There are many epic hikes in Guatemala that we’ll cover in this travel guide. When it comes to travelling around Central America, hiking in Guatemala is an awesome adventure travel experience. Many of the best hikes in Guatemala involve climbing active volcanoes, which is just mindblowing. The best Guatemala volcano hikes are based in Antigua, Xela and Lake Atitlan. High on your Guatemala trekking list should be Antigua volcano hikes, including Acatenango Volcano and Pacaya Volcano. And, don’t forget the other amazing volcano hikes in Guatemala based near Xela and Lake Atitlan, such as the Tajumulco, Santa Maria and San Pedro volcanoes.

In this guide, we’ll cover 17 of the best hikes in Guatemala. Beck and I personally hiked the majority of these trails. So, we can provide links in each section for a more detailed guide about that specific hike.

We’ll also cover how to get to and around Guatemala and where to stay. Plus, we’ll discuss what hikes you can do independently vs. with a tour group and the best tour companies to hike with. Whilst we’re at it, we’ll talk about what to pack and the best time of year to hike in Guatemala.

We hope you find this best hikes guide useful. For similar guides in Central America, check our best hike guides for El Salvador and Nicaragua (coming soon).

Antigua Volcano Hikes

Hiking in Antigua Guatemala should be at the top of your hiking to-do list. There are four volcanoes surrounding Antigua that are possible to hike. These include Volcan Acatenango, Fuego, Pacaya and de Agua. Although these hikes are easier to do from Antigua, Guatemala City isn’t too far from these volcanoes either. So, whether you’re based in Antigua or Guatemala City, you should definitely do these Antigua volcano hikes.

Well then, which is the best Antigua Guatemala volcano hike? Hands down, it has to be Volcan Acatenango and Fuego!

Views of Volcan Fuego during a sunrise from the summit of Volcan Acatenango – a superb Antigua volcano hike
Views of Volcan Fuego during a sunrise from the summit of Volcan Acatenango

1. Volcan Acatenango and Volcan Fuego

  • Type: Overnight hike with 4 stages, i.e. 4 distinct hikes (2 hikes per day)
  • Distance: 19.1km
  • Time: 12.5–18 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 2,310m
  • Accumulated elevation loss: 1,300m
  • Difficulty: Hard

Travel Made Me Do It have personally rated each trail in this guide

The Acatenango hike is definitely the best Guatemala trekking experience. Although it’s possible to do Volcan Acatenango as a day hike, we highly recommend the overnight option. Initially, this involves hiking to your base camp on Volcan Acatenango. Next, you’ll hike to the active Volcan Fuego for sunset and watch it erupt once it’s dark! Then, you’ll summit Volcan Acatenango for sunrise the next morning.

Watching Volcan Fuego from its base and even from your base camp in the dead of the night is unforgettable. Even when you’re watching sunrise from the summit of Acatenango, you’ll still get to watch Volcano Fuego erupt in the background. When it comes to the best Antigua volcano hikes, you have no choice but to do this one!

Read more: Volcan Acatenango Hike Including Volcan Fuego – BEST NEW LOCAL HIKING TOUR

Dan sits and watches Volcan Fuego erupt during the Acatenango hike in Guatemala, which is one of the best Antigua volcano hikes
Watching Volcan Fuego erupt duing the Acatenango hike

2. Volcan Pacaya

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 5.5km
  • Time: 2.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 2,310m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: La Corona

Volcan Pacaya is another active volcano in Guatemala. This volcano has been consistently active since the 1960s. So, there’s been ongoing waves of volcanic activity and eruptions since then. Recently, in 2020 and 2021, Volcan Pacaya experienced awe-inspiring lava flows cascading over its sides. Personally, Beck and I visited in early 2022 when the lava flow had settled down. But, we still think Volcan Pacaya is an outstanding Antigua volcano hike.

Because of the recent volcanic activity and lava flow, there are immense solidified lava fields. Due to the heat emitted from the volcanic rocks, it’s even possible to toast marshmallows! Volcan Pacaya can be visited as part of a sunrise, early morning, sunset or overnight hike.

When there are eruptions and lava flow, we recommend going for a sunrise or overnight trip. If the volcanic activity has settled, you should visit for sunset for the best experience.

Read more: Pacaya Volcano Hike at Sunset – The Best Option In 2022

Soldified lava fields at aothe one of the Antigua volcano hikes – Volcan Pacaya
The soldified lava fields at Volcan Pacaya

3. Volcan de Agua

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 16.3km
  • Time: 7–9 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,589m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trailhead: Santa Maria De Jesus

Looming large over Antigua is the ever-present Volcan de Agua. At 3,760 metres above sea level, don’t be surprised to see the peak of Volcan de Agua covered by clouds. Admittedly, Beck and I decided against this Antigua volcano hike due to safety concerns. Because Volcan de Agua is not maintained by a national park, it’s common for bandits to roam this trail. So, unfortunately, tourists can be the target of robberies. As a result, most tour companies in Antigua don’t offer this hike as a tour.

Thankfully, there are no safety issues for other Antigua volcano hikes. Both Volcan Acatenango and Volcan Pacaya are protected by national park staff, making these hikes safe and secure.

Volcan Agua seen in the distance from Antigua
Volcan de Agua as seen from Antigua

Other Antigua Hikes

There are some other Antigua hikes, which don’t involve summiting volcanoes. Sure, these trails aren’t as epic as the Antigua volcano hikes. But, they provide something a little different and also an easier hiking option. Out of the few non-volcano Antigua hikes, Corazon de Agua is our pick of the bunch.

Views from a Mirador at Corazon de Agua
Views from a Mirador at Corazon de Agua

4. Corazon de Agua

  • 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 is a hidden gem on the outskirts of Antigua in Magdalena Milpas Altas. Unlike Volcan Acatenango and Volcan Pacaya, Corazon de Agua isn’t a tourist hotspot. So, you’ll find this hike far less crowded. The Corazon de Agua trail provides many amazing Miradors looking over some of the prettiest mountains in Guatemala. Plus, you’ll also enjoy stellar views of Lake Amatitlan and the volcanoes surrounding Antigua.

Unlike Volcan Acatenango and Volcan Pacaya, you don’t need a guide for this trail. Plus, it’s super easy to reach by Uber or Taxi from Antigua. So, if you’re hiking in Antigua, consider doing the Corazon de Agua trail. It’s a more relaxing half-day hike that’s easy to organise.

Read more: Corazon de Agua – The Ultimate Hiking Guide

Beck swings at the top of Corazon de Agua - one of the lesser known hikes in Guatemala
Beck enjoys the swing with views for days

Hiking near Xela

A little off the beaten track, Quetzaltenango, more commonly known as Xela, easily has some of the best hikes in Guatemala. There are many fantastic volcano hikes near Xela to get stuck into. The most well-known, is Volcan Tajumulco also known as Tajumulco Volcano, which is the highest peak in Central America!

Dan descends a forest trail during the Volcan Santo Tomas hike
The Volcan Santo Tomas hike near Xela

5. Volcan Tajumulco

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 12.4km
  • Time: 5–6 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,200m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Llano de la Guardia

At 4,203 metres above sea level, you literally can’t get any higher in Central America. Completed as a day trip or overnight excursion, hiking Volcan Tajumulco is a must-do for hikers in Guatemala. On a clear day, the views from the summit are breathtaking.

Hiking Volcan Tajumulco is actually the reason why Beck and I decided to go to Xela. Unfortunately though, when we arrived, violence and unrest at the base of the volcano had re-commenced a few days prior to our arrival. Land disputes between the towns at the base of the volcano, and governments cracking down on marijuana production are some of the reasons for the gunfire and violence.

We were explained by locals that this sort of thing flares up every now and then. So, obviously, for safety, Beck and I couldn’t hike Volcan Tajumulco in February 2022. But, with some luck, the unrest should have settled by the time you visit. So, hopefully, you’ll be safe to take on this awesome volcano hike! Thankfully, there are many other epic volcano hikes near Xela, including Volcan Santa Maria.

Dan looks over Guatemala major mountains, which are covered by clouds
It’s possible to see Volcan Tajumulco from the summit of Volcan Santa Maria, but the clouds didn’t allow for it!

6. Volcan Santa Maria

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 13km
  • Time: 5–7 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,230m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Volcan Santa Maria Park Entrance (or Llano de Pinal bus stop)

The hike up to Volcan Santa Maria is a fun and adventurous trail. In the beginning, you’ll pass by farmland. As you begin to ascend, you’ll enjoy views of Xela. At the peak (3,772m), you’ll have an unbeatable view of Volcan Santiagutio. This is one of three active volcanoes in Guatemala (Volcan Fuego and Volcan Pacaya are the other two).

Other than watching Volcan Santiaguito erupt and emit ash, you’ll have sweeping vistas of other volcanoes and gorgeous Guatemala mountains. Personally, Volcan Santa Maria was one of our favourite day hikes in Guatemala.

Read more: Volcan Santa Maria Hike in Guatemala – The Ultimate Guide

Beck watches Volcan Santiaguito erupt from the summit of Volcan Santa Maria
Volcan Santiaguito as seen from the summit of Volcan Santa Maria

7. Volcan Santo Tomas

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 21.1km
  • Time: 9–11 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,180m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trailhead: Fuentes Georginas

The trail to Volcan Santo Tomas is a challenging and rugged hike through the dense forest. It’s a fairly long hike, so you’ll be starting this adventure before sunrise. Pack your headtorch!

The trail passes some epic Miradors en route to the summit of Volcan Santo Tomas. The viewpoints reveal outstanding views of the volcanoes around Antigua and Lake Atitlan. From the summit, on a clear day, expect gloriously sweeping mountainous landscapes. And, to finish off the difficult hike, you’ll get to have a swim in the hot springs at Fuentes Georginas.

It’s also possible to add Volcan Zunil to this hike. But, this would make for an extremely long day. So, you could consider the Volcan Santo Tomas and Volcan Zunil overnight option. Tour companies in Xela such as Monte Verde Tours offer this guided overnight hike option.

Read more: Hiking Volcan Santo Tomas From Fuentes Georginas – The Ultimate Guide

Dan stands atop the summit of Volcan Santo Tomas – one of the most challenging hikes in Guatemala
The summit of Volcan Santo Tomas

8. Laguna de Chicabal

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 9km
  • Time: 3.5–4.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 630m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Toritos para La Laguna

Another fantastic hike in Guatemala is the trail to Laguna de Chicabal AKA Lake Chicabal. Compared with Volcan Santa Maria and Santo Tomas, the hike up the dormant Volcan Chicabal is far less challenging. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a steep climb. But, the trail is much shorter. Once you arrive at the epic Mirador overlooking the beautiful crater lake, you’ll then take stairs down to the lake and walk around it.

Read more: Laguna de Chicabal (Laguna Chicabal) Hike – The Complete Guide

Mirador views of Laguna de Chicabal
Mirador views of Laguna de Chicabal

9. Los Vahos

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 6.5km
  • Time: 2–3 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 500m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Xela

Another hike in Guatemala involving hot springs is the short hike to Los Vahos from Xela. Initially, you’ll combine various roads and paths that converge onto a single trail. You’ll walk through farmland, before ascending to the natural saunas created by volcanic heat. Make sure to pack your swimmers to get the most out of your hike to Los Vahos.

Admittedly, Beck and I were satisfied with our hot spring experience at Fuentes Georginas during the Volcan Santo Tomas hike. So, we didn’t do the Los Vahos hike. But, it’s an easy hiking option if you find yourself in Xela. We bet it’s a great trail for speed hiking.

What’s speed hiking? If you’re keen for a workout during your trek, give speed hiking a go!

Best Hikes in Lake Atitlan

There are a surprisingly high number of hikes that you can do in Lake Atitlan. You’ve got incredible volcano hikes, but also serene lakeside hikes to choose from. But, of course, the two that stand out from the rest are the Volcan San Pedro and Rostro Maya (Indian Nose) hikes.

Dan stands on a rock overlooking Lake Atitlan during sunrise
Rostro Maya (Indian Nose) sunrise hike

10. Volcan San Pedro

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 6.4km
  • Time: 4–5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,154m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trailhead: San Pedro La Laguna

The San Pedro Volcano hike is one of the most well known trekking experiences in Lake Atitlan. Soaring at 3,020 metres, Volcan San Pedro towers over San Pedro La Laguna. It provides brilliant views over the entire lake. Unfortunately, the hike has become quite unsafe in recent times. In 2021, there were an increasing number of robberies and even injuries reported by tourists. All you need to do is read TripAdvisor to hear about it!

So, again, Beck and I didn’t do this hike. As always, safety comes first. Needless to say, we were very disappointed! You will find tour companies in San Pedro offering this hike as a sunrise option, to apparently get up and down the volcano before the bandits arrive. If you visit during the day, there are even police escorts who can take you some of the way. But, we’ve heard they don’t take you all the way to the summit, and that’s where you might find trouble.

We did actually meet a traveller who went up a couple of times in February 2022 without any problems. Although, he mentioned seeing bandits up there. Personally, we couldn’t bring ourselves to risk it. The same problem exists for other volcano hikes in Lake Atitlan. Volcan Atitlan and Volcan Toliman are other hangout places for bandits, so robberies are common.

Volcan San Pedro as seen from the north shore of Lake Atitlan
Volcan San Pedro as seen from the north shore of Lake Atitlan

11. Indian Nose Hike Guatemala

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 3km
  • Time: 2.75 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 160m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Santa Clara La Laguna

Watching sunrise from Rostro Maya, more commonly known as Indian Nose, is one of the best hikes in Guatemala. The views over Lake Atitlan, the surrounding villages and volcanoes, from Rostro Maya, are superb. Better yet, the spectacle of a sunrise here will make your hiking experience even more special.

Many tour companies in Lake Atitlan offer the sunrise hike option. Not to sound like a broken record, but, again, safety is an issue here. So, it’s best to go with a guide, who will take you to the safest lookout at Rostro Maya. Personally, Beck and I experienced sunrise at Rostro Maya as part of our guided 3 Day trek from Xela to Lake Atitlan, which we highly recommend.

Read more: Rostro Maya (Indian Nose) Hike For Sunrise – The Safest Option

12. Lower Mayan Trail

  • Type: One-way
  • Distance: 9km
  • Time: 2.75 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 454m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: San Marcos La Laguna

One of the lesser known hikes in Lake Atitlan is the trail connecting San Marcos La Laguna with Santa Cruz La Laguna. Otherwise known as the Lower Mayan Trail, this hike provides great views of Lake Atitlan. The trail winds around the cliff edges of the mountains shadowing over the north shore of Lake Atitlan. The Lower Mayan Trail is a great option, once you’ve done the Indian Nose hike for sunrise. And, if you’re unable to hike Volcan San Pedro due to safety.

Read more: Lower Mayan Trail – The Best Lake Atitlan Hike You Didn’t Know Existed

Dan hike from San Marcos to Santa Cruz, which is one of the best hikes in Guatemala
Hiking from San Marcos to Santa Cruz

Multi Day Hike Guatemala

There are a few awesome multi day hikes in Guatemala. The most obvious one is the overnight Volcan Acatenango hike. This hike is really a non-negotiable. Other multi day hikes in Guatemala are far less known, which adds to their excitement and adventure.

Beck and Dan look in between a mountain in Guatemala during their multi day hike
Hiking from Xela to Lake Atitlan

13. Xela to Lake Atitlan 3 Day Hike

  • Type: One-way
  • Distance: 42.25km
  • Time: 2.5 days
  • Accumulated elevation gain: approx. 1,600–2,000m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trailhead: Xecam

The 3 day hike from Xela to Lake Atitlan is an underrated Guatemala trek. Because Xela is off the beaten track, not many travellers will make it there. And, for those few travellers who do make it to Xela, not many of them will take on the multi day hike to Lake Atitlan.

But, Beck and I think the Xela to Lake Atitlan hike should be far more popular. We found the multi day hike a memorable experience. You’ll hike in the beautiful Western Highlands of Guatemala, taking in sweeping vistas of mountains and volcanoes. During the hike, you’ll also visit remote communities only accessible by foot. Please, make time for the Xela to Lake Atitlan 3 Day trek!

Read more: Xela to Lake Atitlan 3 Day Hike – The Complete Guide

The magnificent Western Highlands of Guatemala
The magnificent Western Highlands of Guatemala

14. Antigua to Lake Atitlan 4 Day Hike

  • Type: One-way
  • Distance: 53km
  • Time: 4 days
  • Accumulated elevation gain: approx. 1,800–2,200m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Antigua

Another multi-day hike in Guatemala is the Antigua to Lake Atitlan 4 day trek. This multi day hiking expedition is known as the Sky Route Trek and offers fantastic views of Guatemalan mountain ranges. On the way, you’ll hike through luscious cloud forest and pass coffee plantations. Similar to the Xela to Lake Atitlan multi day hike, you’ll visit remote villages. This is where you can experience the way of life for Guatemala’s living Mayan culture and community.

Personally, Beck and I didn’t have time to do the hike. And, logistically, we had already hiked from Xela to Lake Atitlan anyway! But, we’ve heard good things about the Antigua to Lake Atitlan trek. So, you should add it to your to-do list if you have an extended stay in Guatemala.

Views from Mirador Kaqasiiwaan in San Juan La Laguna
Superb views of Lake Atitlan await at the end of the multi day hike

Other Hikes in Guatemala

The best hikes in Guatemala are found in Antigua, Xela and Lake Atitlan. But, there are some other trails that should form part of your Guatemala hiking itinerary. Let’s look at the best of the rest when it comes to hikes in Guatemala.

Dan stands and admires Volcan Pacaya, during another great hike in Guatemala
Volcan Pacaya

15. Los Amates Waterfall

Touted as one of the best waterfalls in Central America, Los Amates Waterfall is a phenomenal natural attraction in Guatemala. Located in the Izabal department of Guatemala, Los Amates Waterfall is off the beaten track and infrequently explored by tourists.

Admittedly, Beck and I didn’t get to this waterfall, which we were disappointed about. But, apparently, the hike is around 3 hours, and involves a few river crossings. The waterfall is around 35 metres high and includes a series of widely dispersed falls. This is a truly spectacular waterfall and worth the effort getting to!

16. Ipala Volcano

  • Type: Out & Back with Loop
  • Distance: 13.4km
  • Time: 3.5–4.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: approx. 905m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: El Sauce

Similar to Laguna de Chicabal, Ipala Volcano is home to a mesmerising crater lake. The hike to the peak of the volcano is very straightforward. You can even hike around the rim of the crater. So, you can enjoy many different viewpoints of the stunning lake.

Ipala and Chicabal volcanoes have a lot in common. A shorter hike up to a volcano followed by a walk around the crater lake. Given their similarity, we decided to do just one crater late hike. Because we were already in Xela for other volcano hikes, it made sense for us to choose Laguna de Chicabal. But, the water inside the crater lake at Ipala Volcano is perhaps even brighter and more majestic.

The crater lake at Laguna de Chicabal provides a stellar mirror reflection of the forest
Laguna de Chicabal and Ipala Volcano both have an incredible crater lake

17. Monument National Semuc Champey

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2.3km
  • Time: 1 hour (then 3–4 hours exploring/swimming)
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 219m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Natural Monument Semuc Champey Entrance

We couldn’t write a list of the best hikes in Guatemala and not include the small trail at Semuc Champey. You might argue that Semuc Champey isn’t really a hike. But, we humbly disagree. Sure, it’s no Guatemala volcano hike. However, the trail leading to the Mirador, descending to the upper pools and then looping to the lower pools is a fantastic trail. Add in a swim at the lower pools among the cascades, and you have a solid hiking adventure!

Read more: Natural Monument Semuc Champey – Why You Shouldn’t Do a Tour

Dan and Beck stand in the corner of the large platform overlooking the magnificent Semuc Champey pools
The main Mirador at Semuc Champey

Guatemala Hike Recap

We reckon that the volcano hikes in Guatemala rank among the best in the world. Indeed, hiking in Guatemala is an absolute must for your Central America trip. Make sure to use our best hikes in Guatemala list as a checklist during your travels. Or, at the very least, pencil in a few days to do the Antigua volcano hikes like Volcan Acatenango, Fuego and Pacaya.

Seeing Volcan Fuego erupt is part of one of the best Antigua volcano hikes in Guatemala

How To Get To Guatemala

If you’re backpacking through Central America, you’ll either enter Guatemala from Mexico, Belize or El Salvador. Personally, Beck and I entered Guatemala from the Western border of Belize. In February 2022, to exit Belize, we paid $20USD/person. We then needed to jump through all of the COVID-19 hoops to enter Guatemala. Once we crossed the border, we jumped in a collectivo for Q40/person ($5USD) and headed to Flores. The journey took around 3 hours.

If you’re travelling to Guatemala from abroad, use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights. When flying abroad, we always get the ball rolling with a Skyscanner search. Although, with the pandemic, we recommend booking directly with the airline. That’s because it will be much easier to cancel or reschedule flights if you need to.

Additionally, if you’re UK or US-based, you should sign up to Jack’s Flight Club for the best flight deal alert service. By simply subscribing to the free weekly newsletter or buying premium membership, you could save lots of money on international travel. On Jack’s Flight Club, we’ve seen flight deals to Guatemala from the UK as cheap as £330 return. For the Aussies, we recommend subscribing to I Want That Flight for the best flight deal alerts.

Dan hikes uphill during the Acatenango hike

Getting Around Guatemala

In Central America, there’s always the question about whether to use a private shuttle service or chicken buses. Of course, the chicken bus is much cheaper. But, your journey will be incredibly long. From Flores, we made the journey down to Lanquin to see Semuc Champey. A private shuttle, organised through Los Amigos Hostel for Q230/person, took 9 hours. We don’t even want to know long the journey would take with chicken buses.

Dan stands in a pick-up truck, that takes us from Lanquin to Semuc Champey
A pick-up truck takes us from Lanquin to Semuc Champey

Private Shuttles in Guatemala

From Lanquin, we travelled to Xela, which was very difficult to organise, even with private shuttle companies. Thankfully, Monte Verde Tours came to our rescue and helped us organise two shuttles to get us to Xela in around 10 hours for $60USD/person. For Central America standards, this was a very expensive shuttle. But, the route was quite atypical, as most travellers visit Xela from Lake Atitlan, Antigua or Guatemala City.

From Xela, we hiked to Lake Atitlan. From Lake Atitlan, we took a convenient private shuttle to Antigua for Q100/person ($13USD) with Maya Tzutujil Travel Center. It took only 2 hours. Until this trip, we could justify the private shuttles to reduce the journey time. But, if you’re a bit more patient than us, chicken buses from Lake Atitlan to Antigua would be much cheaper and wouldn’t take hours on end.

From Antigua, we made the journey down to Santa Ana in El Salvador. Through Go Travel El Salvador, we booked a shuttle for $50USD/person. The journey was meant to take 6 hours. But, a young British traveller left her passport at her Antigua hostel. So, after 45 minutes into the journey, we had to drive back to Antigua. This added another 1.5 hours. Then, the girl and her group kept making us stop to find an ATM. There was also lots of roadwork on the Ruta de Las Flores. So, it was a 10 hour trip! Rant over.

Dan stands by a red van in La Soledad

Where To Stay In Guatemala

We’re going to share with you the accommodation that we used during our time in Guatemala. We’ll also provide a few more options for Antigua, assuming you’ll definitely be doing the Antigua volcano hikes.

Beck sits to watch sunset in Flores Island
Only a five-mute walk away from our hotel on Flores Island

Where To Stay In Antigua (Hotels & Hostels)

  • Hotel Posada Santa Teresita: Beck and I stayed here during our time in Antigua. Gilda was a very nice, helpful and accommodating host. We had heaps of space in our private room and the outdoor courtyard had a serene garden. Part of the courtyard is undercover and provided an optimal workspace and place to eat. The wifi was phenomenal!
  • Case Elena: a classy colonial-style building offering excellent accommodation in Antigua. The rooms are cosy and comfortable, with the option of either a patio or balcony. Wifi is good and the breakfast is rated highly. The owners are really friendly too.
  • San Rafael Hotel: one of the most highly-rated hotels in Antigua. It’s another lovely colonial-style building that has a nicely decorated garden interior. The rooms are charming and spacious with a fireplace, small seating area and a nice private bathroom.
  • Barbara’s Boutique Hostel: you’d expect this place be a lavish five-star hotel. With lovely decor and modern facilities, this hostel is much better than your average hostel. With decent hot showers, good Wifi and a spacious shared kitchen, there’s a lot to admire about the hostel’s facilities.
  • Yellow House Hostel B&B: Another classy hostel in Antigua. You’ll be greeted by friendly staff, who offer modern rooms with great WiFi and a lovely garden and terrace. A continental breakfast is provided, which is always a bonus when staying at a hostel!
  • Adra Hostel: one of the highest-rated hostels in Antigua. It has a comfortable lounge, and a terrace and bar, so it’s easy to chillout and meet other travellers. Continental breakfast, decent WiFi and general good vibes mean you won’t be disappointed with staying here.
Lovely colonial-style buildings are found all over Antigua
Lovely colonial-style buildings are found all over Antigua

Where To Stay In Flores, Lanquin, Xela and Lake Atitlan

  • Flores: Natz Hotel on Flores Island was a great budget stay. The room was comfortable, the staff friendly and the location was superb. Admitedly though, we preferred booking our tour of the Tikal Ruins and outbound private shuttle at Los Amigos Hostel as they had better prices.
  • Lanquin: We stayed at Aruma Eco-Hostal for two nights. The hostel is quiet and admittely, we didn’t see many guests staying there. That’s probaby because it’s one of the furthest Semuc Champey based hostels from the actual national park. Secondly, this hostel isn’t as well known others like Greengo’s Hotel or Utopia Eco Hotel. Plus, there’s no Wifi. On the flip side, our stay was a genuine jungle accommodation experience, which was very tranquil. Plus, the facilities were decent; although, don’t expect a hot shower.
  • Xela: Rio Rooms in City Centre is a great value for money guesthouse. You’ll enjoy a private bathroom with a decent hot shower, comfortable bed, a nice working space and shared kitchen facilities. We kept extending our stay here as we really enjoyed it!
  • Lake Atitlan: We think Hotel Peneleu in San Pedro La Laguna is one of the best hotels in Lake Atitlan. You have stunning views over the lake. Better yet, the price for a private room with your own bathroom is only $14USD/night!
A glorious sunset from our Lake Atitlan hotel
A glorious sunset from our Lake Atitlan hotel

Safety in Guatemala: Do You Need To Book Hiking Tours?

Safety is something to take seriously when doing volcano hikes in Guatemala. As the locals tell us, safety situations are constantly evolving and robberies/violence can happen without warning. With that said, some hikes in Guatemala are safe and realistic to do without a guide. For instance, you should be able to manage Corazon de Agua and Laguna de Chicabal without a guide.

However, it’s mandatory to hike with a guide for Guatemala volcano hikes, including Volcan Acatenango and Fuego, and Pacaya. Plus, for safety, it’s recommended to hike with a guide for Volcan Santo Tomas and Volcan San Pedro. For multi day hikes in Guatemala, it’s not possible to do these hikes to remote villages without organising through a tour company.

Beck and I agreed, that during our 7 month trip to Central and South America, we’d prioritise our safety. This meant choosing to hike with a guide on most occasions.

During one of the Antigua volcano hikes, Dan toasts marshmallows with our local guide Ruby
Toasting marshmallows at Volcan Pacaya with our local guide Ruby

The Best Guatemala Trekking Tour Companies

After hiking with many brilliant guides, here are our recommendations of the best tour companies for hiking in Guatemala:

  • Xela: Monte Verde Tours – the American owner, Josh, is very friendly and knowledgeable. He was able to shed light on some hikes we hadn’t considerd doing whilst in Xela, such as Volcan Santo Tomas. The guides provided by Monte Verde Tours were locals, who were simply excellent. In particular, Feliz, our guide for the Xela to Lake Atitlan 3 Day Trek was phenomenal.
  • Lake Atitlan: LuiTuy Tours – Lui is a local Mayan guide in Lake Atitlan who is very passionate and knowledgable about the sacred lake. We 100% recommend him for any hikes in Lake Atitlan.
  • Antigua: Expedicion Volcan Acatenango and A Viajar Guatemala. For the Volcan Acatenango and Fuego hike, we cannot recommend Expedicion Volcan Acatenango enough. Unlike the over popularised mass group tours offered by Antigua based compaies, Expedicion Volcan Acatenango are locally based in La Soledad at the base of the volcano. They offer a premium tour with smaller groups. In terms of hiking other Antigua volcano hikes, like Pacaya Volcano, A Viajar Guatemala did a great job organising our sunset tour.
Beck, Rene and Dan stand for a selfie from base camp at Volcan Acatenango
Our guide, René, from Expedicion Volcan Acatenango was fantastic

Best Time of Year for Hiking in Guatemala

You should aim to to take on Guatemala volcano hikes during the dry season from November to May.

Five Hiking Essentials For Hiking in Guatemala

Hiking Essential

Why do you need this?

See it in action

These hiking boots did a great job at keeping my feet comfortable during all of our hikes in Guatemala

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 for many hikes in Guatemala. In particular, you'll want a compact and warm fleece for multi day hikes

Many hiking trails in Guatemala are dusty. We recommend wearing a neck gaiter to prevent dust getting into your airways

If you take on the best hikes in Guatemala during the wet season, you'll need to pack a waterproof jacket

You’ll also want to pack a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray and 2L of water for Guaemala volcano hikes.

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.

Bonus Tips

  • Give yourself plenty of time to explore Guatemala: we’ve only scratched the surface of the best Guatemala volcano hikes. Don’t rush through this volcano hiking mecca!
  • Use trekking poles: many volcano hikes in Guatemala involve a steep climb to the peak. Trekking poles will make the hike up much easier on your knees.
  • Hike with a guide: to ensure safety, we recommend hiking with a guide for most trails in Guatemala.
Dan descends a narrow trail on the thrid day of the Xela to Lake Atitlan hike
Day 3 of Xela to Lake Atitlan

We hope you enjoyed our guide on the best hikes in Guatemala. What other hiking destinations around the world would you like to read about? New Zealand, South Africa, Bhutan? Let us know in the comments below.


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