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Guatemala Volcano climbing

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Guatemala Volcano climbing

Postby nyker » Fri Nov 28, 2008 5:22 pm

Has anyone been down there to climb any of the more popular volcanoes? I would love to hear thoughts and suggestions.

I was looking at Pacaya, Acatenango, Volcan San Pedro Atitlan, Volcan Santa Maria, Volcan Tajumulco.

*IF* flights can be found at a good price, seems like a cool trip to climb a few pretty cool peaks!

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Re: Guatemala Volcano climbing

Postby peaks2paddles » Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:25 pm

I climbed Acatenango in Jan05 to the south summit, was turned back by terrible weather...spent the night in the crater freezing my butt off! I would suggest using a guide service for any or all of the volcanoes in country...there are thieves and bandits galore! Good luck, have fun, Guatemala is a great place to explore!
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Re: Guatemala Volcano climbing

Postby Layne Bracy » Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:57 pm

I hiked up Pacaya and Toliman, guided on both. Pacaya I did as a guided group trip, only $10 in 2002. Crowded but fun. Toliman is off Lake Atitlan - I paid about $20-25 for a guide, it was just the two of us - our route weaved through private land and was through lots of vegetation, so guided is the way to go; nice wildlife.

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Re: Guatemala Volcano climbing

Postby ATOMEMT » Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:54 am

I was working in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala in 2001 and always went with a guide. Volcan Pacaya, Santa Maria and Chikibal were ALL excellent.

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Re: Guatemala Volcano climbing

Postby nyker » Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:31 pm

Thanks folks. Yes, I heard that theft or other things can be a problem; and reading the state dept summary on Guatemala is not exacly reassuring. Has anyone had any real problems down there recently?

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Re: Guatemala Volcano climbing

Postby UNHrider » Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:46 pm

i climbed pacaya last summer 2007 with a guide service that was off the town square in Antigua, it was pretty cheap about $10-15 including the bus ride. We didnt go for the summit just went up to the lava fields, where we toasted marsh mellows on the active lava flows. was a bit eerie when the soles of my shoes started to melt.

didnt have any problems with theft, and i didnt feel unsafe at any point while in guatemala. however the people i was with had been living in guatemala for 3 years at that point and knew where the sketchy areas were. I spent most of my time in antigua and a couple days in tikal exploring mayan ruins. be careful around guatemala city, and there are some other places you dont want to get lost in. I would highly recommend going.

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Re: Guatemala Volcano climbing

Postby Marcos » Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:59 am

nyker wrote:Thanks folks. Yes, I heard that theft or other things can be a problem; and reading the state dept summary on Guatemala is not exacly reassuring. Has anyone had any real problems down there recently?

I am in Guatemala 6 - 8 times each year for my nonprofit. In my view, the State Department report is a bit grimmer than reality. Guatemala City is bad and getting worse, of course, but most of the rest of the country is relatively safe. Keep out of the city as much as possible and you're fine. Most tourists base themselves in Antigua or Panajachel and take shuttles around the country. Avoid the "chicken" buses if at all possible -- they have a terrible accident rate. But in 9 years of extensive travel in the country I've never had anything stolen.

Let me know if you do go and I can give all sorts of great recommendations!



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Re: Guatemala Volcano climbing

Postby Scott P » Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:15 am

I climbed Tajumulco and Tacana, but that was back in 1992. After the fact (!) I heard there was still some old landmines on those volcanoes, but hopefully they are long gone by now. Even though it wasn't that long ago, the volcanoes were not popular bavk then and there were no guiding services and I never saw anyone on them. It seems things have changed in recent years and they are climbed quite frequently with tour groups (at least Tajumulco). Anyway, here is some info I wrote up on those two:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/150286/tajumulco.html

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/150301/tacana.html

See also all pages attached on the left side of the page below:

http://www.summitpost.org/area/range/403757/guatemala.html

As far as safety goes you do have to be careful wherever you go, but in most countries as Marcos points out the State Deparment info is almost always exaggerated. I agree with staying out of the big cities and that can be said of any big city in Latin America (or in the US for that matter). If you avoid the capitol city statistically you have a greater chance of being murdered in Denver than rural Guatamala. Even so, use normal common sense when traveling especially in places like Guatamala.

Everyone worries about crime, but as mentioned by Marcos it's the drivers (whether car or bus) that are really scary anywhere in Latin America.

Anyway, I'll be in Guatamala in a few weeks (arriving in Guatamala from Honduras on December 21), but we'll be in the southeastern part. When were you looking to be there?
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Re: Guatemala Volcano climbing

Postby gopilot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:31 pm

Here's a page with several guide services.
http://www.xelapages.com/tours.htm

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