The Ultimate Guide to Hiking Acatenango in Guatemala

If you’ve thought about going to Guatemala, then you have probably heard that one of the main attractions and sights to see is the eruption of Fuego volcano. The Acatenango hike in Guatemala gets you the best views of Fuego and it is an incredible experience. 

This hike requires you to be well prepared. If you want to learn everything before you go on this adventure, then you have come to the right place. This is the ultimate guide to this Guatemalan hiking adventure.

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Nestled in the heart of Central America you will find a majestic peak that brings adventure seekers to itself from all over the world. Acatenango, one of Guatemala’s most iconic volcanoes, offers hikers a very challenging yet rewarding journey. This journey takes you through breathtaking landscapes with endless awe-inspiring views. In this guide, I’ll delve into everything you need to know to embark on this unforgettable adventure.

tips for hiking acatenango
hiking tips guatemala


When to go there

The best time to hiking Acatenango in Guatemala is during the dry season, which typically spans from November to April. During these months, the chances of encountering clear skies and more favorable hiking conditions is higher. During the rainy season the trails become slippery and visibility can be compromised.

best hike guatemala
best guatemala hike


How to get to Acatenango in Guatemala

Acatenango is about a 1 hour drive from Antigua, a charming colonial town just a few hours away from the country’s capital, Guatemala City. You can begin your journey from Antigua, where various tour operators offer transportation to the base of the volcano. 

You can either do this hike as a long day hike or an overnight 2 day/1 night hike with camping. I think the best way to do it is as a 2 day (overnight) hike and I highly recommend this as it is a difficult hike and you have more time to enjoy the volcanos and this will allow you to experience an amazing sunrise at the summit.

Although you can do this hike on your own, I highly recommend booking a guide/tour as it’s challenging and a guide will help you take out any guess work involved. Here are some tours that you can take depending on your budget: 

Option 1: Overnight Volcano Acatenango Hiking Adventure
Option 2: Adventure, 2-Day Hiking to Acatenango Volcano
Option 3: Acatenango Volcano Tour: 1 night in Glamping

Most of the tours will include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, making the planning process easier. 


hiking guatemala
hiking guide guatemala


What to pack

Here are a list of some of the must-haves for the hike:


  • Comfortable hiking shoes and socks – This will really impact the quality of your hike as you want to ensure you are as comfortable as possible for the duration of this day.

  • Layers – These can include gloves, toques, rain jackets, jogging pants, wool socks.


  • Headlamp and/or flashlight – you will need a light for navigating your way throughout the night at the base camp as well as in the morning when you are hiking to the summit. Here are the rechargeable headlamps we used that I would recommend.


  • Water – It is recommended to have at least 4L per person, although this does add to the weight that you have to carry with you.

  •  Hiking poles – Most of the tour companies will either have poles or walking sticks for you to borrow or rent. I highly recommend having these and they will help a lot throughout the journey.


  • Wipes and tissues – these will come in handy as the hike is very dusty and you will need water and wipes to clean your hands throughout the day and for using the bathroom.

  • Earplugs – to sleep with more ease, make sure you pack earplugs. Fuego erupts loudly throughout the night and the earplugs will dull the rumble and the noise from other campers as well. You will need all the rest you can get.
Check out my list of hiking essentials to ensure you stay equipped, comfortable, warm and dry! 
acatenango hike pack and jet
acatanengo guide travel blog


Hiking Acatenango 

Despite how challenging this hike is, it is super popular and it can get very crowded. 

When you arrive in the parking lot, you have the choice of paying local guides to carry your bags with you. If you are not used to hiking with gear on your back, this may be the best option for you. 

Make sure you have a good breakfast and be ready to get into it right away. The hike is steep from the start!

Bringing a mask can really help as the trail gets dusty and you will be breathing in and eating all the dust from the people around you if you are not wearing a mask. 

The hike up takes about 4-5 hours depending on your speed. The views along the way are truly breathtaking, you will go through a lush cloud forest, volcanic landscapes and alpine meadows. 

When you reach the base camp, you have the option of continuing to do the Fuego hike – an additional 1.5 hour hike – or you can spend the afternoon to relax, take in the views and watch Fuego erupt as the sun sets. Acatenango in Guatemala is the sister volcano adjacent to Fuego. The Fuego eruptions can be unpredictable, but can happen as frequently as every 15-30 minutes. 

acatenango guatemala
volcano hike guatemela


Soon it will be time for dinner and sleep to ensure you are recharged for the sunrise hike. 

The second morning starts with a 4:00 am wake up call. After a quick breakfast, it is time to start the hike up to the summit. This part of the hike is very steep and rocky and will take about 1.5 hours. 

Throughout the hike, take a lot of breaks and allow time for your body to acclimatize as the elevation increases. 

At the summit, you will realize that all the effort and hardship was worth it. Here you will have the perfect view of Agua and Fuego volcanos as the sun rises. 

Hiking back down is a lot easier and takes approximately 2.5 hours depending on your speed. The earlier you start your hike down the better! 

In total, our hike was just under 17 km and 8 hours. 

Guatemala pack and jet travel blog
must see guatemala hiking

Despite it’s challenges, the rewards of the Acatenango hike in Guatemala are unparalled. The sunset at base camp is an unforgettable awe-inspiring experience. As the darkness falls, the night sky is filled with starts and the rumble of erupting Fuego is magical. 

Embarking on the Acatenango hike is a journey of self-discovery, endurance, and experiencing nature’s beauty. By choosing the right time to go, adequately preparing, you’ll be ready to conquer this iconic hike and create memories that will last a lifetime. 

 Add this hike to your Guatemala itinerary and your travel bucket list. Pin this for future reference and share it with your travel buddies.

Happy hiking!

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