Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike Guide (My Itinerary)

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Are you thinking of hiking the Acatenango Volcano? Then this article is perfect for you. Along with my friends, I recently trekked up the mountain, and it was quite an experience.

For a wholesome experience, you should set aside two days off your schedule.

Read on to learn more about the volcano and hopefully have an even better time than I did.

Brief Information About Acatenango Volcano

Standing at 13,045 feet (3976 meters), the Acatenango Volcano sits in the Guatemala highlands in Central America. It was on my bucket list for quite a while, and I finally got to scale it with about a half-dozen of my outdoorsy friends.

Hiking this stratovolcano is not a simple task – it requires a lot of physical stamina and mental willpower to reach the summit, especially if you are a beginner at hiking steep trails.

While it was a journey of perseverance and determination, I enjoyed breathtaking panoramic views and profoundly connected with nature during the ascent.

As we went up the trail, we encountered a range of ecosystems, each presenting distinct flora and fauna. I also noted that the vegetation thinned out as we increased the altitude of our ascent. Essentially, the thickest vegetation was in the lower regions of the stratovolcano, and hardly any plants at the summit.

Since the ascent takes six to eight hours, depending on an individual’s speed, it is advisable to make the journey in two days.

Acatenango volcano guide
Acatenango volcano hiking tips

My highlight of the adventure was catching awe-inspiring views of the volcanic eruptions of the neighboring Fuego volcano at night and an amazing spectacle of the sunrise the following morning.

Also, the night sky is usually clear, allowing stars to shine brilliantly. Note that the nights can be very cold, so you should bring warm clothes. Campfires are also a fun way to keep warm as you interact with the other hikers.

Read laterAntigua Volcanos 3-Day Hike

Things I Wish I Knew Before Hiking the Acatenango Volcano

Acclimatizing yourself to high altitudes before the hike will enhance your hiking experience. I suffered a bit of altitude sickness as I neared the summit, which slowed me down a bit.

Therefore, before embarking on this hike, it is advisable to visit high-altitude places several times to build altitude tolerance.

If you are traveling independently, as I did with my friends, obtaining the relevant permits in advance is best. This will save you time and allow you to get right into it on D-day without delays.

Also, bring strong and sturdy hiking boots to the expedition, as the trails can be quite rocky and uneven.

When it rains, the path can be wet, so you need boots that can grip the ground firmly.

Also readPacaya Volcano 2-Day Hike Guide

Other things that you should bring for this hike include:

  • A backpack
  • Flashlight
  • A reusable water bottle
  • Enough water
  • Snacks
  • Warm clothing

Lastly, steer off alcohol on the days before the hike, and stay as hydrated as possible.

Should You Use a Tour Company For The Acatenango Volcano Hike?

If you are a beginner at hiking or don’t want to deal with the logistics of the hike, then using a tour company would be a good idea.

A tour company provides a guided experience as it is familiar with the trail and the conditions of the stratovolcano.

Also, a tour company will offer logistical support such as:

Acatenango volcano small eruption

A tour company is equipped to handle emergencies; some even have travel insurance covers.

As such you can be sure they will provide a great group atmosphere. All you would need to do is show up and have a good time.

However, if you are an experienced outdoor adventurist who likes to experience nature in its raw form, you may want to hike independently.

This will provide you with the flexibility to explore the volcano on your own terms. In addition, it will save you some bucks.

The 2-Day Itinerary

The ascent to the summit of the Acatenango Volcano is a distance of 6 to 7 miles one way (10 – 12 km).

The time taken to get there depends on factors such as your pace, the weather conditions, and the route you take.

Here are how you should spend your days for the optimum experience:

Day 1

Acatenango volcano hiking trail
Climbing Acatenango volcano

Morning Hours

The best time to start the hike is early morning, between 7 am and 8 am, before the sun is too hot. Get to the starting point – the trailhead near La Sociodad – at sunrise.

The temperatures are cool at this time, so you will be able to cover a good part of the trail before it is too hot.

At around 9 am, take a short break to breathe, snack, and drink water. This break will re-energize you for the rest of the day’s ascent.

Remember to look out for insects, bugs, and snakes during the hike. Stay out of their way as much as possible and respect their natural habitats.


Depending on your speed, you should reach the Acatenango Volcano’s base camp anywhere between 2 and 3 pm.

The base camp is 12500 feet (3800 m) up the stratovolcano, and it is where you will set camp for the day. Relax here and have lunch as you enjoy the views.

Acclimatize yourself to the altitude, walk around, and connect with nature.

Acatenango volcano nearby city
Acatenango volcano in Guatemala

If you are using a tour company, this is the time you will engage in guided team activities and, possibly, nature walks. This is also the perfect time to pitch up your tents.


Have dinner in the early evening, between 5 pm and 6 pm.

At around 7 pm, the temperatures start to drop, making it the perfect time to put up a campfire. Along with your blankies, the fire will keep you warm.

A campfire will also create an atmosphere of camaraderie where you get to interact with the other hikers.

Between 8 pm and 9 pm, you will experience the unforgettable eruptions of the Fuego volcano under a starlit sky. You want to sleep by 10 pm as you will have an early morning the next day.

Day 2

Early Morning

Wake up early, preferably by 4.30 am, to prepare for the remaining bit of the ascent to the summit.

Ensure that you pack your gear and essentials before you set off. Since it will still be dark, bring flashlights to illuminate the way.

You will reach the summit in not more than two hours. Once there, find a comfortable spot where you will get a magical view of the sunrise.

Mid Morning

At around 9 am, descend from the summit and find a sheltered spot to sit for breakfast.

You can then descend back to the base camp and catch the views you may have missed earlier while it was still dark. 


Start your descent to the starting point.

This part should be smoother and faster than the ascent, as you won’t need much physical strength. It will take three to four hours, so you should finish the descent no later than 4 pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Eruption Acatenango volcano

When is the best time to hike the Acatenango Volcano?

The best time to hike the Acatenango Volcano is during the dry season between November and April.

During this time the weather is more stable, the skies are clear and there is less chance of rain. Thus, you will have good visibility of surrounding landscapes, such as the Fuego Volcano’s eruptions that occur at night.

Is hiking the Acatenango Volcano difficult?

This hike is moderate to strenuously difficult, depending on how prepared you are mentally and physically. The trek is made up of high altitude and a steep and rocky terrain.

Is it safe to hike the Acatenango Volcano?

Hiking the Acatenango Volcano is generally safe. However, it comes with inherent risks, just like any outdoor activity. So, you should always be cautious. It helps to wear sturdy hiking boots to avoid slipping.

Also, consider bringing a compass or GPS device to avoid getting lost if you are traveling independently (not using a tour company). It is best to travel in a group as you can help each other in case of anything.

Final Thoughts

Hiking the Acatenango Volcano is a wholesome experience. Not only does it connect you with nature, but it also tests your resilience.

At the end of it, you will be proud of yourself for pushing your body and your mind. You will also experience beautiful nightly scenes of a starlit sky and volcanic eruptions from nearby mountains.

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