So here’s pretty detailed story of how I had an overnight climb to Acatenango volcano in Guatemala. If you’re not into details then just scroll down to see pictures! 🙂
Volcano Acatenango has two peaks and it’s third-highest mountain peak of Central America by elevation 3,976 m. Next to Acatenango there’s world’s most consistently erupting volcano Fuego and if you’re lucky then you can see the eruptions.
Description of my overnight climb to Acatenango:
I got picked up from my hostel around 9.30 am and arrived to La Soledad village around 10.15am. On my way there I borrowed warm jacket from the tour operators office (Q25=$3.4) and warm hat (Q10=$1.4), gloves (Q10) and walking stick (Q5=$0.7) from La Soledad village. They also sell some food and drinks there.
We got our lunch boxes and started our hike to volcano Acatenango around 10.30 am. First part was pretty steep and therefore we had our first break already after 30 minutes. Once again you can buy food and drinks from there.
After that we continued walking up the hill, it was still a bit steep and the road went sic-sac. On this part weather got much colder. We had few small breaks on our way and we arrived to the lunch spot around 12.45pm.
After lunch in took around half an hour and then we arrived to the part where they told us it’s gonna get more flat and it actually did although it still had few steeper parts. Views were really amazing.
We arrived to the base camp of Acatenango around 3.20pm and last 10 minutes were pretty steep. There are around 10 camping places – our place had few tents, shelter with a fire place, a toilet and of course amazing views to Agua and Fuego volcanoes.
In the evening we didn’t do much.. watched beautiful sunset, made some pictures and then we started waiting for Fuego’s fireshow. After sunset it got super cold! So we were all next to the fire and tried to get warm somehow. Around 7.30-8pm we saw few volcano eruptions (Fuego) – these were pretty cool but still quite small. Around 8.30pm we all gave up and went to sleep. Four of us (me+3 germans) slept in the same tent even though we had space to have private tent but it was just warmer all together. It was still pretty hard to sleep because it was so extremely cold, my feet were freezing and I was really dreaming about warm socks and an extra blanket.
Our guide woke us up at 4.30am and we started our last part of the hike around 5am. It was super cold, dark and it was also pretty steep! Plus we were walking on volcano ash so we were sliding back all the time. For me it wasn’t very hard but for some of us it was definitely a challenge. But the views around us were amazing! You could see stars, citylights (Guatemala city, Antigua and other smaller cities), volcanoes and sunlight slowly coming from the distance.
We arrived top of Acatenango around 6am for the sunrise. It was amazing! The views were out of this world! I felt a bit like I was on a moon because of the landscape up there.
The hardest part of the whole hike was probably being up there and fighting with the cold because it was seriously freezing! I couldn’t even take off my gloves and make pictures because my fingers were super frozen.
After sunrise we started going down and it was much more fun because on some parts you can slide/ski down and it also got much warmer. When we arrived back to the campsite we had breakfast and then it was time to start our trip down. Going down took only around 2-2.5 hours and wasn’t as hard as I expected. We arrived down around 10am and then we waited a bit until our shuttle came and took us all back to our hostels.
You can find more practical information about the hike from my blogpost where I’m answering to questions like: What to bring? How cold is it top of Acatenango? How much does it cost? etc