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Volcano Climbing - Hiking Quetzaltenango - Guatemala

There are many volcanoes to climb from Xela and the variety will please hikers at all levels. Volcano Tajumulco (4220m) is the highest point in Central America and is a challenging two day-trip from Xela. On the first day, you’ll travel by bus to the starting point Huitan and walk about 5 hours to get to the camping area at 4200 meters. After a night in the cold mountains, you’ll woke at 4 a.m. to get to the summit and watch an amazing sunrise. You can see the volcanoes of Santa Maria, of Lake Atitlan and even Tacana at the Mexican border. Bring some warm clothes.

With an early start, Volcano Santa Maria (3772 m) can be done in a day trip from Xela. Starting at the village Llanos del Pinal ($6 in taxi), it takes about four hours to get to the summit. It’s advised to be in a good physical condition and to start early. The view at the top is beautiful with Xela on the east side, the volcanoes of the Lake Atitlan on the south side, the active volcano Santiaguito and its eruptions on the west side and Tajumulco on the north side. The total trip will take about eight hours.

La Laguna de Chicabal (2712 m) can be done in half a day, leaving Xela early. A beautiful lake is nestled in the crater. The volcano and the lagoon are considered, since the Mayan Commission, one of the most important sacred sites with ceremonies. The Mayan Mam spirituality is captured in the natural mountainous landscape, the lagoon and the environs. Chicabal is one of the last cloudy woods of this region of Guatemala, with its own flora and fauna. To get there, take a bus ($0.75) two blocks north of Benito Juarez, at the intersection of 15 Avenida and 6 Calle Zona 3. Look for the bus to Chile Verde (30 minutes drive). Buses start running at 7 a.m. Tell the ayudante you want to go to Chicabal. From the village, it’s a good one hour steep hike to the park. Entrance fees: $2. Then it’s another 30 minutes hike to get to the view point from which you can see the lake, Santa Maria and Santiaguito if it’s not misty. Be sure to arrive early as it’s usually misty after 10 a.m. You can then climb down the 615 stairs to walk around the lake. Because the lake is sacred, swimming is not permitted.

For your safety, it is not recommended to go on your own to do the hikes around Xela. Tour operators offer trips to the different volcanoes.

Quetzaltenango , Guatemala

Hiking Types:
National park, Hike, Day trip, Camping, adventure, Lookout point

Relative price: Budget

Travel Skills: None

Here are other activities in and around Quetzaltenango that may be of interest: Santa Maria,

By Claire Bourgin
I have traveled around the world since I'm a kid. Traveling is now part of my everyday life in Guatemala. I have been living in Quetzaltenango for 3...
29 Aug 2009

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