Guatemala is a country surrounded by amazing Mayan Ruins, beautiful colonial towns, and spectacular volcanoes. Though some of them could be dangerous, such as Volcano Fuego and its deadly eurption in 2018, many of them are rewarding hikes.
Hiking Volcano Pacaya is a family-friendly activity that you can do in Antigua with your kids. It is a great way to keep them active while showing them the beautiful nature Guatemala has.
Without further ade, below is our guide on hiking Volcano Pacaya and what you need to know before you climb it!
Guide to Hiking Volcano Pacaya in Antigua
Why Hike Volcano Pacaya?
Volcano Pacaya is one of the easiest volcanoes you can hike in Guatemala. It could definitely be used for training for other hikes in Antigua such as the overnight Volcano Acatenango Hike.
But just because it is easy doesn’t mean it is unrewarding. If you hike Volcano Pacaya, you have a chance to see lava coming out of the volcano, roast your own marshmallows with the volcano’s lava, and get amazing views of the Guatemala landscape.
If you take the afternoon tour, you will also see an amazing sunset up on the volcano.
Difficulty of the Volcano Pacaya Hike
Just because it is a volcano doesn’t mean it is a difficult hike. I would rate the volcano Pacaya hike a Medium-Easy difficulty. It is about a 2-hour hike to reach to the top where you will roast some marshmallows and then head down.
The total time is around 4 hours for the entire trip. There are horses you could rent at the bottom of the hike that will take you up, as well as kids selling walking sticks.
The top of volcano Pacaya is at an elevation of ~2500m, so you might feel a little more tired than usual.
Where Can You Find Tours for Pacaya Volcano
Tours can be easily found in the city of Antigua in Guatemala. There are plenty of travel agencies on the streets and you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding them.
Hostels and hotels also offer tours as well, but they tend to be a little more expensive than the travel agencies on the street (reasonably so).
All travel agencies seem to have the same package so just try to find the cheapest.
Definitely go for the afternoon sunset tour as well.
What to Bring on Your Volcano Pacaya Hike
1. Sunscreen. Don’t be one of those tourists walking around Guatemala with a terrible sunburn!
2. Rain poncho or raincoat. Weather can change quickly when you are up in the mountains. Pack one for safety.
3. Filtration Water Bottle. It will help you in dire circumstances.
4. Money!! 50Q for entrance and in case you want to rent horses or buy walking sticks! There is also a lava shop at the top that sells souvenirs and refreshments.
5. Food/Snack/Water. Pack accordingly, you shouldn’t need too much. 1-2L of water should be enough.
Our Experience on the Volcano Pacaya Hike
Hiking Volcano Pacaya was definitely a lot easier than I expect.
Our tour company picked us up in our hostel in Antigua and drove 1.5 hours to the start of the hike.
As soon as we got off the van, we were bombarded with kids trying to sell us walking sticks.
They didn’t know anything in English but they knew the word “stick”. Many visitors bought the stick but I opted out.
We paid the 50Q entrance fee and promptly started the hike up. It was about 10-20 of us with a tour guide in the front, telling us about Guatemala and the different species of floras and animals there are.
We arrived at the top after approximately 2 hours of hiking, where we roasted marshmallows from the underground lava (bucket list checked!). We did see a little bit of lava rolling down the side of volcano Pacaya, I guess luck wasn’t on our side that day.
There is also a lava store that sells souvenirs, jewelry, and replenishments. However, it was closed during our visit. Maybe it is only opened on the weekends.
After that, we descended on the other side of volcano Pacaya and watched the magical sunset dramatically illuminate our way. By the time we reached the bottom, it was already completely dark.
We hopped on our transportation van and headed back to Antigua. We arrived at 8:30 PM at Antigua.
Where to Stay in Antigua Guatemala
Best Hostel in Antigua – Adra Hostel
Adra Hotel is one of my favorite hostels in Antigua, Guatemala. Its dormitory rooms are huge and each bed has a comfortable mattress. Each bed is also equipped with a socket and a plug, so you can read a book or go on your laptop in your bed!
If you want to get some sun inside, their outdoor courtyard, as well as the rooftop terrace, are some of the best places to chill in Antigua! Locals from Antigua like to come to Adra Hostel and order a drink from the cafe and just relax!
Best Cheap Hotel in Antigua – Meson de Maria
Meson de Maria is an elegantly designed hotel in Antigua. It is hard to believe that such a beautiful hotel is so cheap! Located within a block from the famous Arco de Santa Catalina, guests can have easy access to all the action. However, the hotel is very quiet considering how close it is to everything.
Best Luxury Hotel in Antigua – Hotel Palacio de Dona Beatriz
Hotel Palacio de Dona Beatriz feels like its own city within a city. The moment you step in you are mesmerized by the Spanish-influenced colonial architecture in this luxury hotel. Their swimming pool, walls, and all the facilities are carefully designed. This is the perfect place to relax after a day at Volcano Pacaya!
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That’s the end to our guide for hiking Volcano Pacaya. I hope you have everything you need to know for your hike now! Have you hiked Volcano Pacaya? Let us know in the comments!
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