Corazon de Agua is a hidden gem on the outskirts of Antigua in Guatemala. Located in the town of Magdalena Milpas Altas in the Guatemalan department of Sacatepéquez, Corazon de Agua is a brilliant short hike. The trail leads you to a tonne of epic Miradors, which provide stellar views of Lake Amatitlan and the volcanoes surrounding Antigua.
The Corazon de Agua trail isn’t a typical thing to do in Antigua. So, you’ll be exploring this beautiful forest (bosque in Spanish) trail with the locals. You’ll feel a great sense of adventure as you explore this lesser known area. We think you should definitely consider this half-day trip during your Antigua Guatemala vacation.
In this guide, we’ll talk about how to hike Corazon de Agua independently, detailing how to get there and the costs involved. We’ll also provide GPS trail directions, a trail description and photos from the incredible viewpoints.
We hope you find this guide useful. For other fantastic Guatemala trails, check out Semuc Champey, Rostro Maya (Indian Nose), Volcan Santa Maria and Volcan Pacaya. Or, check out our comprehensive 17 Best Hikes in Guatemala guide.
Corazon de Agua Guatemala Background
After being abandoned for some time, Corazon de Agua Ecological Park, AKA, Parque Ecológico Corazón de Agua, officially opened in 2005 after some refurbishment. The park is really looked after by the rangers. During our visit, we were impressed by the well-maintained trail.
We actually met two of the rangers around the Miradors at the top of the park. They were super friendly. Sitting at 2,440 meters above sea level, the rangers pointed out the landmarks, mountains and volcanoes in the distance. It’s at the top of the park that you’ll also pay your entrance fee. It’s Q20/person for tourists, Q10/person for locals and camping is Q25.
Flora: At Corazon de Agua, there is a diverse range of plants and trees. At the beginning of the hike, you’ll pass farmland and plantations growing vegetables and fruits. You’ll also pass nice gardens with ornamental plants. As you climb higher, the forest becomes thicker with cypress, pine, oak, and many other species of trees.
Fauna: In terms of wildlife, Beck and I only saw birds, including the lovely quetzalillos. But, in the most remote areas, Corazon de Agua is apparently home to toucans, raccoons, white-tailed deer, coyotes, badgers, leopards, squirrels, wild boars, owls and quail.
Is It Worth The Visit?
We don’t expect Corazon de Agua to be at the top of your hiking to-do list when visiting Antigua in Guatemala. Of course, the overnight Volcan Acatanenago and Fuego trek, as well as the Pacaya Volcano sunset hike, should be at the top of your list. And, rightly so! Hiking both of these volcano trails is an incredible experience. But, given their popularity, these trails are usually very busy with tourists.
Corazon de Agua is a refreshing trail to hike because it’s quiet, tranquil and supremely natural. Plus, the Miradors provide exquisite views above the clouds. You might find this hike on a few ‘top things to do in Antigua’ type blog lists. But otherwise, it feels more like a local’s spot.
So, if you spend one week in Antigua Guatemala, it’s definitely worth the half-day trip. In the same token, if you have just 2 days in Antigua or something like that, you’ll want to prioritise Volcan Acatenango/Fuego and Volcan Pacaya.
Hiking Without a Guide
It’s possible to hike Corazon de Agua independently. Many hikes in Guatemala are either safer, cheaper, more convenient or mandatory to do with a guide. For instance, it’s safer to hike Volcan San Pedro with a guide because there are bandits on the volcano. In addition, it’s mandatory to have a guide to hike Pacaya Volcano. Plus, it works out cheaper and more convenient to hike Pacaya with a tour company.
Thankfully, Corazon de Agua isn’t a tourist hotspot. So, there’s less likely to be troublemakers. We obviously can’t guarantee safety, which is an ever-evolving situation. But, as far we’ve heard, it’s definitely one of the safer trails you can do in Guatemala. Personally, we felt very safe throughout the hike.
Getting to Corazon de Agua is also easy and cheap. There aren’t any tours being offered to visit Corazon del Agua anyway. So, hiking without a guide is really your only option.
Getting To Corazon de Agua From Antigua
Getting to the trailhead for Corazon del Agua is very straightforward. Apparently, twice a day, there is a bus directly from Antigua to Magdalena Milpas Altas, and vice versa. But, unfortunately, there’s no set time or schedule, which means you might be waiting a while at either end.
If you manage to get on a bus, the journey is very cheap (approx. $1USD), but can take an hour or two. Once you arrive in the town of Magdalena Milpas Altas, you’ll still need to walk to the trailhead, which can take another 20–25 minutes.
The most convenient option is to get a taxi, tuk-tuk or an Uber straight to the trailhead. The journey should only take around 25 minutes from Antigua. Beck and I took an Uber from Antigua for Q39 ($5USD). Admittedly, you may have to wait a while for an Uber to pick you up once you’ve finished. We waited around 25 minutes for the return Uber and the ride back to Antigua cost Q41 ($5USD).
Corazon de Agua Trail Preview
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 5.4km
- Time: 1.75 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 338m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Corazon de Agua Ecological Park Entrance
Corazon de Agua Trail
From Magdalena Milpas Altas, a road that becomes dustier and narrower leads all the way to the car park and initial entrance sign for Corazon de Agua Ecological Park. Once you pass the sign, the dusty flat trail leads you deeper into the forest. The trail gently veers side to side as you pass plantations.
As you delve deeper into the forest, the trail steepens. There are blue arrows painted on trees to keep you on track. Although, to be honest, the track is very straightforward to follow, so you won’t really need them for navigation.
After hiking Volcan Acatenango/Fuego and Volcan Pacaya, we thought the Corazon de Agua trail would be super easy. But, to our surprise, we were huffing and puffing most of the way up as we attempted some speed hiking.
What’s speed hiking? It’s a great way to get in a workout as you explore a trail. But, it can be tough to speed hike up hills and at altitudes!
We’re not quite sure why there were so many welcome signs during our ascent. But, at least, we felt very welcomed! Although the trail was quiet, expect to see families and locals around, especially on the weekend. We headed up around mid-morning and were met by many returning campers making the journey back down.
Corazon de Agua Miradors
After around 45–60 minutes, you should reach the peak of Corazon de Agua. This is where you’ll find a widespread campsite and many Miradors. We lost count but there were at least five wooden viewing platforms to enjoy. Each provides a slightly different perspective and lookout of Lake Amatitlan and the volcanoes surrounding Antigua.
Enjoy some Mirador hopping as you admire the views across the peak of Corazon de Agua. Our favourite was the one furthest to the left. From here, you have the least amount of obstructions from the surrounding forest. Personally, we didn’t have the best weather. So, our views weren’t as good as usual. But, with good weather, expect superb views of Volcan Agua, Volcan Acatenango and Fuego.
Make sure you have a go on the swing before making the return journey. Beck couldn’t resist!
After a few snacks, we bid farewell to the kind rangers and soaked in the last of the breathtaking views. We then made our way back down the trail towards the outskirts of Magdalena Milpas Altas.
Sure, Corazon de Agua doesn’t compare with other hikes in Antigua like Volcan Acatenango, Fuego or Pacaya. But, those trails are super crowded with tourists and locals. At least, during the Corazon de Agua trail, you’ll be hiking a very quiet trail, with a few locals. Better yet, the Miradors at the summit provide better than expected views. So, hiking Corazon de Agua should be on your hiking to-do list if you find the time whilst travelling Antigua in Guatemala.
Five Hiking Esentials For Corazon de Agua
Why do you need this?
See it in action
These hiking boots did a great job at keeping my feet comfortable during the Corazon de Agua trail
This camera is super lightweight and compact, so it's perfect for hiking in Guatemala. The Sony Cybershot RX100 VII takes high-quality photos and 4K videos
Even hiking during the dry season, we needed a fleece jacket at the peak
The Corazon de Agua hike is quite dusty. We recommend wearing a neck gaiter to prevent dust getting into your airways
You should always pack a waterproof jacket when hiking in Guatemala
Make sure to also pack 1.5L of water, sunscreen, a hat and a waterproof jacket in the rainy season.
For a more comprehensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Otherwise, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
- Hike during the dry season: for improved weather and views from the Miradors, make sure to do this trail from November to May.
- Use trekking poles: this will make the hike up much easier on your knees.
- Hike during the week: even though we didn’t find the trail crowded on the weekend, you’ll find the trail even quieter during the week!
Have you hiked Corazon de Agua in Antigua Guatemala? Let us know in the comments below!
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