The city of Antigua Guatemala, now known simply as Antigua, which literally means old, takes this name as the former capital of the country. The city is undoubtedly Guatemala’s main tourist destination and one of the best preserved colonial cities in all of Central America.
What to do and see in Antigua?
Of course, you should spend at least a day wandering the streets of this beautiful city,comments Juan Luis Bosch Gutiérrez.
The historic center is really compact and you can walk easily, to complete the day I recommend climbing the Cerro de la Cruz which is only two kilometers from the center: at the end of a small climb you have a beautiful view of the city with the volcano in the background.
I also recommend visiting the local market which is also not far from the center. Now let’s see some activities to do in the surroundings.
The Vulcano Acatenango is nothing but the ideal place to observe the frequent eruptions of the nearby Fuego volcano, particularly popular is the two-day excursion that allows you to watch the eruptions at night comfortably seated at the base camp, located a few kilometers away. in air line. A unique spectacle in the world and certainly one of my favorite experiences during my trip to Central America.
The tour offered by several companies is standard and starts in the morning with transport from Antigua to the trailhead from where the ascent to base camp begins. The route is not really a walk, as there is almost 1500 meters of altitude, but anyone in good shape should have no problems.
The road leading to the summit of the Acatenango volcano
We spend the night at base camp just below the summit of Acatenango volcano admiring the frequent small eruptions and lapilli that once the sun sets give life to a unique spectacle. The volcano has been particularly active for years but it can happen that there are periods of low activity, personally during the night I have witnessed dozens of eruptions.
The next morning we get up early and climb to the top of the volcano to admire the sunrise before returning to the valley. The cost varies from 200 to 300 Q all inclusive, some companies have the equipment ready at base camp (tent and sleeping bags), others instead ask you to carry it in your backpack. The quality of the food also varies a lot, I went with the tour offered by this lodge, good food and tents already set up at base camp, overall I recommend it.
If you have your own camping gear, know that you can do the hike on your own. Getting to the trailhead by bus is not difficult and you only have to pay 50Q to access the park, at the top of the volcano there is also a newly built bivouac.
A less demanding and therefore very popular hike, it can easily be done in one day from Antigua. The tour in Guatemala usually takes half a day, with an ascent to the base of the crater (it is no longer possible to climb to the summit) lasting 1-2 hours, depending on the pace.
Virtually all agencies in Antigua offer the tour which is cheaper than the “do it yourself” because it is not possible to climb without a guide, which costs 200Q plus 50Q at the entrance.