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How Difficult is Acatenango?


Exploring the Acatenango Hike Difficulty

If you’re considering the Acatenango volcano hike, you’re probably wondering how difficult the trek is. Tropicana is one of the most popular tour providers for this adventure. We run tours of the volcano on a daily basis.

This week, I decided to take a walk with my dogs and my business partner to go check out camp and see if we could get some cool photos of Volcan Fuego doing its thing. This was my 18th time climbing Acatenango, and when people ask how hard it is, I usually just tell them that it’s a tough hike! The first hour is always the hardest. This time, however, I decided to actually track some metrics to be able to give all you keen hikers out there some stats.


acatenango hike difficulty

Acatenango feeling pretty tough here.

We set off on a Monday morning from Antigua at 7 am to drive to the town of La Soledad at the bottom of Acatenango to start or hike. At 8:15 am roughly we had started our hike. We had decided to hike to the Tropicana Campsite to have lunch, get some photos, check out our cabins and gear, and then come down again. The Tropicana Campsite is roughly 300 meters below the crater of Acatenango and has spectacular views of Volcan Fuego. It serves as the base camp for this hike.

The Ascent

The ascent took us four hours, which is a fairly relaxed pace to reach the campsite. The fastest I’ve ever personally got to camp was about 2 hrs 20 mins. I was with some crazy fit people however and I usually prefer to take it a lot slower. I brought my two adopted street dogs along for the trek, one is about 8 and the other may be 6 years old. Another stray decided to follow us from the bottom.

acatenango hike difficulty

Walking the dogs

The first hour is always the hardest part of the hike. We have to hike up the volcano in a straight line through some farmland which makes the walk very steep. After we get to the “garita’ or official entrance to the National Park of Acatenango, the hike gets a little easier. Not much easier, but a little, as the trail now takes a zig-zag path through the cloud forest.

We walked at a leisurely pace, stopping for a breath of air and some water every 100 meters or so. About halfway up, you will come to a little rest area known as “el Conejo” (the rabbit). I have no idea why it’s called this, but there is a little shop there where you can buy hot chocolate, coffee, cookies snickers bars, etc. We stopped there for some hot chocolate and a Snickers of course. Bring some cash to spend here, you’ll be glad of it.

acatenango hike difficulty

Coming Down here.

Lunch at Camp

Upon arrival at the Tropicana Campsite, we enjoyed lunch whilst hoping for a view of the Fuego volcano and some eruptions. The day was pretty cloudy though so we didn’t see much. The sound of eruptions echoed through the clouds as we ate lunch which is always cool to hear. Because we only hung around camp for about 40 minutes before we decided to head back down, we didn’t give the clouds a chance to clear up.

How hard the hike is is something we get asked every day. This trip was the first time we tracked our hike’s distance, steps, and flights climbed, giving us some numbers to be able to share with anyone who’s curious.

The Stats

Throughout our journey to the campsite and back down to La Soledad, we climbed 265 flights, walked nearly 25,000 steps, and covered just under 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) in total. We spent about 30 – 40 mins at the campsite, taking our time to enjoy the surroundings. The climb took just under 8 hours, with our return to the car around 4 pm.

Hike Stats

The Numbers of the Hike

It’s important to note that reaching the summit of Acatenango requires an additional hour of hiking from the campsite, so plan accordingly if you’re aiming to conquer the peak.

So, how difficult is the Acatenango hike? While the trek is manageable for those with moderate fitness levels, it can be quite challenging due to its steep inclines, altitude, and uneven terrain. It’s essential to be prepared both physically and mentally for this adventure. Our 8-year-old dog struggled on the way down. So that’s a testament to the fact that the hike can be demanding, especially for those who may not be in peak physical condition.


In conclusion, the Acatenango hike is an incredible experience that offers breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment. With proper preparation and realistic expectations, most hikers can successfully complete this trek. Ensure you have comfortable hiking gear, ample water, and snacks to fuel your journey. And most importantly, take your time, enjoy the scenery, and create unforgettable memories on the slopes of Acatenango.

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