To ensure your safety, the steep slopes of Acatenango are best summited with a guide. Tours usually depart from Antigua and typically include pickup and lunch. While the climb can be completed in a day, overnight tours let you watch the sunset and see lava explosions from adjoining Fuego from a mountain campsite. For a less physically challenging option, choose a tour with 4WD transport part of the way up, which shortens the hiking time.
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Things to know before you go
- Overnight tours usually include meals and transport, though you’ll generally have to pay the entrance fee to the park yourself.
- The hike up Acatenango is strenuous, and should only be attempted with a good fitness level.
- Temperatures drop near the top, especially at night, so pack warm gear including a quality sleeping bag.
- Check whether your tour includes a porter; otherwise pack light and be prepared to carry your own bag.
How to get there
The trailhead begins at the village of La Soledad, about an hour in the car from Antigua. Buses from Antigua are few and far between, and often require transfers, which makes it significantly easier to come as part of a tour.
When to get there
The best time to climb is during the dry season between late November and early April. Though it can still be climbed during the rainy season, tours may be cancelled for safety reasons.
What to Expect on the Hike
Hiking up to the summit of Acatenango takes about 4-5 hours. The trail begins with a steep ascent through the farm-dotted foothills, then leads into a high alpine forest. The final stretch leads beyond the treeline and up volcanic scree, from where there are far-reaching views of neighboring peaks.
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- Antigua City Hall (Palacio del Ayuntamiento)
- Santa Catalina Arch (Arco de Santa Catalina)
- Palace of the Captains General (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales)
- Antigua Central Park (Parque Central)
- Catedral de Santiago (Antigua Cathedral)
- Museum of Colonial Art (Museo de Arte Colonial)
- La Merced Church (Iglesia de la Merced)
- Jade Factory and Museum (Jade Maya)
- ChocoMuseo Antigua
- Church of San Francisco (Iglesia de San Francisco)
- Las Capuchinas (Convento de Las Capuchinas)
- Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross)
- Casa Santo Domingo (Monasterio de Santo Domingo)
- Pacaya Volcano