Arrival in Antigua
Welcome to Guatemala! Your guide will pick you up at the airport in Guatemala City and transfer you to your hotel in Antigua. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, this city of 35,000 people sits in a valley between coffee farms, indigenous villages, and three imposing volcanoes, including your goal, Volcán Tajumulco. Meet your guide and teammates at a welcome dinner in a local restaurant and find out more about the challenge ahead.
Warm-up Trek in the Alaska Region
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the picturesque Alaska region in the northern highlands, near Quetzaltenango. Enjoy a warm-up half-day hike through this spectacular region of patchwork vegetable fields, indigenous villages, and the Alaska mountain range. We will spend the night here in tents.
Camp near Paraxquim
Volcán Tajumulco Trek
The challenge begins! We’ll get an early start and drive to San Marcos, the small village closest to Volcán Tajumulco. After breakfast in a local restaurant, we begin our ascent. The trek will be challenging, but you’ll be rewarded with a rest and a hearty meal cooked by your guides at base camp, about 200 meters below the summit. View the sunset from Tajumulco’s second peak, Cerro Concepcion, at 13,450 feet. Retire early before the push to the main summit tomorrow.
Camp at Tajumulco
Your guides will wake you very early for the last leg of the hike. Enjoy snacks and hot drinks at the summit of Volcán Tajumulco, 13,845 feet above the sea, as the sun rises before you.
After you’ve soaked in all the views, return to camp to celebrate your victory over breakfast. Descend the mountain and transfer to the Lake Atitlan area, where you can relax and enjoy a comfy overnight at a local hotel.
Cerro de Oro & Santiago
After breakfast, cross the lake by boat to the small village of Santiago and hike a short distance up Cerro de Oro, the Hill of Gold. At the summit, we will find impressive views of the entire lake region, and on the way down we pass a Mayan altar that is still in use today. Have a pleasant lunch in town and tour the city by foot, stopping at the vegetable market, the main square and church, and the famous statue of San Simón. You will have the option to return to El Convento in Antigua or stay overnight in Santiago.
Exploration in Antigua Area
Today you will have the choice of three private tours in the region!
Option 1: Pacaya Volcano Hike & Picnic
Can’t get enough of the Guatemalan vistas? Hike to the crater of smoking Pacaya Volcano at 8,371 feet. A steep climb will deliver panoramic views of the northern volcanoes, the Pacific lowlands, and all the way to El Salvador, as well as a possible glimpse at the magma inside the mountain. Enjoy a sumptuous picnic lunch at the summit.
Option 2: Antigua Streets & Eats Tour
Get a taste of authentic Antigua cuisine while learning about the city’s fascinating colonial history. If you’re an adventurous eater, you’ll love sampling the market’s delicacies, including chuchitos (Guatemalan-style tamales), pupusas (cheese-filled corn tortillas), rellenitos (plantain dough filled with beans), and even pigs’ feet, if you dare! On the way, pass through charming cobblestone streets lined with brightly painted Spanish colonial architecture and visit the cathedral and La Merced monastery.
Option 3: Antigua Walking Tour
Completely immerse yourself in Antigua’s cultural, architectural, and social history with a behind-the-scenes look at some of Antigua’s ornately decorated churches, colonial-era ruins, and the tomb of the first Guatemalan saint. With just a word to your guide, this flexible tour can be tailored to your individual interests. At the end of the tour, the guide will accompany you back to your hotel or take you to a place of your choosing for further exploration.
Enjoy a final breakfast with your group before transferring to the airport for your flight home. You also have the option to explore this vivid country in more depth with a customized extension trip in the region.