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Top Guatemala


Travelers who come to Guatemala for the culture stay for the hiking. With a choice of trekking up active volcanoes, descending into valleys filled with waterfalls and tropical cloud forests, and exploring caves and ancient ruins, who can blame them? The country is brimming with exciting places to discover and a wealth of resources to help you along the way. Whether you are raring to go on a ten-day trip or a casual day-hike, Guatemala has you covered.


Not only does Antigua have an abundance of colonial charm, it also happens to be a fantastic playground for hikers. The town has four volcanoes within 25k meters/15.5 miles, which makes for happy adventure seekers and volcanologists alike. Whether you want to see stunning views, spewing lava, or hikes that will leave you sore, there are plenty of trials to choose from and several tours that will lead the way.

The least challenging of the four assents is Volcán de Agua (3,760 m/12,335 ft) which sits to the south of the city. It has been dormant since the middle of the 16th century so hikers tend to go for the views rather than for hope of seeing any volcanic activity.

More strenuous climbs can be found on Volcán Acatenango and Volcán de Fuego, which join together to create one giant volcanic mass known as La Horqueta. Volcan Acatenang has two peaks, Pico Mayor (3,976 m/13,044 ft) and Yepocapa (3,880 m/12,729 ft) that offer strenuous but rewarding hiking. Although Volcán Acatenango has remained dormant since its eruption in 1972, its neighbor, Volcán de Fuego, is known for consistent, low level activity and has erupted as recently as 2007. During safe conditions, lava seekers would do well to head to Volcan Pacaya, the area's most popular climb. It has erupted 24 times since the 16 century and has kept up an almost constant flow of lava for the past four decades.

The Highlands

Stunning views from Quetzaltenango's volcanoes, leisurely day-hikes around Logo de Atitlan, and winding trails through Mayan ruins are just some of the things that await you in the Guatemalan Highlands. Take a multi-day expedition that retraces the paths of the ancient Mayans along the Mayan Highland Trail or spend a day hiking the lush paths that wind through Santiago Atitlan. There are tours that offer jaunts up volcanoes and into cloud forests where wildlife is abundant and where the views stretch all the way to the coast. Nebaj is generally considered to be a hiker’s paradise. Located in the Cuchamatan Mountains, the region is rich with pristine trails that meander though mountains and past waterfalls and sacred Mayan sites. There are options for all levels of hiking, including multi-day trips.

El Petén

If you want to feel like a real explorer, head to Tikal. No matter the number of tourists, the dense jungle trails have an isolating and exuberating effect. Although the trails are clearly marked, coming across the dramatic ruins that rise about the jungle's canopy feels like a true discovery.

Central and Eastern Guatemala

Hikers and wildlife enthusiasts couldn't ask for more than what they will find in Central and Eastern Guatemala. The Seirra de Las Minas watershed and the Bocas del Polochic Wildlife Refuge comprise 80 percent of the country's biodiversity and is a place where hikers can spot over 300 species of birds, as well as howler monkeys, butterflies and even the occasional jaguar. Further west, the area around Cobán is ripe for exploration. The underworld of Alta Verapaz, made up of deep and winding cave systems, is a great place to start looking for adventure. Above ground, trails will take you to turquoise pools, tranquil waterfalls and into some of the country's most unique landscapes.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Guatemala: Tours,

06 Aug 2010

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