This action-packed tour combines outdoor sports with the beauty of Guatemala, starting in the historic colonial city of Antigua. Trade cobbled streets for mountain bike tracks and enjoy an exhilarating day of downhill biking on the slopes of Acatenango Volcano, then summit the top of Pacaya Volcano and traverse its lava fields. End your trip kayaking the shores of Lake Atitlán and hiking through its traditional Mayan craft villages.

Highlights

  • Explore the colonial streets of the old capital, Antigua
  • Conquer the summit of Pacaya Volcano and traverse its lava fields
  • Kayak along the shores of Lake Atitlán
  • Go mountain biking down the slopes of Acatenango Volcano
  • Explore the Mayan craft villages along Lake Atitlán

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Antigua - Explore the city Antigua
Day 2 Race down the slopes of Acatenango Volcano on a mountain bike Antigua
Day 3 Conquer the summit of Pacaya Volcano Antigua
Day 4 Day trip to Lake Atitlán for kayaking and hiking Antigua
Day 5 Transfer from Antigua to Guatemala City for Your Departure Flight  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Antigua - Explore the city

San José Cathedral
San José Cathedral, Antigua

Welcome to Guatemala! Upon arrival at the Guatemala City International Airport, you'll transfer to the colonial city of Antigua. After settling into your accommodation, you'll have free time to explore the city at your leisure. 

Once the capital of Guatemala, Antigua is filled with a colorful Old Town surrounding its central plaza, Central Park. The city is also surrounded by several volcanoes. The contrast between these imposing mountains and the colorful architecture of the city makes it one of the prettiest places in the country.

Enjoy the rest of your day walking around the cobblestone streets, treating yourself to local snacks at cafes and food vendors. Visit the 16th-century Antigua Guatemala Cathedral and the remains of the 18th-century Convento Santa Clara. Other interesting sites include the City Hall Palace, the Palace of the Captain’s General, and the Paseo de los Museos.

Day 2: Race down the slopes of Acatenango Volcano on a mountain bike

Acatenango Volcano, Guatemala
Acatenango Volcano, Guatemala

Today's adventure begins at a local bike shop where you'll receive all your gear and get acquainted with your mountain bike. You'll then transfer up to the alpine slopes Volcán Acatenango to the trailhead at 8,300 feet (2,600 m). After a brief climb, you'll begin a single-track descent that follows agricultural trails, riding along a ridge with views of the surrounding volcanoes. The trail drops 2,500 feet (760 m) downhill for an exhilarating ride. The soft volcanic soil is fast and flowy with little rocks; however, there are some steep technical sections and creek crossings.

At the base, you'll begin your second climb up a 4x4 road through agricultural fields. You'll pass the San Andres Ruins, an earthquake-wrecked church from the 16th century. The climb follows a moderate grade until the final 650 feet (200 m), which requires a steep push through a dense forest. At the top, you'll enjoy expansive views of three surrounding volcanoes and the Antigua Valley

This final descent of 2,500 feet (760 m) takes about 45 minutes to complete and is packed with rocks, drops, switchbacks, and a half-pipe aqueduct trail. This ride is designed for downhill enthusiasts who enjoy the rush of adrenaline.

In the late afternoon, you'll return to Antigua with time rest and freshen up before heading out into the city for dinner. 

Day 3: Conquer the summit of Pacaya Volcano

Landscape Near Pacaya Volcano
Landscape Near Pacaya Volcano

Views of Antigua often include the city's dramatic backdrop of the 8,370-ft ( 2,552-m) mountain, Volcán Pacaya. It may not be Guatemala’s highest peak, but its slopes are home to some of the most impressive volcanic landscapes in Central America. Set in its own national park, Pacaya is a fascinating volcano with its continuous plume of smoke drifting from its summit, plus a massive dried lava field at the base of its caldera.

As your group moves up the mountain trails, impressive vistas will open up before you. Upon reaching the base of the caldera, your guide will direct the group through the rugged dried lava fields, recently reformed by a massive eruption in 2010. No matter the conditions you encounter on the route, you'll traverse unique volcanic-rock landscapes as you ascend towards the peak. At the summit, you'll stop for a freshly-prepared picnic to enjoy along with views of nearby volcanoes Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango

The hike down brings you across the remaining dried lava fields before beginning the descent through Pacaya’s dense, lesser-known forests and farmland. Upon returning to the trailhead, you'll arrive back in Antigua by the late afternoon.

Hike Details:

  • Est. hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 3.8 miles (6 km)
  • Ascent: 1,300 feet (400 m)
  • High point: 7,500 feet (2,288 m)

Day 4: Day trip to Lake Atitlán for kayaking and hiking

Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

An early morning start takes you to the shores of Lake Atitlán, a beautiful setting lined with traditional Mayan villages. Both of today's kayaking and hiking activities are moderate in difficulty and follow a relaxed schedule, so you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the views and tranquil vibe of the lake. 

After approximately two hours of driving up through the Guatemalan highlands, you'll reach the town of Panajachel. A quick boat taxi along the shore takes you to the village of Jaibalito. Here you'll have time to prepare for today's kayaking and hiking excursion.

You'll start with 1.5-2 hours of paddling along the north shore, passing tiny villages perched on the sides of the lake's sheer ridges. Depending on the weather, you can opt for a swim in the lake and/or to cliff jump. Close to the village of Tzununá, you'll trade your kayak for your daypack and start the hiking portion of the trip.

Climbing out of the town along the Lake Trail, which connects the villages, you're treated to spectacular vistas of the volcanoes San Pedro, Tolimán, and Atitlán. You’ll follow the shoreline for approximately 1.5 hours, circling back to Jaibalito. After a hearty and well-earned lunch at hotel Casa Del Mundo, you'll return to Panajachel in a boat taxi where you'll meet your driver and head back to Antigua.

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

Central Plaza, Antigua
Central Plaza, Antigua

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