Guatemala and volcanoes are a great training ground for mountaineers. In fact, Guatemala has 37 volcanoes, in which 4 are still active! I’ve already climbed two of them, San Pedro and Acatenango. Both above 3000 meters, Acantenago is about 1000 meters higher than San Pedro. Volcano San Pedro has a reputation of having some of the most beautiful views of Lake Atitlan and the surrounding villages, which turned out to be so true!
The day started early. My plan was to wake up at 6:00am, which would leave me plenty of time to get ready and catch a boat, then tuk-tuk to the trailhead. I was living in San Marcos, so I took the first boat to San Pedro which is at 6:30 AM. From the center of San Pedro, it was roughly a 10 minute ride to the trailhead, for only 10 quetzales.
Once I arrived at the trailhead, I passed through the visitor’s center to pay the 100 quetzales fee. They say the entrance fees come with a guide, but there were no guides or hikers. Since I was early, my goal was to reach the summit before the clouds covered any of the anticipated amazing views, also to have the whole volcano to myself!
The trail was clearly labeled, there was really only one way to go up. It took me around 3 hours to reach the summit, with several look-out points that offered beautiful views of Lake Atitlan along the way. First you pass through the coffee feilds, then magical cloud forests till you reach to the summit.
Overall, I really enjoyed hiking Volcano San Pedro. While the summit is just over 3000 meters, I was used to hiking at this elevation so I did not have suffer from any altitude sickness. I was forced to not take a guide, but it turned out amazing. The trail was labeled, and there was only one way to the top. By taking a guide, part of the hiking fee is given to the guide as a salary, which is also nice if you choose to hike with a guide.
The trail was well-maintained and the lookout points gave stunning views over the surrounding areas. It is definitely a hike I can recommend, especially if you want to acclimatize for other volcanoes in Guatemala.