Smoke rising from Fuego Volcano Guatemala, man jumping in front of erupting volcano, man in white shirt and brown pants

The Acatenango Volcano Overnight Hike is a must do in Antigua Guatemala. Not only do you get to sleep on the side of a volcano, but you get first row seats to watch an active volcano erupt every 15 minutes! It was awe inspiring to witness the power of nature up close, but remember there’s no gain without a little bit of pain!

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Cheapest Acatenango Tour: Tropicana Hostel
Locally operated Acatenango Tour: v-hiking tours
Acatenango Tour with best campsite: Wicho and Charlie’s

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Where is Acatenango Volcano?

Acatenango Volcano (or Volcan de Acatenango in Spanish) is located in Guatemala in Central America. It is around 1 hour drive from the city of Antigua. Additionally, it is part of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Tours of Acatenango Volcano

View of campground on Acatenango Volcano, Sun rising over Pacaya Volcano Guatemala, clouds surrounding Pacaya Volcano
Imagine waking up to this!

There are a range of tour companies which offer overnight hike tours of Acatenango Volcano. These volcan Acatenango tours take you up Acatenango Volcano, which is about an hour drive from the city of Antigua Guatemala. From base camp some tours offer the option of hiking onto the adjacent active volcano, Fuego Volcano, for an additional fee. Alternatively you can hike to the summit of Acatenango Volcano (3,976m elevation). Some tours do the hike to the summit for sunset and others hike to the summit for sunrise the next morning. You spend the night camping on the side of Acatenango Volcano, which gives you unbeatable views of the regular eruptions of Fuego Volcano.

Comparison of tour companies offering overnight tours of Acatenango Volcano

There are six main tour companies offering tours of Acatenango Volcano. Prices range from $64-$275 USD per person. The cheapest operator is Tropicana Hostel and the most expensive is Trek Guatemala.

All companies offer transport between Antigua and the bottom of the volcano, 3 meals and guides. Some companies also offer a pre departure breakfast, snacks, storage facilities and rental gear. Additionally, some companies offer private accommodation for couples for an additional cost. The entrance fee to Acatenango Volcano may or may not be included in your price, depending on the operator. The biggest difference between the companies relates to the accommodation (cabins or tents, permanent campgrounds or carry your own tent up), group sizes, whether or not rental gear is included and the experience of the guides. Some operators explicitly request you bring a tip to pay your guide on their website. However there is an expectation that you will tip your guide regardless of the provider chosen.

Below are the main features of the different Acatenango Volcano overnight hike Guatemala tours.

Tropicana Hostel Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: $85 (shared cabins) or $269 (for 2 people in private cabin with bottle of wine and special dessert)

Meeting point: Tropicana Hostel

Meeting time: 7:30am

Departure time: 8am (shared cabins) or 8:30am (couple package)

Accommodation: Shared cabins or private cabin

Guides: Local guides

Meals: Pre departure breakfast, 3 meals, snacks, hot beverages, marshmallows. Food restrictions are accommodated with special menus

Transport: Transport between Tropicana Hostel and the bottom of the volcano is included

Storage: Free storage at the hostel

Entrance Fee: Included in price

Other inclusions: free shower and towel at the hostel after the trek

Discounts: discount at the hostel for the following nights (except during low season)

What you need to bring: warm clothes, 4 litres of water, extra snacks, flashlight, medium backpack

Rental gear available: clothes (3 for $3 plus $3 deposit) – jacket, sweater, scarf, gloves, hat, pants; running or hiking shoes ($7 for a pair plus $15 deposit); backpack ($7 plus $15 deposit); headlamp ($3 plus $5 deposit)


Pros: Cheapest

V-Hiking Tours Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: 600 quetzales (shared cab in) or 850 quetzales (private cabin)

Meeting point: Pick-up from one of 3 meeting points in Antigua

Departure time: 7am

Accommodation: tents

Guides: 1 guide for every 6 guests, family business run by local guide

Meals: Pre departure breakfast with local family, 3 meals, 1 snack

Transport: private transport between your accommodation in Antigua and the bottom of the volcano is included

Entrance Fee: 110 quetzales entrance fee is included in price

Other inclusions: camping equipment – clean beds, comfortable mattresses

What you need to bring: warm clothes including 2 pairs of socks, personal medication, personal hygiene kit (toilet paper, hand sanitiser etc), 3+ litres of water, flashlight/headlamp with sufficient batteries, 35-45 litre backpack


Pros: Locally owned, family business

Wicho & Charlie’s Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: $119-$134 (shared cabin) or $339 (for 2 people private cabin)

Meeting point: Wicho and Charlie’s Office: 2 calle Oriente #22, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Meeting time: 7am

Departure time: 9am

Accommodation: Shared 4-person, 6-person or 8-person cabins or private 2-person cabins

Guides: local guides that are certified in first aid, mountain rescue and guiding and are also learning a second language

Meals: Pre departure breakfast, 3 vegetarian meals, snacks. All food is vegetarian and gluten free

Transport: Transport between Wicho & Charlie’s office and the bottom of the volcano is included

Storage: Free storage at Wicho & Charlie’s Office

Entrance Fee: 110 quetzales entrance fee is included in price

Other inclusions: essential gear rental (hat, scarf, buff, winter gloves, multiple layer jacket, headlamp and water bottles), water (they suggest taking 4.5 litres of water) daily backpack

Discounts: no discounts

Potential extra fees: If you fall behind the group by more than 45 minutes a separate guide will be assigned to you and you will be charged an additional Q250-Q300. If this happens on the way down and you miss the bus to go back to Antigua there is an additional Q250 fee for the alternative transport.

What you need to bring: warm clothes, extra snacks if you are doing the extra hike to Fuego, sunscreen, camera, battery power bank

Rental gear included: multiple jackets, scarf, buff, winter gloves, hat, headlamp as well as water bottles.

Additional rental gear available: thermal base layers (20q); merino socks (80q); trekking pole – pair (40q). Deposit required – government ID or $100 or Q800 cash (no photos or photocopies allowed)

Porters available: yes. You will need cash to pay them and the price depends on the weight of your backpack (the most they can carry is 25 pounds)

Cancellation policy: refund or change of date if requested 24 hours prior to tour start time (7am)


Pros: Best campsite and accommodation on Acatenango Volcano

OX Expeditions Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: $99

Meeting point: Ox Expeditions Office: 2da Calle Poniente #23, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Meeting time: 6:30am-7am

Departure time: 8am

Accommodation: Tents

Guides: Professional bilingual guides

Meals: Pre departure breakfast, 3 meals, coffee

Transport: Transport between Ox Expeditions Office and the bottom of the volcano is included

Storage: Free storage at Ox Expeditions Office

Entrance Fee and camping fee: 100 quetzales

What you need to bring: Hiking clothes (a synthetic base layer, fleece, rain jacket and quick drying leggings or shorts), a good pair of trainers or hiking boots, hat and sunscreen, snacks, tip for guide

Rental gear available: rental gear is included


Pros: Rental gear is included

Old Town Outfitters Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: $140-245 per person, depending on group size. Old Town Outfitters operates on tiered pricing, meaning the price depends on the total number of paying customers in the group. You can join an existing tour or start a new group yourself for your preferred date

Meeting point: Old Town Outfitters Office: 5a Avenida Sur, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Meeting time: 7am

Departure time: 8am

Accommodation: High altitude tents with sleeping bags and pads

Guides: Experienced local guides from the community of La Soledad

Meals: 3 meals, juice/coffee/tea, snacks

Transport: Transport between Old Town Outfitters Office and the bottom of the volcano is included

Entrance Fee: Included

What you need to bring: backpack for your personal gear, personal toiletries and/or medication, camera, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, minimum 4 litres water, flashlight, hiking boots or trekking shoes (no sandals), one warm layer and/or windbreaker, rain jacket (May-October), warm clothes for the near-freezing night-time temperatures at camp, tip for your guide

Porters available: $45 for a maximum of 30 pounds. This is typically enough to share between 2 hikers. The Porter Service charge goes directly to local porter staff and OTO does not earn a profit from this service.


Pros: No minimum tour size required

Trek Guatemala Acatenango Volcano overnight hike

Price: Private tours for 2-16 guests; pricing starts at $269 per guest for 2 guests, $219 per guest for 3 guests, $169 per guest for 4-5 guests, $149 per guest for 6-12 guests

Departure time: 8am

Accommodation: high quality backpacking tents or spacious safari-style tents

Guides: Bilingual guides, first aid certified. French, German & Italian guides are available upon request

Meals: 3 meals, snacks

Transport: Transport between Antigua and the bottom of the volcano is included

Entrance Fee: Included in price

Other inclusions: High-quality tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and trekking poles

What you need to bring: 50 litre backpack, headlamp, waterproof jacket, knit hat / gloves, warm clothes, hiking boots/shoes, 4-5 litres water, tips for guides

Rental gear available: 50 litre backpack, headlamp, waterproof jacket, knit hat / gloves


Pros: Private tours

Acatenango Balam Tours

For completeness, we note that we found a Facebook page for a company called Acatenango Balam Tours. This company appears to offer tours for the Acatenango Volcano overnight hike. However their last post was in 2020 and their last review suggested that this was a fake company.

Which tour company we chose for Acatenango Overnight Volcano Hike Guatemala

We did our tour with Wicho and Charlie’s. We chose them because they have the best position on Acatenango Volcano, their guides are well trained and very experienced and they came highly rated on TripAdviser. For our tour in 2020 we paid 450 quetzales or $61 USD per person. The tour started from their office in Antigua at 7:30am and returned at around 11:30am the next day. Included in this price were, transport, guides, essential gear, food and accommodation.

Our Experience with Wicho & Charlie’s Acatenango Hike

Our impression of Wicho & Charlie’s

Fuego Volcano erupting at sunset, volcano eruption surrounded by clouds, purple sky and stars
Fuego Volcano Erupting at Sunset

Wicho and Charlie’s runs a very professional and well organised hike. Their guides were excellent and made sure that everyone was well taken care of. They had enough guides that you could go at whatever pace you were comfortable with without worrying about being left behind. Their campsite has the best vantage point for viewing Fuego Volcano and their food was delicious. We think they run the best tour on the volcano and highly recommend going with them.

What is supplied on the Wicho & Charlie’s Acatenango overnight hike

Woman hiking down Acatenango Volcano Guatemala, woman using hiking poles and carrying a backpack, hiking in Central America, Hiking in Guatemala
Hiking Poles definitely come in handy!

Wicho and Charlie’s include the following in their Acatenango Overnight Hike:

  • All your food (which you need to carry up yourself)
  • Tents and camping equipment on the best permanent campsite on Acatenango Volcano
  • Cold weather clothing such as base layers, jackets and scarves
  • Headlight
  • Waterbottles
  • For an extra charge you can rent items such as backpacks, hiking poles and other useful equipment. We borrowed a hiking pole for part of the walk down, and after struggling without one, we’d say it’s worth the cost, especially if you’re not an experienced hiker

What to bring for the Acatenango overnight hike

Woman wearing beanie and jacket sitting at Wicho & Charlie's campground on Acatenango Volcano Guatemala, Pacaya Volcano in the background, sunrise on a volcano, volcano surrounded by clouds
Make sure you rug up!

We recommend you bring the following items for the Acatenango Overnight Hike. This is in addition to what is supplied by Wicho and Charlie’s:

  • 4 litres of water (3 litres for yourself and an extra litre is required to give to the cooks for preparing dinner)
  • A backpack
  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • Photography equipment to capture the best shots (if you have a DSLR, now is definitely the time to use it!)
  • 200 quetzales, just in case you decide to go onto Fuego Volcano. Even if you don’t think you’ll do that, make sure you keep that option open in case you change your mind in the moment
  • Any medication you might need, keeping in mind that altitude sickness is a potential risk on this tour. Bandaids might also come in handy if you get blisters from the hike
  • Hand sanitiser

If you have your own cold weather clothes, we recommend you bring them.

Before the Acatenango Volcano hike

The tour starts at the Wicho and Charlie’s office in Antigua Guatemala. We got a welcome drink on arrival and they have filtered water available so you can fill up your water bottles for the hike. The team from Wicho & Charlie’s gave a debrief about the tour. We were also provided with a hearty breakfast to start the day. After breakfast we were able to select the gear that we wanted to borrow for the hike. Some items came included in the package and other items were an additional charge. After we selected our items we then had to let the staff know what we’d selected. The staff made note of our items so they could ensure all items were returned at the end of the tour. We thought there was a good range of items available in various sizes.

Once everyone was ready, we got into a couple of minivans. We then drove to the base of Acatenango Volcano, which was about an hour drive away.

Last restroom stop before Acatenango Volcano

At the drop off point at Acatenango Volcano we had our last opportunity to use an actual toilet before the hike. The restrooms are in sheds just next to the road. They are pretty basic and not the most pleasant to use, but a step up from going in a hole in the ground.

Hiking to Base Camp on Acatenango Volcano

Couple halfway up Acatenango Volcano on Wicho & Charlie's Acatenango Overnight Hike, donkey in background
Wish we’d hired a donkey!

Hiking Acatenango is really challenging. It goes in three main stages. The first stage is STEEP and it’s gravelly. I thought I was pretty fit and it would be no problem but I struggled. But you know you just put one foot in front of the other. Just try and motivate yourself and the views at the top are absolutely worth it.

When you’re at the top you can see you’ve got a great vantage point of Fuego Volcano which is an active volcano and it erupts pretty much every 15 minutes. It’s an amazing sight to see and a very thrilling experience.

Wicho & Charlie's tour group approaching the summit of Acatenango Volcano Guatemala
The steep hike to the summit

Once you get to base camp which is about 4 hours from the bottom, you have the option of going up to the summit which is a one and a half hour hike up and then half an hour hike back. Or you can have the opportunity of going to Fuego itself, which is a four hour hike, down and up, down and up, and that will be another 200 quetzales. We were considering doing Fuego, but the hike just to base camp took all the energy we could muster! After a couple of hours rest we did the summit hike and that was probably the most demanding part of the whole trip. But very worth it once you’re up the top. You get an amazing sunset.

The Wicho and Charlies campground on Acatenango Volcano

Lava Flowing from Fuego Volcano Guatemala, Volcano at night, stars in sky, Volcano eruption in Guatemala
Fuego Erupting After Dark

Wicho and Charlie’s has the best camp ground on Acatenango Volcano. They have a higher vantage point than other tour companies and they have a permanent campsite with fixed shelters for sleeping quarters, a large tent which contains the dining room and kitchen and a fire pit with plenty of camp chairs surrounding it. The Acatenango Wicho and Charlies campsite spans over two levels. We were on the lower level, which was next to the main dining room tent. The views from the camp site are awe inspiring. A couple of people ended up spending the night around the camp fire watching the volcanic displays from nearby Fuego Volcano. From the camp ground you were close enough to actually hear the eruptions.

Fuego Volcano Eruption at Sunrise
Fuego Volcano Eruption at Sunrise

The sleeping quarters are basically big sheds with two rows of camping cots. We were also provided with sleeping bags and a pillow each. The beds were surprisingly comfortable and the shelter provided good protection from the elements. We managed to have a decent night sleep up on the volcano, and were refreshed enough to get up early to watch the sun rise over Fuego Volcano.

The food on Wicho & Charlie’s overnight hike

We were well fed on our tour with Wicho and Charlie’s. For our hike we were given a brown paper bag which had lunch and snacks inside. We had a number of stops along the way to have morning tea and lunch and have a well deserved rest on the way. Dinner was spaghetti with a tomato based sauce, which was quite tasty.

Waking up on Acatenango Volcano

View from Wicho & Charlie's campground on Acatenango Volcano Guatemala, Sunrise view of Pacaya Volcano, Pacaya Volcano surrounded by clouds, Volcano rising through clouds at sunrise
Sunrise view of Pacaya Volcano

Waking up on the side of a volcano is an incredible experience! It was surreal being above the clouds and watching the sky being painted with beautiful sunrise hues. The sun rose right over nearby Pacaya Volcano, which is also an active volcano. The area was so peaceful and still. If you can wake up early enough, we definitely recommend being up before sunrise to make the most of this unique experience.

After enjoying the sunrise, we had breakfast and then began the hike back down Acatenango Volcano. The hike down was a lot quicker than the hike up, but it was still quite challenging as the loose rocks underfoot made for a slippery walk down. It took us about an hour and a half to get back down to the pickup point. We were again able to use the toilet facilities at the base of Acatenango Volcano while waiting for the minivans to pick us up and return us to Antigua Guatemala.

Back at the Wicho and Charlie’s office we had to return any gear that we had hired and we had one last chance to chat to our fellow hikers before we left.

Tips for the Acatenango Volcano hike

How hard is the Acatenango hike?

The Acatenango hike difficulty is high. It’s one of the most physically demanding things we’ve ever done. Not only is the hike itself steep, but being at altitude makes it so much more difficult. We recommend only attempting this hike if you have a reasonable level of fitness and have allowed sufficient time to acclimatise to the altitude.

Preparation for the Acatenango overnight hike

Sunset view of Fuego Volcano from the summit of Acatenango Volcano, Volcano surrounded by clouds at sunset
Be ware of altitude sickness!

We recommend you stay at least forty eight hours at altitude at either Antigua or Lake Atitlan to make sure that you’re acclimatised for the hike. You should also make sure that you’re in peak fitness because it is a very demanding hike and you want to make sure that you’re not throwing up on the way.

How to get the best photos of Fuego Volcano

Wicho & Charlie Tour Group on the Acatenango Overnight Hike; sunset view of Fuego Volcano, Volcano with sunset and clouds
View from the Summit of Acatenango Volcano

Sunrise and sunset are the best times to get epic photos of Fuego Volcano. The red glow of the lava doesn’t become visible until twilight. During the day you won’t see the lava, but you’ll still see rocks flying into the air and a lot of smoke.

What to wear for the Acatenango hike

Man standing at summit of Acatenango Volcano looking at Fuego Volcano at sunset, Man standing above the clouds
The view from the summit is otherworldly!

It gets very cold and windy at the top, at close to freezing temperatures, so make sure that you bring plenty of warm clothes and especially the hike to the summit. But don’t wear all of your clothes right at the beginning of the hike because you will get very hot.

The hiking trail gets very dusty, so having something to cover your mouth and nose as you’re hiking up will save you from eating a lot of dust!

The path is very rocky and slippery so be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes with good grip.

Facilities on Acatenango Volcano

There are no toilets on Acatenango Volcano. Wicho and Charlie’s provides toilet paper and paper bags, and when nature calls you’ll have to find a discreet place to squat. Make sure you dispose of any paper rubbish in the bins provided. Solid waste needs to go in the bags to be disposed of in the bins provided. There are toilet cubicles just before you start the hike at the bottom of Acatenango Volcano. You will have an opportunity to use the facilities when the minivan drops you off at the base of Acatenango Volcano, just before you start the hike. You will be able to use these toilets again just before the minivan picks you up to return back to Antigua the morning after the hike.

Is Acatenango Volcano safe?

Fuego Volcano Eruption at Night
Fuego Volcano Eruption at Night

Hiking near an active volcano is not without risk. The nearby Fuego Volcano is a highly active and unpredictable volcano. Fuego Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. In early February 2021 both Fuego Volcano and nearby Pacaya Volcano both experienced increased volcanic activity.

When was the last major eruption of Fuego Volcano Guatemala?

The last catastrophic eruption of Fuego Volcano was on 3 June 2018. This eruption resulted in around 200 official deaths, and one local organisation estimated that up to 2,900 people may have actually died. This eruption happened with little warning and no time for evacuation.

Is Acatenango active?

Yes Acatenango Volcano is an active volcano. However it has been 50 years since Acatenango volcano last erupted. An active volcano is a volcano that is either erupting or is likely to erupt in future.

When was the last time Acatenango Volano erupted?

Whilst Acatenango is still an active volcano, the last known Acatenango eruption was in 1972.

Acatenango deaths

On 8th January 2017, 6 Guatemalans died while doing the Acatenango Volcano overnight hike. Weather conditions on that day were particularly hazardous, with temperatures drastically dropping to below -6 degrees celsius (21 degrees fahrenheit).

Do I need to be fit for the Acatenango Volcano hike?

To hike Acatenango Volcano you need a reasonable level of fitness. We are both very fit, but we found it VERY challenging. Keep this in mind when deciding whether this hike is the right activity for you.

Do I need to acclimatise before the Acatenango hike?

Yes! Be aware that the Acatenango hike is at altitude, with an elevation of 3,976 metres (13,044 feet). With altitude comes the risk of altitude sickness. Because of this, you will need to acclimatise at altitude at either Antigua Guatemala or Lake Atitlán Guatemala for at least 48 hours before you hike volcan Acatenango. Around 25% of our tour group were vomiting or ill throughout the night because they had not acclimatised beforehand. If you experience any signs of altitude sickness, let your guide know as soon as possible so they can take care of you.

Altitude sickness

The signs of altitude sickness are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of Breath

General safety tips for Acatenango Volcano

Other general safety considerations for travel to Acatenango Volcano:

  • Drinking water – bring 4 litres of drinking water with you on the hike and make sure you stay hydrated.
  • Mosquitoes – Acatenango Volcano is at altitude, so mosquitoes aren’t an issue.
  • Road safety – The roads to Acatenango Volcano are in good condition. Exercise normal road safety.
  • Sun safety – The UV Index is very high in Guatemala, so sun protection such as sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses is very important to ensure you don’t get burnt.

Final thoughts on the Acatenango overnight hike

The Acatenango Overnight Hike is one of the most physically demanding things we’ve done in our lives, but also one of the most rewarding. It was an amazing experience to witness the constant eruptions of Fuego Volcano and is definitely an experience you should add to your Bucket List! If you want to learn more about this incredible Guatemalan adventure, check out our Acatenango video.

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