Two hikers walking on Acatenango volcano summit at sunset, Guatemala.
4.8
| 72 reviews

Guatemala 5 Volcano Challenge

9 nights
Challenging

Hike up five of Guatemala's volcanoes - dubbed 'The Ring of Fire' - ending up at spectacular Lake Atitlán

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with expert, English-speaking local guides

Hotel & Camping

7 nights in local hotels, 2 nights volcano wild camping

Meals

8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 2 dinners of tasty Central American food

Transfers

Your airport and local transfers, plus all permits and entry fees

Equipment

All of the camping equipment for sleeping on the Acatenango and Tajumulco volcanoes

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 14 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

4.8
| 72 reviews
Off The Beaten Path Adventure
May 2024
Jessica S.
Fun and Challenging!
April 2024
Sadie C.
Fun and Challenging!
April 2024
Sadie C.
Fun and Challenging!
April 2024
Sadie C.
Fun and Challenging!
April 2024
Sadie C.
Fun and Challenging!
April 2024
Sadie C.
Experience beyond compare
April 2024
Katherine P.
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
April 2024
Elizabeth D.
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
April 2024
Elizabeth D.
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
April 2024
Elizabeth D.
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
April 2024
Elizabeth D.
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
April 2024
Elizabeth D.
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
April 2024
Elizabeth D.
Unforgettable experience
April 2024
Jurriën K.
Unforgettable experience
April 2024
Jurriën K.
Unforgettable experience
April 2024
Jurriën K.
Unforgettable experience
April 2024
Jurriën K.
Unforgettable experience
April 2024
Jurriën K.
A brilliant trip: physically and
April 2024
Rachel H.
A brilliant trip: physically and
April 2024
Rachel H.
A brilliant trip: physically and
April 2024
Rachel H.
A brilliant trip: physically and
April 2024
Rachel H.
A brilliant trip: physically and
April 2024
Rachel H.
A brilliant trip: physically and
April 2024
Rachel H.
A brilliant trip: physically and
April 2024
Rachel H.
A brilliant trip: physically and
April 2024
Rachel H.
A brilliant trip: physically and
April 2024
Rachel H.
A brilliant trip: physically and
April 2024
Rachel H.
A fantastic and challenging trip.
March 2024
Richard H.
Highly recommend!
March 2024
Kasey C.

Hike to the epic Acatenango summit (3976m) and witness the incredible eruptions of neighbouring Fuego, Guatemala's most active volcano

Take in the views as you stand on top of Tajumulco volcano (4220m): the highest point of Central America

Toast your volcano trekking exploits with sundowners and celebrations beside the dreamy azure waters of Lake Atitlán

Key Information

Day 1

Explore Antigua

Santa Catalina arch in the historic centre of Antigua, with Agua volcano in the background, Guatemala.

You'll be met at La Aurora International Airport (or in Guatemala City on request) for your transfer to Antigua, Guatemala's ancient capital and the base for the first of your volcano climbs. After settling into your charming central hotel, you'll have free time to wander the town's cobbled streets, marvel at the colourful restored colonial buildings or browse the myriad of street stalls. Enjoy an optional night out with your fellow adventures before getting some rest ahead of your epic adventure starting tomorrow.

Day 2

Hike Pacaya Volcano and Cerro Grande (2561m)

Two hikers descending Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala.

Hiking

4hrs · 11km · 850m up · 850m down

Driving

2hrs

In the morning you'll get straight to the task at hand: volcano trekking! You'll meet the group and drive to the trailhead of Pacaya National Park, lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail for what is an ideal acclimatisation trek. The route weaves first through steep dense forests and green slopes reaching the summit Cerro Grande (2561m), overlooking the imposing cone of Pacaya volcano (2552m). Next you'll descend along the base and black flanks of Pacaya, through ancient lava fields formed by eruptions as recent as 2010. Geothermal hotspots can be found on the cooled lava formations. As a young active volcano, the summit of Pacaya is often closed for safety reasons by the local authorities so reaching the top is not always possible. However trekking this spectacular circuit route and getting close to it will be equally rewarding. You'll head back to Antigua for the evening: grab a beer and some classic Central American food from Antigua's many street stalls, bars, restaurants and cafes, then rest up for your epic Acatenango climb tomorrow.

Day 3

Acatenango Volcano climb and overnight camp (3575m)

View of Fuego volcano eruption from Acatenango basecamp, Guatemala.

Hiking

5hrs · 7km · 1170m up

Grab a big breakfast in Antigua before driving for an hour to the trailhead at La Soledad. Prepare for a challenging climb up the imposing Acatenango slopes, but the reward at the top will be more than worth the effort! Set off through farmland and small villages, before ascending steeply into a beautiful cloud forest. This is an area of high biodiversity, home to the famous Quetzal bird. You'll soon be greeted with sweeping views of the highlands and neighbouring volcanoes:, the perfect time for a picnic on the volcano slopes. Continue up through temperate forest until you'll reach your private camp spot at 3750m above sea level. You’ll then enjoy dinner around the campfire and hopefully the show of a lifetime, the continuously erupting Fuego Volcano (just 4km away) belching fumes and lava into the night sky.

Day 4

Summit Acatenango Volcano (3976m) at sunrise

Female hiker at the summit of Acatenango volcano pointing towards the erupting Fuego volcano, Guatemala.

Hiking

4-5 hours · 8km · 400m up · 1550m down

Driving

3.5hrs

You'll rise early before sunrise to complete the hour-long hike to the top of Acatenango at 3976m. The final stretch to the summit along scree and sand becomes steeper and loose underfoot but once at the top your efforts will be quickly repaid by sweeping 360-degree views of the entire Guatemalan highlands, all the way to the border of Mexico. Next, you’ll descend through several different micro-climates as you lose altitude. Back at the trailhead, you'll jump in the van and head towards Guatemala's second largest city, Quetzaltenango - also known by its Mayan name, Xela. Check into your hotel and enjoy a free evening in this lively city.

Day 5

Hike Chicabal Volcano (2845m) and relax in natural hot springs

Chicabal Volcano Sacred Crater Lake, Guatemala.

Hiking

2-3hrs · 7km · 400m up · 400m down

Driving

3.5hrs

Next up is your third volcano, Chicabal. There is a one hour drive to reach Laguna Seca where the hike begins. Today's summit is an easier hike taking you up to a sacred site in the Guatemalan highlands, to a mystical lagoon that sits within the crater of Chicabal volcano. The site represents the centre of the cosmos for the Mam Maya, and traditional ceremonies sometimes take place at the lake. After descending from the volcano there is a short journey to Fuentes Georginas to bathe in the natural hot springs before returning to Xela for the evening.

Day 6

Summit Tajumulco Volcano - Central America's Highest Point (4220m)

Sunset at the summit of Acatenango, Guatemala.

Hiking

5-6hrs · 12km · 1219m up · 255m down

Driving

3hrs

Another early start and a three-hour drive to San Sebastian, close to the Mexican border, sets the base for your climb up Tajumulco, Guatemala's highest volcano and the highest point in Central America. Today is a long day with around five hours of hiking. There are beautiful forest trails and pine-studded ridges on the way to your campsite for the night. You'll put your head down to sleep at approximately 3965m above sea level - but not just yet. From the camp, the volcano summit is a steep 30-minute climb, topping out at 4220m. You're officially on top of Central America! Another awesome night of wild volcano camping awaits on the short descent back to camp.

Day 7

Descend Tajumulco and drive to Lake Atitlan

Boat ride along Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

Hiking

1 hour · 2.5km · 436m down

Driving

4.5hrs

Wake up on the volcano and make your descent down Tajumulco. You have a long drive to recover on, with a lunch stop en route, through the Guatemalan highlands to spectacular Lake Atitlán. You'll take a boat across the lake from Panajachel to your lakeside eco-hotel in the small but lively town of San Pedro. The rest of the evening is free to relax and enjoy this special place. Head into town or just lie in a hammock and bask in the views of water and fire - lake and volcanoes all around you.

Day 8

Hike up San Pedro Volcano (2988m)

Group hiking up through forest at San Pedro Volcano, Guatemala.

Hiking

5hrs · 9km · 1230m up · 1230m down

You may have been relaxing, but this adventure isn't over yet! Today is your fifth and final volcano: Volcán San Pedro. After breakfast beside the lake, you'll take a short transfer to the trailhead. Experience your final epic hike through a cloud forest, with sweeping highland vistas and spectacular views back down towards Lake Atitlán. At approximately 3000m, San Pedro volcano is no baby, but it's a fitting place to end your volcano hiking adventure. Back in San Pedro, maybe head out with your fellow adventurers and guides for a night of celebration!

Day 9

Unwind at Lake Atitlan and head back to Antigua

Lake Atitlan with beautiful sunset colours and the silhouette of volcanoes in the background, Guatemala.

Driving

2.5hrs

Congratulations, you've summited five volcanoes in a week! You've certainly earned a rest this morning, so the lake and eco-hotel are yours to soak up as you wish. There are kayaks available, or you can choose to visit the neighbouring village of San Juan, the perfect place to shop for traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. Early afternoon you'll head back to Antigua for a final evening, celebrating your adventure with your group.

Day 10

Goodbye Guatemala!

Group of hikers watching sunset at the summit of Acatenango, Guatemala.

Enjoy breakfast in Antigua and any spare time you may have before your host takes you back to the airport in Guatemala City for your departure flight.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4 – Day 5

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Traditional Guatemalan breakfast of eggs, black beans, & fried plantain with tortillas wrapped in basket on handwoven Maya textile.

Traditional Guatemalan food is based on Maya cuisine with Spanish influences. Classic meals usually include corn, beans, chillies, rice, pork, beef, chicken, cheese and tortillas as staple ingredients. Delicious picnic lunches are provided on hiking days. Your host has deliberately not included the evening meals in Antigua, Xela and Atitlan in your trip as it's great fun to explore the food options in each place. Antigua in particular is a food lover's dream, the street food scene here is worth investing some time and Quetzals in. Camp dinners on Acatenango and Tajumulco are real highlights of the trip. Your guide will prep Guatemalan food on the slopes while you take in the views of the neighbouring, and often erupting, volcanic peaks.

Vegetarians, vegans and most other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please make requests known in advance on your passenger info form. Bear in mind that vegetarian and vegan options in Central America can be limited, meaning less variety of ingredients.

What is the accommodation like?

Casa Antigua, Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua Hotel

In Antigua your base will be at Casa Antigua (or similar), set in a historical building with lush green courtyards and just a 2-minute walk away from Antigua's central park. Guests can also use the swimming pool and sauna at the hotel's sister property nearby for a small extra fee. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with an en-suite bathroom.

Room at Hotel Modelo, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Quetzaltenango Hotel

In Quetzaltenango you'll usually stay in Hotel Modelo (or Casa Morales), a charming, historic 3-star hotel run by four generations of the same family. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with an en-suite bathroom.

Hotel Sak'cari El Amanecer, San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Lake Atitlan Hotel

At Lake Atitlan you'll stay at Hotel Sak'cari El Amanecer in San Pedro La Laguna (or similar). This is a hotel right on the waterfront, run on renewable energy and with an amazing pool with views of the lake and volcanoes. It's the perfect spot to wind down after all the volcano action. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with private bathroom.

Basecamp at Acatenango volcano, Guatemala.
Volcano Camping

You'll also camp on volcanoes Acatenango and Tajumulco. All of your camping gear is provided: tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag. Be advised that night time on the volcanoes can be very cold, so do bring warm layers with you. There will be campfires to keep you toasty at dinner time, while stargazing and watching Fuego volcano do its thing.

Upgrades

All hotel rooms and tents on the trip are based on twin sharing. So for solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked throughout the trip (subject to availability). See Optional Extras for prices.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City (GUA)

Arrive any time on Day 1

Ends

La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City (GUA)

Depart any time on Day 10

Transfers

Transfers between La Aurora International Airport (GUA) and your hotel in Antigua are provided for any flight arriving on Day 1, and departing on Day 10 of the trip. If you wish to arrive earlier or stay on later, your host can arrange private transfers for an additional cost. See Optional Extras for details.

Travel options

There are direct flights to La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City from many destinations in the US, and via Madrid from Europe.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • All of the camping equipment for sleeping on the Acatenango and Tajumulco volcanoes is provided (tents, sleeping mat and sleeping bag)

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Soft duffel bag or rucksack (your main travel luggage that gets moved between hotels for you)
  • Daypack approx. 35l+ (for trekking with, including for the overnight camps where you'll be carrying water, food, personal belongings)
  • Waterproof liner for rucksack or drybags

Clothes

  • Down jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Thermals (merino is best)
  • Warm hat
  • Two buffs or neck scarf
  • Gloves
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals

Other

  • Walking poles (recommended)
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Padlock for left luggage
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Spare camera batteries
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellant
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry out)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle x 1 ltr
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Double/Twin room in Antigua

Payable Before Departure

Double/Twin room in Antigua

Per Night

Single room in Antigua

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Antigua

Per Night

Private Solo Room & Tent Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Private Solo Room & Tent Upgrade

Private transfer between Guatemala City and Antigua (each way, per vehicle for 1-3 people)

Payable Before Departure

Private transfer between Guatemala City and Antigua (each way, per vehicle for 1-3 people)

Joseph W.(May 2024)
Great experience, highly recommend!

A really great trip made even more special by our Guides Luis and David. The hikes were tough but very rewarding. I wouldn’t recommend for people not used to hiking. We bought some hiking poles the day before setting off which were really helpful. Out of our couple, one of us had boots, one had sturdy trail shoes. The boots were better, but it is doable in good trail shoes/trainers. The volcanoes are stunning. Pleased we got to travel around Guatemala and different parts of the country. I’d recommend adding a day or two extra in Antigua before or after, as it’s a really cool city. The local tour company were brilliant (old town outfitters). I would advise against this trip if you’re really scared of dogs, there’s lots of strays everywhere, pretty harmless and nobody got attacked, but just to note there’s a lot just hanging around! The least impressive part was probably the thermal baths, it seemed a long drive for an average experience, we’d have maybe preferred just a few hours to explore Xela city. I think a head torch was on the “recommended” part of the kit list but it is 100% essential! The hotels were all nice and were comfortable, and the sleeping bags were warm for the two camping nights. You should expect to tip the local porters at each volcano and then the main local guides who are with you all week, so factor this into the total cost of the trip (they did a great job so was thoroughly deserved!). A couple of people in our group suffered mild to moderate altitude sickness on the 2 highest volcanoes, if you think you’re at risk of this definitely get some Diamox tablets, and drink electrolytes to ensure you’re fully hydrated. The symptoms improved rapidly as soon as we descended. If possible, arrive in Antigua a couple of days early to acclimatise and explore!

Jessica S.(May 2024)
Off The Beaten Path Adventure
Off The Beaten Path Adventure

This was quite the epic and memorable adventure with sights and natural phenomena unlike anywhere in the world. The beauty of Guatemala was unsurpassed, silent — due to the off the beaten path nature of it — and powerful — because VOLCANOES. Fuego was a sight to behold and one that should not be overlooked.

The hikes were challenging, the terrain so new and exciting to experience! I did all hikes in trailer runners and low gaiters. If you normally hike in trail runners, then you will be fine. My gaiters ended up being my most invaluable gear; they were helpful in keeping out the scree of my shoes during the exhilarating slides down the face of the volcano! In addition, I didn’t bring poles originally and was eternally grateful to the local guide company for providing my friend and I one each. They ended up being so helpful as well!

The group was a fine team and such great company. Guides Diego and Vini were the dream team. They each had such an infectious, positive energy that radiated throughout the group. Most importantly though, they ensured our safety when it came to AMS; they stressed the signs and symptoms constantly and made sure the group speed was ideal for optimal acclimatization. I also felt secure especially on San Pedro when two police officers joined our crew to keep the banditos away.

This was my first time in Central America and it was a great first venture into the region. And I can say with confidence that it will not be my last!

Sadie C.(April 2024)
Fun and Challenging!
Fun and Challenging!
Fun and Challenging!
Fun and Challenging!
Fun and Challenging!
Fun and Challenging!

This was such an incredible trip! Guatemala is amazing and getting to see several parts of the country was great. The volcanoes were absolutely stunning. The hiking was difficult but doable and the guides were great about accommodating the different speeds of our group. I definitely recommend preparing for the altitude as much as possible and/or take medication. We had a great group and the guides (Vini and Diego) were phenomenal! Overall highly recommend this trip, definitely one of the coolest trips I’ve taken.

Michelle E.(April 2024)
Great adventure and highly recommended!

Everything was great! From guides to logistics to team. Top 10 travel experience because of Acate and Fuego. The guides, Diego and Vini were very vocal about AMS sickness and always concerned about you. You always felt like you were in good hands. Local tips and insights were especially helpful.

Katherine P.(April 2024)
Experience beyond compare
Experience beyond compare

We had a brilliant experience on the 5 volcano’s trip in Guatemala. The hikes were challenging but manageable for the whole group and very rewarding! The landscapes were beautiful and the experience was elevated by the energy of our guides Joel, Vini and Rudy. Their infectious energy, enthusiasm and support kept us motivated and their adaptability ensured we got the best experience possible. Couldn’t have asked for a better adventure or a better group of people to share it with.

Antonina B.(April 2024)
Fantastic trip!

Absolutely fantastic challenge! As mentioned by others, the adventure is indeed challenging but very rewarding. I can't recommend it enough!

We were lucky to have a fabulous local crew from Old Town outfitters and incredible group of hikers! The views you'd see on this trip are to remember for life!

As a famous slogan says JUST DO IT!

P.S. Huge thanks to Joel and David for keeping us safe, motivated and entertained, to Viny for keeping us well fed, to Henry for delivering us safe and sound to all destinations! <3

Elizabeth D.(April 2024)
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience
Seeing a live volcano... a lifetime experience

An outstanding all round trip. Seeing a live volcano (Fuego) was a lifetime experience. The organisation and tempo of the trip was outstanding. The hikes were well paced, and the views stunning. I loved the 2 overnight camps/sunrises which adds to the adventure. The guides and wider support team were very helpful, professional, fun and engaging which added to great dynamics. We also had a great group; which I expect is typical of the sort of people who travel with MBA. I strongly recommend you take walking poles. Also very good value for the amount we achieved in such a short space of time. Ensure chose the right time of year; when not too hot, but when the rainy season has passed so likely to have clear views.

Jurriën K.(April 2024)