- Challenge yourself to summit Volcán Tajumulco, the highest peak in Central America at 13,845 feet. With the high elevation gain, experience an even greater challenge as you push yourself through higher altitudes. Ascend the volcano on steep, rugged paths that are secluded from civilization.
- Explore charming Antigua and learn about its colonial history, and experience firsthand an indigenous heritage influenced by the powerful and devastating Spanish empire.
- Bask in Lake Atitlan’s natural beauty and rich culture. Local Mayans describe the immense, sparkling Lake Atitlan as the “bellybutton of Mother Earth”. Known for its mystical energies, gorgeous views and charming villages, the lake is truly spectacular.
Day 1: 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.
Day 2: Transfer to Tajmulco
After breakfast, depart the hotel early to commence your journey with a drive along Guatemala’s Pacific Highway, taking in spectacular views of the country’s coastal scenery. Settle into your campsite on the base of the southside of Volcan Tajmulco, near Los Romeros Village. In the afternoon, prepare for your challenge ahead with a warm-up hike through the La Igualidad (“The Equality”) waterfalls, known to be the highest in Guatemala and Central America.
Elevation Gain: 350 m
Trekking time: 2 hours
Distance: 3 miles
Day 3: Tajmulco Ascent
The challenge begins! Wake up early to begin the trek from the southside of the volcano. Throughout the ascent, find solace in the stillness of nature as you part with civilization. Marvel at the beauty around you as the changing landscapes of lush fields, coffee farms and foggy forests. As the windy, single trail narrows, the path will get steeper and more challenging.
Elevation Gain: 1,200 m
Trekking time: 6-7 hours
Distance: 4.5 miles
Day 4: Tajmulco Summit
Hiking through tropical cloud forests as you trek your way up to the peak of the volcano where you will stay overnight. During this portion of the ascent, you will be moving through an area home to Quetzal, the Guatemalan national bird, so keep your eyes peeled along the journey! Celebrate reaching the top tonight with magical views of the stars, fluffy clouds and a horizon of rolling volcanoes surrounding you.
Elevation Gain: 1,500 m
Trekking time: 6 hours
Distance: 3-4 miles
Day 5: Descent to San Sebastian & Transfer to Lake Atitlan
Rise early as the sun rises to view the sun rising up over the volcanoes, rigged landscape and the Pacific Coast as you stand tall on the peak of Volcan Tajmulco. From this northern side of the volcano, you will have incredible views of the Chiapas region (Mexico) and the volcanoes that form the “ring of fire” – the volcanic chain covering Central America.
After pausing to take it all in, begin your descent. Upon reaching the base of the volcano, you will be transferred to Lake Atitlan, just in time for the sunset.
Elevation Gain: 200 m
Elevation Loss: 1,177 m
Trekking time: 4 hours
Distance: 5 miles
Day 6: Explore Lake Atitlan & Transfer to Antigua
Although more than a dozen fascinating towns and villages overlook the majestic Lake Atitlan, Santiago and San Juan La Laguna are must-sees, and today, you will explore both!
In San Juan, explore local markets where you will have the opportunity to visit artisans and weavers making beautiful textiles just as their ancestors did – mixing natural dyes from locally grown plants and flowers, and then using a back-strap loom to create intricate textiles with their naturally colored thread.
Day 7: Antigua
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.
Day 8: Departure
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.