bring your own lock if you use the lockers. I also had a lock on my luggage since I stored my laptop in there.
  • Make sure to tip your guides at the end of the trek!
A woman who completed the Acatenango Volcano hike during a trip to Guatemala

Here are the items I personally brought with me for the Guatemala volcano hike:

Acatenango Volcano Hike from Antigua, Guatemala:

Beautiful volcano views in Antigua, Guatemala

Pre Volcan Acatenango Hike:

On the day of the hike, I took an Uber from my accommodation (Good Hotel) to Wicho & Charlie’s office. The office is in walking distance from the hotel I stayed at, but since Antigua has unpaved, cobblestoned streets and I had a large luggage, it was impossible for me to lug it all the way there.

Wicho & Charlie’s told us to be at the office by 7am so that we would have time to look through the gear and choose anything we needed for the hike. Since I only rented a headlamp and water bottle, I mainly relaxed and enjoyed a nice breakfast provided by Wicho & Charlie’s.

For breakfast, they had fresh breads with jam and chocolate spreads, fresh fruit and protein bars. They also had energy shots for us to enjoy, which were made of beets, orange juice and ginger. It was delicious!

Energy shots from Wicho & Charlie's in Antigua

(There is also a snack bar for you to grab chips, pretzels, cranberries, cherries, peanuts and chocolate chips for the hike.)

During this time, we also got a briefing on what to expect during the trek and the staff went over the safety precautions and rules with us.

We then departed Antigua at around 9am. Wicho & Charlie’s provides free shuttle services to the start of the trek in La Soledad, which is around 50 minutes from the city. The hike officially started at around 10am.

A group of hikers at the Acatenango Base Camp

There were about 30 people in our group. Most of the hikers were from the Netherlands. In fact, most travelers in Guatemala were Dutch. There were also hikers from Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, the U.K., Ireland, Spain, the U.S and Puerto Rico.

The Best Volcano Hike in Guatemala:

Volcan de Fuego in Guatemala

Overall, the Acatenango Volcano hike difficulty was considered strenuous. From the moment we began the hike, it was straight uphill, but what I got to experience along the way was rewarding! This was the third trek I’ve done throughout my travels. (If you are someone who hikes often, you will be fine on this trek!)

The Salkantay Trek was the very first challenge I did in June 2019, which was to Machu Picchu in Peru. I also did the 6-day Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in July 2019. (During my time in Peru, I also did the day hike to Rainbow Mountain, which was also difficult, but rewarding!)

The start of the Acatenango hike

For me personally, the first part of the trek was the hardest. We stopped every 20 minutes. I also had to take a decent amount of breaks in between to catch my breath. I believe it’s important to listen to your body. Don’t overdue it!

I will admit that the views along the Acatenango Volcano day hike weren’t as breathtaking as they were during my Peru hikes, but we did get to see horses, goats and puppies along the way. We also hiked through parts of the rainforest before entering the volcanic park.

Hiking in a rainforest in Guatemala

If you’ve never done a trek before, it’s important to note that you will get dirty and you’ll also be roughing it up for a bit. I had dirt on my face, in my hair, in my nails and all over my clothes. There were also no showers at Base Camp, so that is why face and body wipes are important to have.

Another thing to note is that during most treks, the weather and climate will fluctuate. You will either be stripping off layers or adding them on. The higher we got in elevation, the more we noticed the temperature drop. The Acatenango hike elevation gain is 5150 feet (1500 meters). If you are someone who suffers from altitude sickness, it is important to stop and rest along the hike, consult your doctor beforehand and find the right medication to bring with you, drink enough water and refrain from alcohol or smoking during the trek.

The trailhead on the Acatenango hike

We stopped for an hour lunch break. The food we had were vegan “meatballs” that were made up of quinoa, rice, beans and soy. Mashed potatoes also came with our meal along with an apple. Wicho & Charlie’s made a promise to always give back, protect the environment and animals. Having a plant-based menu is also a great way to get the nutrients and calories you need to accomplish the hike.

I was happy that all of the meals were vegan. I am not a big meat eater and a lot of dairy items make me sick.

Volcan de Acatenango Base Camp:

A woman at Base Camp on Wicho & Charlie's Acatenango Volcano hike

It takes anywhere between 3.5 to 5 hours to hike up to Base Camp. It took my group a little over 4 hours to get to Wicho & Charlie’s Base Camp on Acatenango. The Base Camp is located at 11,811 feet above sea level (3600 meters).

We all were exhausted when we arrived at Base Camp, so we mainly relaxed and waited until the clouds disappeared. Visibility wasn’t the best through most of the hike up, but we did hear the eruptions, especially as we got closer to Base Camp.

Fuego Volcano at sunset

There is an optional hike to Volcan Fuego once you reach Base Camp. It takes over an hour to get there and two hours back. The hike to Fuego is also difficult and it includes big drops and gains of altitude. Since you will mainly be hiking to Volcan de Fuego at night, the weather is usually windy and cold.

If the volcano is deemed too dangerous, the guides will not take hikers on Volcan Fuego. Even though I didn’t do the Fuego hike on this trip, I would love to do it next time I travel to Guatemala.

In addition, most hikers have an option to hike to Acatenango summit during sunset or sunrise the next morning. The sunset departure to Acatenango summit is usually weather depending. Our guides called off the sunset hike to summit, so we ended up hiking it for sunrise the next morning. It worked out for the better because most of us were exhausted on the first day.

As the sun started to go down, the visibility became even more clear and we got to see the actual eruptions from Fuego Volcano. Our guides also set up a campfire, which was nice, since it started to get a lot colder as the evening went on. We were given hot cocoa to warm up and marshmallows to roast!

Fuego volcano erupting at night in Guatemala
This photo was provided to me by Wicho & Charlie’s. I am crediting Fabian Wiktor for this photography work. You can check out his work on his website and Instagram.

Once nighttime approached, the volcanic eruptions became magical! We got to see the actual lava come out of the volcano. It was so cool! This was my second time seeing an erupting volcano, the first one I saw was Mount Etna in Sicily during my birthday trip in June 2017. I wasn’t as close to Etna as I was to Fuego though.

Dinner at night was a delicious lentil curry with white rice. Overall, it was my favorite meal on the trek.

At 9pm, we were required to be in our cabins because the guides took out the campfire. Since we were hiking to Acatenango summit at sunrise, it was important that we got a good night’s rest. I will admit that I didn’t sleep too well and that is because I got cold at night and the volcano was loud. It usually sounds like thunder. (Definitely layer up at night!)

Hike to Acatenango Volcano Summit in Guatemala:

Sunrise on the Volcan Acatenango hike

Hiking to the summit of Volcan Acatenango is optional, but for those who wish to go for sunrise will have a wakeup call at 4:45am. It takes around an hour and 20 minutes to get to the summit from Base Camp.

The summit of Volcan Acatenango

The hike to the summit was difficult and uphill like the day before. We were above the clouds during this portion of the trek and the sunrise was incredible! You will also get to see views of the other popular Guatemala volcanoes.

A woman who just completed the Acatenango Volcano hike in Guatemala

Once you get to the top, you will experience even more breathtaking views of Fuego Volcano! It was amazing. As I mention above, the Acatenango hike altitude is over 13,000 feet above sea level.

When it is time to hike back down the mountain, it is important to take your time and don’t be afraid to dig your feet into the sand (you’ll get what I mean when you’re there). Because the inclines and declines are so steep, it is very easy to slip and slide down the mountain. A lot of people in my group fell on the way down.

Enjoying coffee with views of Volcan Fuego

When we arrived back to Base Camp, we enjoyed breakfast with volcano views. I will admit that I wasn’t hungry (the meal served was a breakfast burrito of rice and beans, soy protein and ranchera sauce), but I did enjoy a nice cup of coffee! Even though I thankfully don’t suffer from altitude sickness, I do tend to lose a bit of my appetite when I’m on big hikes like Acatenango.

Concluding the Acatenango Volcano Hike:

Volcan de Agua in Guatemala

It takes around two hours to get down the volcano from Base Camp. Like I mention above, the decline down is steep and it is important to be careful and cautious because a lot of people fall.

Certain parts of the descend have stairs, so I recommend using them and I also do not suggest running down because you can get hurt. Going downhill on these treks can also have a huge affect on your knees. Because of that, I suggest getting one of the best knee braces for hiking that will help you with pain, arthritis, meniscus tear and stabilization.

Stairs on the Acatenango hike

Once you reach the bottom, there will be shuttles from Wicho & Charlie’s waiting for you. This is when you tip your guides!

When you arrive back to the office, you must return your rentals and food containers, get your government IDs back, gather the belongings you stored and enjoy a nice Corona to celebrate your big accomplishment (they provide you the beer for free). I also enjoyed a nice and healthy meal at Once Once, which is the vegan restaurant located in Wicho & Charlie’s office!

Afterwards, it is your responsibility to organize transportation to your next accommodation or destination. Overall, I loved doing this overnight trek with Wicho & Charlie’s and I highly recommend them as one of the best Acatenango tour companies.

Another awesome adventure to check off your bucket list when you visit Antigua is hiking the active Pacaya volcano where you can actually see the lava flow up close!


A woman on the Acatenango Volcano hike in Guatemala

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my experience on the Acatenango Volcano hike and discovering how to best prepare for it. If you plan to do this hike, I suggest training for it by doing local hikes in your area or power walking on the treadmill at an incline during your workout at the gym. If you have any questions about my Acatenango Volcano hike, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of Guatemala:

Currency: Guatemalan Quetzal, Capital: Guatemala City, Time Zone: Guatemala does not follow Daylight Savings. During the summer months, Guatemala is on Mountain Standard Time and then it is on Central Standard Time during the winter months.

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4 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on March 31, 2022 at 10:23 pm

    That was a very inspiring blog! What an awesome hike and to see those beautiful volcanoes erupting ~ that is such an invaluable experience. Loved all the amazing photos, during the day and at night. Loved that you took us along with you on this trek. I felt like I was actually hiking alongside of you! I really enjoyed reading about this amazing adventure ~ you never seem to disappoint the reader with these fabulous blogs! Loved all the stunning photography ~ thank you for sharing your amazing experience! Love you, mom 👩🏻 xoxo ♥️😘💕

    • Taylor Deer on April 6, 2022 at 9:26 am

      Thank you mom! It was such an incredible experience. Love you too!

  2. Max on May 9, 2022 at 4:20 am

    I put this place into my travel list. I go hiking almost every year and this is absolutely what I want.

    • Taylor Deer on May 9, 2022 at 7:25 pm

      You would love it. Guatemala is such an incredible country. 🙂

Leave a Comment





Taylor-Acatenango6

A happy woman on the Acatenango Volcano hike
Wearing Maho Shades!

They say that when everything feels like an uphill struggle, think of the view from the top. Sometimes you just need to change your altitude. That quote can best describe the Acatenango Volcano hike I did during my solo trip to Guatemala.

Located in Guatemala, Acatenango is one of the highest volcanoes in Central America at 13,044 feet (3976 meters) above sea level. Acatenango Volcano is considered an active stratovolcano, but the last eruption happened in 1972. Situated right next to Volcan Acatenango is Fuego Volcano, which is highly active (hence why it is called the fire volcano).

Hiking Acatenango is one of the top things to do in Antigua, Guatemala. The trek is two days and one night. It’s considered strenuous and it is recommended that you’re in good health if you decide to participate in this hike. I did my Acatenango hike with Wicho & Charlie’s, who are based in Antigua, Guatemala.

Sunrise overlooking Volcano Fuego erupting
This photo was provided to me by Wicho & Charlie’s. I am crediting Fabian Wiktor for this photography work. You can check out his work on his website and Instagram.

During March 2022, I did a wonderful Central and South America trip. I started my trip solo in Guatemala where I spent two nights in Antigua, one night hiking Volcan Acatenango and the remaining two nights on Lake Atitlan. I then flew to Colombia where I met Caitlin of My Darling Passport. We spent two nights on Isla Barú, which is an island off the famous city of Cartagena and concluded our trip in the city.

In this thorough Acatenango Volcano hike guide, read all about my experience on this unforgettable trek and discover how to best be prepared for it.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Acatenango Volcano hike in Guatemala

Basic Facts of Guatemala:

A woman at the Santa Catalina Arch in Antigua, Guatemala

Guatemala is in Central America. Spanish is the official language of the country and the predominate religion is Catholicism. There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala and one of them is in fact the city of Antigua (it’s closest to Acatenango).

The other two UNESCO sites are the ancient Mayan archaeological site of Quirigua and Tikal National Park. Chocolate originated from Guatemala and its cuisine is influenced by Mayan and Spanish culture.

Traveling around Guatemala:

A woman exploring Antigua, Guatemala on a solo trip.

It is easy to visit the Central American country of Guatemala. I took a flight from Newark Airport in New Jersey to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, with a layover in Miami. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner!

One of the best ways to get around Guatemala is by using Uber. There are city taxis all around, but as a foreigner, you may need to haggle the cost of your ride. Other great ways to get around the country at a more affordable cost are by buses.

Guatemala is known for its camionetas, which are also known as chicken buses. Recognized as the most affordable and authentic mode of transportation in Guatemala, chicken buses are old North American school buses that are used to transport everything from luggage to live animals (like chickens)!

If you plan to use the chicken buses, make sure to have cash on you and be aware of getting scammed as a foreigner. You can hail a bus at public terminals, near a lot of markets. They are hard to miss!

The chicken buses of Guatemala

The Pullman is usually considered a first-class bus in Guatemala and they are also a great way to get around the country. With a 25 percent higher cost than the chicken buses, the Pullman bus tickets can be bought in advance. Most Pullman buses leave out of private offices.

Another way to get around Guatemala is by renting your own vehicle or organizing private transportation through your accommodation. During my time in Guatemala, I organized all my transportation to and from each destination through my hotels. I did use Uber a few times and I also got to ride the chicken bus when I was at Lake Atitlan.

Tuk-tuks are another great way to get around Guatemalan cities at an affordable cost. It’s also one of the most authentic ways to travel from place to place. Even though they are more common in Southeast Asian and African countries, tuk-tuks are a motorized rickshaw that has three wheels. As a foreigner, you may need to haggle the cost of your ride like you would with a taxi.

Hiking Volcan Acatenango with Wicho & Charlie’s:

A woman enjoying views of Volcano Fuego

For you to do the Acatenango Volcano hike, you must go with a tour group! I did my trek with Wicho & Charlie’s and had an incredible experience with them. Wicho & Charlie’s has developed a hike that is best suited for the average person deemed “physically healthy” to be able to hike up and down the volcano.

The best time to hike Acatenango is during Guatemala’s dry season, which is between November and April. Since Central America is based in the Tropics, rainy season takes place between May through October.

All Wicho & Charlie’s guides are bilingual, First Aid certified and know the mountain and volcano well. They will always ensure that every hiker is safe and that no one gets left behind!

An A-frame cabin on the Acatenango trek

Hiking Acatenango with Wicho & Charlie’s is affordable and they provide hikers with the best base camp facilities on the volcano. Our overnight stay on Volcan Acatenango had us in A frame cabins that were made specifically for eruptions and weather. It costs Q500 ($75 USD) for a shared cabin, which sleeps up to eight people and Q1200 ($199 USD for two people) for a private cabin, which sleeps only two people (perfect for a couple). Please note that there are no beds in the cabins; they include sleeping bags that come with a pillow and extra blanket.

The cost of the Acatenango trek also includes four meals, snacks, professional guides, the cabin with camping gear, essential personal gear and transportation.

Hikers on Volcan de Acatenango
This photo was provided to me by Wicho & Charlie’s. I am crediting Fabian Wiktor for this photography work. You can check out his work on his website and Instagram.

Here are some other important facts about doing the Acatenango Volcano hike with Wicho & Charlie’s:

  • All food on the hike is vegan. The tour provides you with two breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner.
  • We did need to hike with our backpacks, but you can hire a guide to take your bags up at an extra cost. All hikers were required to bring their food with them too that are prepared by cooks at Wicho & Charlie’s office. The meals are stored in plastic containers and you must bring them back to Antigua with you.
  • Wicho & Charlie’s provides hikers with essential personal gear such as jackets, a headlamp, beanie/hat, buff/scarf, gloves and water bottles, but it is an extra cost to rent insulated gloves, pants, wool socks, a backpack, trekking poles, hiking boots, thermal base layers and AAA batteries. Since most of these items are hand-me-downs, I decided to bring my own gear. I did rent a headlamp and an extra 2L water bottle from Wicho & Charlies. If you decide to rent anything, you will also need to keep a government ID at the office, which they give back to you when you return. (I gave them my driver’s license, not my passport. I did bring my passport with me on the hike though as a form of personal ID.)
  • Have some cash on you in Guatemalan Quetzal. It costs Q50 to enter the volcanic park, which is around $6.50 USD. (This price is separate from what you pay for the trek.)
  • It is important to bring extra water and snacks with you. The last place to fill up your water bottle and purchase snacks is when you pay to enter Acatenango Volcano.
  • There are no bathrooms, so you will need to do your business outside. Wicho & Charlie’s provides you with biodegradable tissues.
  • You can purchase beer at an additional cost.
  • I recommend using hiking shoes and trekking poles, which you can rent from Wicho & Charlie’s. I go over everything I brought with me below.
  • Since I was traveling around, I had my big luggage, which I was able to store in the storage room at Wicho & Charlie’s office for free. They also have lockers too to store valuables. You will need to bring your own lock if you use the lockers. I also had a lock on my luggage since I stored my laptop in there.
  • Make sure to tip your guides at the end of the trek!
A woman who completed the Acatenango Volcano hike during a trip to Guatemala

Here are the items I personally brought with me for the Guatemala volcano hike:

Acatenango Volcano Hike from Antigua, Guatemala:

Beautiful volcano views in Antigua, Guatemala

Pre Volcan Acatenango Hike:

On the day of the hike, I took an Uber from my accommodation (Good Hotel) to Wicho & Charlie’s office. The office is in walking distance from the hotel I stayed at, but since Antigua has unpaved, cobblestoned streets and I had a large luggage, it was impossible for me to lug it all the way there.

Wicho & Charlie’s told us to be at the office by 7am so that we would have time to look through the gear and choose anything we needed for the hike. Since I only rented a headlamp and water bottle, I mainly relaxed and enjoyed a nice breakfast provided by Wicho & Charlie’s.

For breakfast, they had fresh breads with jam and chocolate spreads, fresh fruit and protein bars. They also had energy shots for us to enjoy, which were made of beets, orange juice and ginger. It was delicious!

Energy shots from Wicho & Charlie's in Antigua

(There is also a snack bar for you to grab chips, pretzels, cranberries, cherries, peanuts and chocolate chips for the hike.)

During this time, we also got a briefing on what to expect during the trek and the staff went over the safety precautions and rules with us.

We then departed Antigua at around 9am. Wicho & Charlie’s provides free shuttle services to the start of the trek in La Soledad, which is around 50 minutes from the city. The hike officially started at around 10am.

A group of hikers at the Acatenango Base Camp

There were about 30 people in our group. Most of the hikers were from the Netherlands. In fact, most travelers in Guatemala were Dutch. There were also hikers from Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, the U.K., Ireland, Spain, the U.S and Puerto Rico.

The Best Volcano Hike in Guatemala:

Volcan de Fuego in Guatemala

Overall, the Acatenango Volcano hike difficulty was considered strenuous. From the moment we began the hike, it was straight uphill, but what I got to experience along the way was rewarding! This was the third trek I’ve done throughout my travels. (If you are someone who hikes often, you will be fine on this trek!)

The Salkantay Trek was the very first challenge I did in June 2019, which was to Machu Picchu in Peru. I also did the 6-day Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in July 2019. (During my time in Peru, I also did the day hike to Rainbow Mountain, which was also difficult, but rewarding!)

The start of the Acatenango hike

For me personally, the first part of the trek was the hardest. We stopped every 20 minutes. I also had to take a decent amount of breaks in between to catch my breath. I believe it’s important to listen to your body. Don’t overdue it!

I will admit that the views along the Acatenango Volcano day hike weren’t as breathtaking as they were during my Peru hikes, but we did get to see horses, goats and puppies along the way. We also hiked through parts of the rainforest before entering the volcanic park.

Hiking in a rainforest in Guatemala

If you’ve never done a trek before, it’s important to note that you will get dirty and you’ll also be roughing it up for a bit. I had dirt on my face, in my hair, in my nails and all over my clothes. There were also no showers at Base Camp, so that is why face and body wipes are important to have.

Another thing to note is that during most treks, the weather and climate will fluctuate. You will either be stripping off layers or adding them on. The higher we got in elevation, the more we noticed the temperature drop. The Acatenango hike elevation gain is 5150 feet (1500 meters). If you are someone who suffers from altitude sickness, it is important to stop and rest along the hike, consult your doctor beforehand and find the right medication to bring with you, drink enough water and refrain from alcohol or smoking during the trek.

The trailhead on the Acatenango hike

We stopped for an hour lunch break. The food we had were vegan “meatballs” that were made up of quinoa, rice, beans and soy. Mashed potatoes also came with our meal along with an apple. Wicho & Charlie’s made a promise to always give back, protect the environment and animals. Having a plant-based menu is also a great way to get the nutrients and calories you need to accomplish the hike.

I was happy that all of the meals were vegan. I am not a big meat eater and a lot of dairy items make me sick.

Volcan de Acatenango Base Camp:

A woman at Base Camp on Wicho & Charlie's Acatenango Volcano hike

It takes anywhere between 3.5 to 5 hours to hike up to Base Camp. It took my group a little over 4 hours to get to Wicho & Charlie’s Base Camp on Acatenango. The Base Camp is located at 11,811 feet above sea level (3600 meters).

We all were exhausted when we arrived at Base Camp, so we mainly relaxed and waited until the clouds disappeared. Visibility wasn’t the best through most of the hike up, but we did hear the eruptions, especially as we got closer to Base Camp.

Fuego Volcano at sunset

There is an optional hike to Volcan Fuego once you reach Base Camp. It takes over an hour to get there and two hours back. The hike to Fuego is also difficult and it includes big drops and gains of altitude. Since you will mainly be hiking to Volcan de Fuego at night, the weather is usually windy and cold.

If the volcano is deemed too dangerous, the guides will not take hikers on Volcan Fuego. Even though I didn’t do the Fuego hike on this trip, I would love to do it next time I travel to Guatemala.

In addition, most hikers have an option to hike to Acatenango summit during sunset or sunrise the next morning. The sunset departure to Acatenango summit is usually weather depending. Our guides called off the sunset hike to summit, so we ended up hiking it for sunrise the next morning. It worked out for the better because most of us were exhausted on the first day.

As the sun started to go down, the visibility became even more clear and we got to see the actual eruptions from Fuego Volcano. Our guides also set up a campfire, which was nice, since it started to get a lot colder as the evening went on. We were given hot cocoa to warm up and marshmallows to roast!

Fuego volcano erupting at night in Guatemala
This photo was provided to me by Wicho & Charlie’s. I am crediting Fabian Wiktor for this photography work. You can check out his work on his website and Instagram.

Once nighttime approached, the volcanic eruptions became magical! We got to see the actual lava come out of the volcano. It was so cool! This was my second time seeing an erupting volcano, the first one I saw was Mount Etna in Sicily during my birthday trip in June 2017. I wasn’t as close to Etna as I was to Fuego though.

Dinner at night was a delicious lentil curry with white rice. Overall, it was my favorite meal on the trek.

At 9pm, we were required to be in our cabins because the guides took out the campfire. Since we were hiking to Acatenango summit at sunrise, it was important that we got a good night’s rest. I will admit that I didn’t sleep too well and that is because I got cold at night and the volcano was loud. It usually sounds like thunder. (Definitely layer up at night!)

Hike to Acatenango Volcano Summit in Guatemala:

Sunrise on the Volcan Acatenango hike

Hiking to the summit of Volcan Acatenango is optional, but for those who wish to go for sunrise will have a wakeup call at 4:45am. It takes around an hour and 20 minutes to get to the summit from Base Camp.

The summit of Volcan Acatenango

The hike to the summit was difficult and uphill like the day before. We were above the clouds during this portion of the trek and the sunrise was incredible! You will also get to see views of the other popular Guatemala volcanoes.

A woman who just completed the Acatenango Volcano hike in Guatemala

Once you get to the top, you will experience even more breathtaking views of Fuego Volcano! It was amazing. As I mention above, the Acatenango hike altitude is over 13,000 feet above sea level.

When it is time to hike back down the mountain, it is important to take your time and don’t be afraid to dig your feet into the sand (you’ll get what I mean when you’re there). Because the inclines and declines are so steep, it is very easy to slip and slide down the mountain. A lot of people in my group fell on the way down.

Enjoying coffee with views of Volcan Fuego

When we arrived back to Base Camp, we enjoyed breakfast with volcano views. I will admit that I wasn’t hungry (the meal served was a breakfast burrito of rice and beans, soy protein and ranchera sauce), but I did enjoy a nice cup of coffee! Even though I thankfully don’t suffer from altitude sickness, I do tend to lose a bit of my appetite when I’m on big hikes like Acatenango.

Concluding the Acatenango Volcano Hike:

Volcan de Agua in Guatemala

It takes around two hours to get down the volcano from Base Camp. Like I mention above, the decline down is steep and it is important to be careful and cautious because a lot of people fall.

Certain parts of the descend have stairs, so I recommend using them and I also do not suggest running down because you can get hurt. Going downhill on these treks can also have a huge affect on your knees. Because of that, I suggest getting one of the best knee braces for hiking that will help you with pain, arthritis, meniscus tear and stabilization.

Stairs on the Acatenango hike

Once you reach the bottom, there will be shuttles from Wicho & Charlie’s waiting for you. This is when you tip your guides!

When you arrive back to the office, you must return your rentals and food containers, get your government IDs back, gather the belongings you stored and enjoy a nice Corona to celebrate your big accomplishment (they provide you the beer for free). I also enjoyed a nice and healthy meal at Once Once, which is the vegan restaurant located in Wicho & Charlie’s office!

Afterwards, it is your responsibility to organize transportation to your next accommodation or destination. Overall, I loved doing this overnight trek with Wicho & Charlie’s and I highly recommend them as one of the best Acatenango tour companies.

Another awesome adventure to check off your bucket list when you visit Antigua is hiking the active Pacaya volcano where you can actually see the lava flow up close!


A woman on the Acatenango Volcano hike in Guatemala

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my experience on the Acatenango Volcano hike and discovering how to best prepare for it. If you plan to do this hike, I suggest training for it by doing local hikes in your area or power walking on the treadmill at an incline during your workout at the gym. If you have any questions about my Acatenango Volcano hike, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of Guatemala:

Currency: Guatemalan Quetzal, Capital: Guatemala City, Time Zone: Guatemala does not follow Daylight Savings. During the summer months, Guatemala is on Mountain Standard Time and then it is on Central Standard Time during the winter months.

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4 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on March 31, 2022 at 10:23 pm

    That was a very inspiring blog! What an awesome hike and to see those beautiful volcanoes erupting ~ that is such an invaluable experience. Loved all the amazing photos, during the day and at night. Loved that you took us along with you on this trek. I felt like I was actually hiking alongside of you! I really enjoyed reading about this amazing adventure ~ you never seem to disappoint the reader with these fabulous blogs! Loved all the stunning photography ~ thank you for sharing your amazing experience! Love you, mom 👩🏻 xoxo ♥️😘💕

    • Taylor Deer on April 6, 2022 at 9:26 am

      Thank you mom! It was such an incredible experience. Love you too!

  2. Max on May 9, 2022 at 4:20 am

    I put this place into my travel list. I go hiking almost every year and this is absolutely what I want.

    • Taylor Deer on May 9, 2022 at 7:25 pm

      You would love it. Guatemala is such an incredible country. 🙂

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