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Volcanoes in the Land of the Maya

- 15-days study trip and expedition to Guatemala's volcanoes -

Eruption of the Caliente lava dome of Santiaguito volcano
Eruption of the Caliente lava dome of Santiaguito volcano
Silhouettes of Acatenango, Fuego and Atitlan volcanoes
Silhouettes of Acatenango, Fuego and Atitlan volcanoes
View towards Agua volcano from Antigua
View towards Agua volcano from Antigua
Street in Antigua town
Street in Antigua town
Lava flow at Pacaya volcano
Lava flow at Pacaya volcano
Aperitif at the base camp
Aperitif at the base camp
Yellow flowers
Yellow flowers
Colonade at Antigua's town hall
Colonade at Antigua's town hall
Farmer's market in Antigua
Farmer's market in Antigua
Typical lunch (grilled meat and sausages)
Typical lunch (grilled meat and sausages)
Agua Calientes town inside an old caldera
Agua Calientes town inside an old caldera
Ash-flow tuff from the caldera-forming eruption of Lake Atitlán (ca 74,000 year ago)
Ash-flow tuff from the caldera-forming eruption of Lake Atitlán (ca 74,000 year ago)
Yashmin explaining charred wood fragments in the ash deposit
Yashmin explaining charred wood fragments in the ash deposit
Lateral cone of Toliman volcano
Lateral cone of Toliman volcano
Boat trip on the Atitlán Lake
Boat trip on the Atitlán Lake
Santiaguito eruption at night
Santiaguito eruption at night
Santiaguito lava dome erupting ash
Santiaguito lava dome erupting ash
Observation camp near Santiaguito
Observation camp near Santiaguito
Ash eruption at Santiaguito volcano
Ash eruption at Santiaguito volcano
In front of an active hornito on the summit of Pacaya
In front of an active hornito on the summit of Pacaya
Agua and Pacaya volcano with its lava flows at night
Agua and Pacaya volcano with its lava flows at night
Pacaya volcano
Pacaya volcano
The active cone of Fuego volcano seen from Acatenango
The active cone of Fuego volcano seen from Acatenango
Guatemala: a country with spectacular volcanic activity, wonderful landscapes, colorful villages and towns, friendly people.
With its 3 active and very distinctly different volcanoes Pacaya, Fuego and Santiaguito on a stretch of little more than 200 km, and many impressive conical peaks between them, Guatemala has the highest density of active volcanoes anywhere on the planet.
Accompanied by a trained volcanologist, you watch active volcanoes from up close and get an in-depth understanding of the powerful and turbulent natural processes at work.
With its colonial heritage, the lively and colorful town of Antigua is the perfect place to start and end our tour. There is time to explore the Mayan markets, listen and dance to the sounds of Salsa and Merengue, practice your Spanish and get in touch with the friendly and warm Guatemalan people.
  • 3 active volcanoes from close: Fuego, Pacaya, Santiaguito
  • Different viewpoints and extended observation time for each volcano
  • Competent accompanying volcanologist
  • Lake Atitlán's spectacular landscape from above, the shore and from the boat
  • Impressive volcanic landscapes
  • Colorful towns and markets
  • Friendly hospitable people
  • Selected accommodation in charming upscale hotels
  • Comfortable camping
  • Delicious food with free choice in selected restaurants

15 days itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Guatemala City - transfer to Antigua
Individual private transfers from the airport to Antigua. Meeting with the guide and other participants at the welcome dinner.
Acc.: comfortable hotel in the historic center of Antigua (D)
Day 2: Hiking up to Pacaya volcano
Transfer to Pacaya, short hike, setting up camp and exploring the volcanoes activity in the afternoon-evening-night.
Acc.: camping (B, L, D)
Day 3: Sunrise on Pacaya - Transfer back to Antigua
Morning observations at Pacaya, transfer back to Antigua for lunch, followed by a free afternoon and evening
Acc.: hotel in Antigua as on D1 (B, L)
Day 4: Transfer to Lake Atitlán - giant ash & pumice deposits
Observation of spectacular pumice outcrops and short stops at viewpoints over Lake Atitlán with Toliman, Atitlán and San Pedro volcanoes.
Acc.: comfortable hotel in Panajachel (B, L)
Day 5: Lake Atitlán - sunrise viewpoint - lakeshore hike & boat tour
Optional excursion to a viewpoint for sunrise over lake Atitlán. After breakfast at the hotel we start exploring the lake: boat tour on the lake, a hike along the stunning lake shore, and visit of a lively Mayan market town.
Acc.: as before (Panajachel) (B, L)
Day 6: Transfer to Quetzaltenango town – Cerro Quemado volcano
Option for another sunrise excursion to enjoy the beauty of the lake. After breakfast, transfer to Quetzaltenango town where we have lunch and settle into our hotel. The afternoon is used for a short hike and visit of the historic lava flows of nearby Cerro Quemado volcano.
Acc.: comfortable hotel in the historic centre of Quetzaltenango (B, L, D)
Day 7-8: Climbing Santa Maria - observing active Santiaguito
Climb about 1300 m of elevation to reach the spectacular viewpoint on the top of Santa Maria volcano (about 3660 m). After lunch on the summit we make a short descent to reach the sublime viewpoint onto the active Santiaguito dome where we will be camping for the next 2 nights.
Acc.: 2 nights camping close to the summit of Santa Maria volcano (B, L, D)
Day 9: Descent from Santa Maria - return to Quetzaltenango
In the course of the morning we make the descent down from Santa Maria volcano and return to our hotel in Quetzaltenango where we have lunch. The afternoon and evening are free for you to rest and/or explore this charming colonial style town and its local market.
Acc.: Comfortable hotel in de historic centre of Quetzaltenango (B, L)
Day 10: Observing Santiaguito from the South
Transfer from Quetzaltenango to a comfortable hotel south of Santiaguito from where you have a stunning view onto the volcano´s active dome.
Acc.: Comfortable hotel south of Santiaguito volcano (B, L, D)
Day 11: Transfer to the Volcano Observatory of Fuego - camping and nighttime observation
After an optional morning excursion to observe active Santiaguito volcano, we have breakfast at the hotel and then make our way to the volcano observatory of Fuego. We set up camp in the fields nearby the observatory and get ready for a first night of observing Fuego´s activity.
Acc.: Camping at the foot of Fuego volcano (B, L, D)
Day 12: Morning observations of Fuego volcano - return to Antigua
In the course of the morning we break down the camp and travel by minibus back to Antigua. After lunch, the afternoon and evening are free.
Acc.: Hotel in Antigua as on D1 (B, L)
Day 13: Fuego volcano from Acatenango volcano
Transfer to Acatenango volcano - climb 1200 m to a great viewpoint at 3600 m elevation facing active Fuego volcano - optional climb to the summit - evening & night-time observation of Fuego's fireworks.
Acc.: camp on Acatenango volcano (B, L, D)
Day 14: Morning observations of Fuego volcano - transfer back to Antigua
Optional morning excursions (further approach Fuego volcano / climb Acatenango´s summit), morning observation of Fuego´s activity from the campsite. Descend back to the start of the hiking trail, pick-nick lunch and return to Antigua. The remaining time in the afternoon is free, but the group meets up for a farewell dinner in a selected restaurant in historic Antigua.
Acc.: hotel in Antigua as before (B, L, D)
Day 15: Transfer to airport - departure or extension
Individual private transfers to the airport. Extension tours e.g. to Tikal can be offered at request.
Acc.: none (B)
Tour code: GUA_SVM
Tour type: Walking & study tour: active volcanoes - geology & volcanism - adventure
Difficulty: Moderate
Group size: 6-12
Duration: 15 days / 14 nights

Dates:

no scheduled dates at present

Price (p.p.): $ 3900  ? 

Included:

  • Accommodation in double / twin rooms & tents as per program
  • All transportation in comfortable private minibus or 4x4 vehicles according to itinerary
  • Private individual airport transfers Guatemala-Antigua-Guatemala
  • Boat tour on Lake Atitlán
  • Full board during camping (hot tea & coffee at all times, fruit, cake, cooked breakfast (e.g. omelette, pancakes, rice), lunch snack, fully cooked 3-course dinner with soup + pasta or rice with meat + desert)
  • 3 liters of drinking water per person per day during trekking
  • All camping gear except personal sleeping bag (spacious dome tents, inflating mattresses, cooking gear etc)
  • Kitchen tent and cook
  • Camping chairs (one for each participant)
  • Restaurant meals as specified with B(breakfast), L(unch), D(inner) including drinking water, coffee and tea
  • Entrance fees to National parks and sites
  • Porters for Pacaya, Santa Maria and Acatenango (porters for camping gear + food + 1 porter per person carrying up to 15kg personal gear; extra porters can be hired at extra cost)
  • Local guides for security
  • Tips for local staff (porters, local guides, ...)
  • Experienced English-speaking Guatemalean guide during the whole trip
  • Professional accompanying volcanologist from our team

Tour guide:

Either Yashmin Chebli or Tom Pfeiffer, as they are the two volcanologists and experienced VolcanoDiscovery tour guides for the Guatemala volcano adventure.

Arrival info:

The tour starts and ends in Guatemala city. Participants will be picked up from the GUA airport and transferred directly to their hotel in the colorful and charming city of Antigua, where the first and last night of the tour is.

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