Volcano Ascents

activities / Hiking & trekking

Volcano Ascents information

Antigua , Guatemala
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All three volcanoes overlooking Antigua are tempting challenges but how close you can get to Fuego depends on recent levels of activity. In many ways the twin-peaked Acatenango, the highest of the three and overlooking Fuego, is the most exhilarating summit. For an active-volcano experience many people take tours to Pacaya (2552m), 25km southeast of Antigua (a 1½-hour drive).

In general the weather and the views on all the volcanoes are better in the morning. In the rainy season (May to October) thunderstorms are possible in the afternoon. Get reliable advice about safety before you climb, for example from the Inguat tourist office, or from your embassy in Guatemala City if need be. Take sensible precautions: wear adequate footwear (volcanic rock can be very rough on shoes), warm clothing (it can be very cold up there) and, in the rainy season, some sort of rain gear. Carry a flashlight (torch) in case the weather changes; it can get as dark as night when it rains on the mountain - though it's better not to go at all if rain is expected. Don't neglect food and water.

In view of the possible dangers not only from volcanic activity and the elements but also from armed robbers preying on tourists on some volcano trails, it's safest to go with a reputable agency. People like Old Town Outfitters, Guatemala Ventures and Ox Expeditions know what's happening on the mountains and will keep you clear of trouble. Trips of varying difficulty are available.

With luck you'll be able to look down into the crater of the active Pacaya volcano. Various companies run bargain-basement, seven-hour Pacaya day-trips. Extra costs include food, drinks and admission to the Pacaya protected area. The installation of park rangers on Pacaya has made this volcano, once notorious for robberies of tourists, much more secure.