This quick but action-packed 5-day itinerary includes the best adventure highlights of Guatemala's Antigua region. Stroll through the amazingly well-preserved colonial town of Antigua, bike epic downhill runs on local trails, and camp in front of an active volcano. You'll return from this active escape inspired by the rugged beauty of the land and the warmth and welcome of its people.

Highlights

  • Spend time in the charming town of Antigua—a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Hike Acatenango volcano with magical views of Volcán de Fuego's lava eruption
  • Ride some of the best trails of Guatemala, guided by local mountain bike guides

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Antigua Antigua
Day 2 El Zur Mountain Bike Park Antigua
Day 3 Acatenango Volcano Hike & Camp Overnight Acatenango Volcano
Day 4 Sunrise on Acatenango & Transfer to Antigua Antigua
Day 5 Transfer from Antigua to Guatemala City for Your Departure Flight  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Antigua

Antigua’s famous Santa Catalina Arch.
Antigua’s famous Santa Catalina Arch.

Welcome to Guatemala! A representative will be waiting to pick you up at Guatemala City International Airport

From here, you'll head straight to the colonial city of Antigua, which is about an hour away. After checking in and resting, you'll be free to roam about the city at your leisure. 

Once the capital of Guatemala, Antigua is surrounded by volcanoes. The contrast between these imposing mountains and the colorful architecture of the city makes it one of the prettiest places in the country. Walk around the cobblestone streets, treat yourself to local snacks, and see why UNESCO lists the city as a World Heritage Site.

Day 2: El Zur Mountain Bike Park

Bike through lush forests on the El Zur trails.
Bike through lush forests on the El Zur trails.

Over 12 miles (19 km) of flowing, rolling, purpose-built, single-track bliss, this trail is the only of its kind in Guatemala and runs through a beautiful nature reserve on the southern side of Volcán de Agua.

The top of the trail network sits at 8,500 feet (2,590 m), which you will reach by 4x4 shuttle. Once you hit the trailhead, you're sure to have fun coming back down the mountain on this flowy trail. There are plenty of switchbacks, lush forests, and awesome views.

Once you hit the bottom, enjoy a snack and refreshments before catching the shuttle to return to Antigua.

Day 3: Acatenango Volcano Hike & Camp Overnight

Fuego volcanic eruptions seen from the campsite.
Fuego volcanic eruptions seen from the campsite.

This 2-day/1-night hike takes you up the slopes of beautiful Volcán Acatenango to your private campsite—bench-cut into the side of this towering mountain. From here, you'll enjoy camp meals, incredible views, and plenty of room to stretch out. In camp, you'll have ample time to appreciate the sights and sounds of nearby Volcán Fuego’s incredible eruptions.

This morning, meet your group at the Old Town Outfitters Shop at 8:00 AM, where you can fill up water bottles and purchase any additional gear you might need. Be sure to eat breakfast beforehand and pack a small snack for the road. A one-hour drive takes you from Antigua to the sleepy mountain village of La Soledad, perched on the Pacific slope of  Volcán Acatenango. The trail up the volcano has four distinct microclimates, each of which will take you about an hour to traverse. You'll begin by walking up a steep path through local farm fields—the same trail used by villagers each morning to reach their corn, snow pea, and lily crops. Your first hour of hiking will help you acclimatize and warm up the leg muscles for the day’s hike.

The second phase of your ascent passes through an old-growth tropical cloud forest. In this environmental zone, you'll find some of Acatenango’s oldest trees, remarkable biodiversity, fresh mountain air, and the sounds of native birds and wildlife. This type of alpine cloud forest is found on the higher slopes of many of Guatemala’s tallest volcanoes and is home to the famous Quetzal.

After exiting the cloud forest, you're rewarded with fantastic views of the other highland volcanoes (Atitlán, Tolimán, San Pedro, Santa María, Santo Tomás, and Tajamulco), along with glimpses of the Cuchumatanes mountain chain. A fresh picnic is prepared mid-day for your group to enjoy.

Temperate and tropical forests characterize the 3rd part of your ascent, which leads to the storm-beaten tree-line of the volcano. Your campsite is perched just below tree-line with sweeping views of the Antigua valley and Volcán Fuego. After setting up camp, rest, relax, and enjoy your surroundings while your guide prepares a fresh camp dinner at 12,300 feet (3,750 m) with hot tea and coffee.

Hike Stats

  • Est. hiking time: 5-6 hours
  • Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
  • Ascent: 3600 feet (1100 m)
  • High point: 11,480 feet (3,500 m)

Day 4: Sunrise on Acatenango & Transfer to Antigua

Sunrise view over  Volcán de Agua.
Sunrise view over Volcán de Agua.

Pending weather conditions, your group will rise early and embark on a 45 minute/1 hour trek on a sand and gravel trail dotted with dwarf pine trees and alpine mosses. The trail up is the steepest you'll have seen, and leads to the rocky, windy summit of Acatenango’s peak.

At the summit, rest and enjoy unparalleled 360-degree views of the entirety of the Guatemalan highlands—all the way to the border of Mexico. After enjoying breakfast and breaking camp, you'll begin the 2.5 to 3-hour descent back to La Soledad. You have the opportunity to descend through an alternate route down  Volcán Acatenango, experiencing a variety of microclimates and beautiful trail.

From La Soledad, you'll be transported directly back to Antigua, where you'll have the rest of the afternoon free to relax and enjoy the town.

Day 5: Transfer from Antigua to Guatemala City for Your Departure Flight

Depart Antigua and the Guatemalan highlands.
Depart Antigua and the Guatemalan highlands.

Depending on your departure schedule, enjoy breakfast in Antigua, and then transfer back to Guatemala City for your flight.

Map

Map of Antigua & Acatenango Adventure - 5 Days
Map of Antigua & Acatenango Adventure - 5 Days