Backpacking through Guatemala to explore nature. Hiking on (active) volcanoes, swimming in huge crater lakes and getting lost in the jungle.
Highs & Lows
Unseen beautiful nature, colorful country, authentic indigenous people
More expensive to travel in.
Guatemala Backpacking. This is an awesome way to explore the country. In my travels, I like to connect with locals and save money, so I prefer to travel with local transport and stay in affordable hostels or with locals. My first stop was Quetzaltenango, a place up north with lots of volcanoes and beautiful nature. After that I stayed 2 weeks at lake Atitlan, it is a stunning crater lake with volcanoes and mountains around. We celebrated Santa Semana with locals, tried aerial yoga, did ecstatic dance and hiked around the lake. Then I continued my trip to Antigua explore the city and to hike volcano Acatenango and the active volcano Fuego. At the end of my trip I stayed one week with locals, surrounded by nature and experiencing the local life, what a great experience to see how they are living with not much and still are very happy and at peace.
Antigua an authentic colonial city, close to the capital but much nicer. The city offers little parks, beautiful buildings and good restaurants.
When you go there you defiantly are going to hike volcano Acatenango to see the active volcano Fuege spitting fire every 20 minutes. After staying 2 days in Antigua I decided to hike the Acatenango, I did it with my hostel La gaseta but wouldn’t recommend to do it with them (they are the cheapest but the guide was not that good). A lot of other companies offer the same thing but in a better way for a bit more money. It is a 2 day hike so you camp on a volcano and you can see the whole night lava streaming down volcano fuego. The first day we first got our warm clothes (gloves, coat, beanie and scarf) an our lunch packet and we are ready to go. The first day was 5 hours (with a lot of stops) hiking to base camp, in my opinion, an easy hike because only the first hour is a bit challenging because of the climb you do after that the hike is steady and has beautiful views. We got to base camp and pretty quick we already saw smoke and lava coming out of volcano Fuego, it was an amazing experience. We still had energy so for an extra fee we decided to hike closer to see the views directly on volcano Fuego. It is a challenging 3 hour return hike and the way back we hiked in dark what made it extra challenging. Coming on the Fuego you can feel the power under your feet. The moment it spitted lava was mind-blowing, never experienced something like that in my life and on top of that we had a beautiful sunset above the clouds, a full rainbow and a view over 3 volcanoes. We spend the night in the tent and the next morning hiked to the top of the volcano Acatenango which also offered stunning views. This was so far one of my highlights in my backpacking trip (traveling for 8 months), it is a highly recommended experience.
Lake Atitlan is one of the most beautiful lakes I've ever seen, it is a big crater lake surrounded with 3 volcanoes and green mountains. There are many little towns around the lake that you can easily reach with the local lancha. I stayed in a very quiet local town Jaibalito. In my opinion a good location to explore the other towns around.
When we where there it was Semana Santa, the holy week of Easter, and it is celebrated in every town with flowers in the streets and ceremony’s in the churches. On Good Friday starts a whole weekend of processions in Santiago. They carry Jesus on a bed of flowers true the streets, these are also covered in colorful flower beds. Interesting to see how they celebrate Easter in Guatemala.
There are many activities and workshops to do around the lake like yoga, natural painting fabrics, ecstatic dance and many more things.
Q & A
What would you have changed?I would spend more time in Guatemala to go also to the jungle and the caraibbean coast.
Anything go wrong during the trip?no
Tips you would give a friend?Don't do Acatenango hike in rainy season, it is cold and you don't see much of the volcanoes.
Packing tips?confortable shoes and clothes
Transportation Tips?Chicken bus and colectivo's.