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Things to do in
Quetzaltenango Department

Our most recommended things to do in Quetzaltenango Department

Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike

1. Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike

This 2-day/1-night hike brings you up the slopes of beautiful Volcan Acatenango to our private campsite – bench-cut into the side of this towering mountain. From here we enjoy our camp meals, incredible views, and plenty of room to stretch out. In camp there we will have ample time to appreciate the sights and sounds of nearby Volcan Fuego’s violent volcano eruptions. On the morning of the 2rd day, our group will summit Acatenango’s peak (3,975m/12,720ft - the third highest volcano in Guatemala), taking in panoramic views from atop the summit. Finally, we will descend back down through a myriad of microclimates to return to Antigua by early afternoon. Day 1: Hike To Camp Our group leaves from the Old Town Outfitters Shop at 8:00am, where you can fill up your water bottles and purchase any additional gear you might need. Hikers should eat breakfast beforehand and pack a small snack for the road. A one-hour drive takes us from Antigua to the sleepy mountain village of La Soledad, perched on the ridge of the Pacific slope of Volcan Acatenango. The trail up Volcan Acatenango has four distinct microclimates, each of which will take you about an hour to traverse. We’ll begin by walking up a steep trail through local farm fields - the same trail used by local villagers each morning to access their corn, snow pea and lily fields. Our first hour of hiking will help you acclimatize and warm up the leg muscles for the day’s hike. The second phase of our ascent passes through old-growth tropical cloud forest. In this environmental zone, we find some of Acatenango’s oldest trees, an incredible biodiversity of flora and fauna, fresh mountain air and the sounds of local birds and wildlife. This type of high-alpine cloud forest is found on the upper slopes of many of Guatemala’s tallest volcanoes and mountains, and is home to the famous Quetzal. After exiting the cloud forest, we will be rewarded with fantastic views of the other highland volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman, San Pedro, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas, Tajamulco), along with glimpses of the Cuchumatanes mountain chain. A fresh picnic is prepared mid-day for our group to enjoy. Temperate coniferous forest and tropical dry forest characterize the 3rd phase of our ascent, which will lead us to the storm-beaten tree-line of the volcano. Our campsite is perched just below tree-line with sweeping views of the Antigua valley and Volcan Fuego. After setting up camp, hikers are free to rest, relax and enjoy their surroundings while our guide prepares a fresh camp dinner at ~3750m with hot tea and coffee. Day 2: Summiting Acatenango In the morning, after an early camp breakfast, our group embarks on a 45-minute ascent to the summit on a sand and gravel scree-trail dotted with dwarf pine trees and high alpine mosses. The trail up to the summit is the steepest we will have seen, and leads to the rocky summit exposed to the gusty and cold winds which constantly pass over Acatenango’s peak. At the summit, our group will rest and enjoy unparalleled 360-degree views of the entirety of the Guatemalan highlands – all the way to the border of Mexico. After 45min at the top (depending on conditions and time considerations), the group will begin the 3-hour descent back towards La Soledad. Our group has the opportunity to descend through an alternate route down Volcan Acatenango, experiencing a variety of microclimates and beautiful trail. From La Soledad, we will transport back to Antigua, arriving in the afternoon with plenty of time for you to enjoy the delights of the old Spanish colonial capital (~13:00hrs).

1 Day Acatenango Volcano Hike from Antigua

2. 1 Day Acatenango Volcano Hike from Antigua

Our group leaves from our office in Antigua at 5:00am, where you can fill up your water bottles and purchase any additional gear you might need. Hikers should eat breakfast beforehand and pack a small snack for the road. A one-hour drive takes us from Antigua to the sleepy mountain village of La Soledad, perched on the ridge of the Pacific slope of Volcan Acatenango. The trail up Volcan Acatenango has four distinct microclimates, each of which will take you about an hour to traverse. We’ll begin by walking up a steep trail through local farm fields - the same trail used by local villagers each morning to access their corn, snow pea and lily fields. Our first hour of hiking will help you acclimatize and warm up the leg muscles for the day’s hike. The second phase of our ascent passes through old-growth tropical cloud forest. In this environmental zone, we find some of Acatenango’s oldest trees, an incredible biodiversity of flora and fauna, fresh mountain air and the sounds of local birds and wildlife. This type of high-alpine cloud forest is found on the upper slopes of many of Guatemala’s tallest volcanoes and mountains, and is home to the famous Quetzal. After exiting the cloud forest, we will be rewarded with fantastic views of the other highland volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman, San Pedro, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas, Tajamulco), along with glimpses of the Cuchumatanes Mountain chain. A fresh picnic lunch is prepared around mid-day for our group to enjoy. Temperate coniferous forest and tropical dry forest characterize the 3rd phase of our ascent, which will lead us to the storm-beaten tree-line of the volcano. Our last section of ascent is sand and gravel scree-trail dotted with dwarf pine trees and high alpine mosses. As we approach the summit, we find the exposed rocky surfaces left by the gusty and cold winds which constantly pass over Acatenango’s peak. At the summit, your guide will prepare a fresh, well-earned picnic lunch while you rest and enjoy unparalleled 360-degree views of the Guatemalan highlands. Atop the summit we will also fix our attention on nearby and constantly erupting Volcan Fuego. With a bit of luck, Fuego will put on a high altitude firework show, displaying violent explosions of gas, rock, and lava. After 30min-1hr at the top (depending on conditions and time considerations), the group will begin the 3-hour descent back towards La Soledad. Our group has the opportunity to descend through an alternate route down Volcan Acatenango, experiencing a variety of microclimates and beautiful trail. From La Soledad, we will transport back to Antigua, arriving in the afternoon with plenty of time for you to enjoy the delights of the old Spanish colonial capital.

Combo Tour: Colonial Antigua & Guatemala City Explorer Tour

3. Combo Tour: Colonial Antigua & Guatemala City Explorer Tour

You will be picked up at your hotel in Guatemala City before transferring to Antigua Guatemala to meet your local guide and begin your soft walking of approximately 3 hours. Below is a brief summary of the attractions you will see on your way: La Merced Church of Guatemalan Ultrabaroque style. This temple has two bell towers and on the facade of the church in its upper part is a sculpture of San Pedro Nolasco, founder of the Mercedarian Order.Santa Catalina Arch. Built to connect the nuns between cloisters to avoid being seen due to the votes that the religious order took. After the earthquakes of 1773, the arch became important due to the alterations that were made. These alterations included the construction of a turret and the inclusion of a Lamy Amp Lacroix clock of French origin.Central Park. Situated in the traditional grid pattern used frequently in urban planning in the Spanish colonies. The park is surrounded by the Palace of the General Captains, the Town Hall, the Cathedral of San Jose, and the Trade Portal. Here in the park, you will also find the Las Sirenas fountain. This fountain has a traditional folk story where the Count of La Gomera ordered the fountain to be built in memory of his daughters, who in giving birth did not want to breastfeed their children. The count then ordered his daughters to be tied to a trunk in the center of a waterhole, where they died of thirst and hunger. You will continue your tour with a visit the La Unión tank, which is one of the most iconic laundries in this city (only the big houses possessed laundry facilities). For this reason, most of the inhabitants (housewives) went to public laundries. This was inaugurated on February 3, 1853. You will then be given time for lunch (not included).  You will then transfer to Guatemala City to start your sightseeing tour through this city. First you will visit Las Americas avenue. The road in its central garden has several Plazas and monuments in honor of the countries of the American continent.  Continue to Berlin Plaza where there are three pieces of concrete brought from Germany. These are original sections of the Berlin Wall and from here, you can view part of the city and the landscape of the volcanoes.  Next you will visit La Reforma. It was built inspired by the avenues of France and for this reason, various statues carved in stone, bronze, and marble were brought from Italy. The next attraction is Yurrita Church. This is a private chapel of mixed Baroque style, with Romanesque and Byzantine elements. The church was built as a votive offering by Felipe Yurrita, a native of Arevalo, Castilla, Spain, to the Virgin of Our Lady of Sorrows, patron of that town, for favors received (in particular, for saving her life during the eruption of the volcano Santa Maria). At the Civic Center of the City, you will see a set of buildings constructed between the 50s and 60s: The Supreme Court of Justice, the Ministry of Public Finance, City Hall, the Social Security, the Bank of Guatemala, the National Mortgage Bank, and the Guatemalan Tourism Commission.  You will then arrive at the Major Plaza of the Constitution. This Plaza is the heart of the Historic Center of the city. It is surrounded by important monuments such as the National, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Portal of Commerce and Centenarian Park. The tour includes a visit to the Central Market, which is located behind the Metropolitan Cathedral, in the basement of the Tabernacle Plaza. There, visitors can buy a variety of art and handicrafts from all over the country; ceramics, textiles, leather, wood, and silver. At the end of the walking tour, head back to your hotel in Guatemala City.

Half-Day Guatemala City Explorer Tour

4. Half-Day Guatemala City Explorer Tour

Visit Guatemala City (its official name is La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción), the cultural, religious, and business center of Guatemala. On this day you will appreciate the panoramic view of the colonial architecture combined with modern buildings, important museums, and historical monuments. You will be picked up in your hotel in Guatemala City by your tour guide to start your sightseeing through the city. Below a brief summary of what to expect on your way. Start at Las Americas Avenue, named after the reform that led to the formation of the Organization of American States in 1948. Continue to Berlin Plaza for a view of part of the city and the landscape of the Pacaya volcano. You will also see La Reforma. This was inspired by the avenues of France and for this reason, various statues carved in stone, bronze, and marble were brought from Italy. You will also see Yurrita Church, which is a private chapel of mixed Baroque style, with Romanesque and Byzantine elements. The church was built as a votive offering by Felipe Yurrita, a native of Arevalo, Castilla, Spain, to the Virgin of Our Lady of Sorrows (patron of that town). This was in return for favors received — in particular, for the saving of her life during the eruption of the volcano Santa Maria. Continue onwards to the city's civic center, a mishmash of state buildings constructed in the middle of the 20th century, including the Supreme Court, City Hall, and the Bank of Guatemala; decorated with impressive high relief murals by Dagoberto Vasquez which detail's the country's history. You will then arrive at the Major Plaza of the Constitution, surrounded by important monuments such as the beautiful National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and Centenarian Park. Nearby is the abstractly adorned National Library and the General Archive of Central America. Finally, you will visit the Central Market, which is located behind the Metropolitan Cathedral, in the basement of the Tabernacle Plaza. At the end of this sightseeing tour you will be transferred back to your hotel.

3 Day Acatenango & Fuego Volcanoes Doubleheader Hike

5. 3 Day Acatenango & Fuego Volcanoes Doubleheader Hike

This 3-day/2-night hike brings you up the slopes of beautiful Volcan Acatenango to our private campsite – bench-cut into the side of this towering mountain. From here we enjoy our camp meals, incredible views and plenty of room to stretch out - along with the sights and sounds of nearby Volcan Fuego’s violent volcano eruptions. We continue our hike across and up Volcan Fuego the next morning, and enjoy lunch beneath Fuego’s smoldering caldera on Day 2. After a return hike in the afternoon, we enjoy another evening at camp with fresh food and a warm fire (weather permitting!). Our group will summit Acatenango’s peak (3,975m/12,720ft - the third highest volcano in Guatemala!) on the morning of the 3rd day, and descend back down through a myriad of environmental zones to return to Antigua Guatemala by early afternoon. Day 1 Our group meets at the Old Town Outfitters Shop at 08:00hrs (5th Avenida & 6th Calle – 1 block south from Central Park) to board our private transport for the trailhead. Hikers should eat breakfast beforehand and pack a small snack for the road. A one-hour drive takes us from Antigua to the sleepy mountain village of La Soledad, perched on the ridge of the Pacific slope of Guatemala’s volcanic mountain chain. The trail up Volcan Acatenango has four distinct environment zones, each of which will take you a little over an hour to traverse. We’ll begin by walking up steep trail through local farm fields - the same trail used by local villagers each morning to access their corn, snow pea and lily fields. Our first hour of hiking will help hikers acclimatize and warm their leg muscles up for the day’s hike. The second phase of our ascent passes through old-growth tropical cloud-forest. In this zone, we find some of Acatenango’s oldest trees, the biggest biodiversity of flora and fauna, fresh clean air and the sounds of local birds and wildlife. This type of high-alpine cloud-forest is found on the upper slopes of many of Guatemala’s tallest volcanoes and mountains, and is home to the famous Quetzal. After exiting the cloud-forest, we will be rewarded with fantastic views northward of other highland volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman, San Pedro, Santa Maria, Tajamulco), along with glimpses of the Cuchumatanes Mountain chain. A fresh picnic lunch is prepared around mid-day for our group to enjoy. Temperate coniferous (pine, fur, etc.) cloud-forest and dry-forest characterize the 3rd phase of our ascent, and it will lead us to the storm-beaten tree-line of the mountain. Our campsite is perched just below treeline with sweeping views of the Antiguan valley and Volcan Fuego. After setting up camp, hikers are free to rest, relax and enjoy their surroundings while our guide prepares a fresh vegetarian camp dinner at ~3750m with hot tea and coffee. Day 2 In the morning, our group will enjoy a hearty breakfast after a mesmerizing sunrise above cloud-line across from Volcan Fuego. With expansive views south towards Esquintla and the tropical Pacific coast of Guatemala, and east across the Antigua Valley to towering Volcan Agua, we will begin our 1-hour descent to the saddle between Volcan Acatenango and Fuego. After a short rest, we will wind our way up the 1½-hour push to the vertigo-inducing ridge of Volcan Fuego. At a responsible distance from the active summit of Fuego – teetering between the highland valleys and the Pacific slope - our group will rest and eat lunch as we wait for a chance eruption at close-range. Our group will spend the afternoon hiking back to our campsite to rest and relax. Another beautiful night on the mountain, and another delicious dinner prepared by your guide will help ease our tired bodies to rest. Day 3 In the morning - after an early camp breakfast - our group embarks on a 45-minute ascent to the summit on sand and gravel scree-trail dotted with dwarf pine trees and high alpine mosses. The trail up to the summit is the steepest we will attempt, and leads to the exposed rocky surfaces left by the gusty and cold winds which constantly pass over Acatenango’s peak. At the summit, our group will rest and enjoy unparalleled 360-degree views of the entirety of the Guatemalan highlands – all the way to the border of Mexico. After 45min at the top (depending on conditions and time considerations), the group will begin the 3½-hour descent back towards La Soledad, and transport back to Antigua to arrive in town in the early afternoon (~13:00hrs).

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What people are saying about Quetzaltenango Department

Juan wasn an amazing tour guide!!!!!! He was super knowledgeable and answered all questions asked by the tourists! I highly recommend this tour and guide! the only hiccup was transportation. It was late and we were about 3 hours behind schedule

Juan Pablo was amazing!!! I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and he was very educational and interactive! I’d recommend this tour to anyone interested in learning the history of Antigua and Guatemala City!

It was an amazing experience with a great guide, did a lot of running. There was no rain and the volcanos were very visible.

Great, the guides are very friendly and everything is perfect. The views are incredible

So much fun. Josias the tour guide was incredible!