Welcome to Antigua
Just an hour from Guatemala City Airport, you’ll start and end the program with a few days in Antigua. The former capital of Guatemala, Antigua, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – an immaculately preserved colonial city with cobbled streets and ringed by spectacular volcanoes.
Antigua is also the party town of Guatemala. Cool bars and cafes boasting craft beers and single origin coffees plus lots to enjoy outside the city such as day trips to visit Mayan villages around Lake Atitlan as well as the coffee plantations.
Here we’ve linked up with a wonderful organisation called Cambio/Nino’s de Guatemala (NDG). NDG run not for profit commercial enterprises across the world and put all the money into funding schools for kids in Guatemala who would otherwise lack adequate education.
To get you accliamatise pre-volcano climb you will spend a few days here, living with a local family, learning some spanish and exploring the sights, including visiting the Jade museum and walking around Antigua Old Town.
While here you will take part in vital reforestation efforts in Antigua replanting trees into the national parks to encourage new growth. You will work in your Leap team and work alongside the locals where you will make a real collaborative conservation effort here in beautiful Antigua. This reforestation project is called "Vivero de Cerro del Machen".
Before embarking on the big trek you will go on a tour of a coffee plantation and visit markets and shops to buy items for the volcano hike.
The Big Trek
Within the first week in Antigua, you will take time out to climb the Acatenago Volcano (3967m) or the Pacaya Volcano (whether dependent). The Pacaya Volcano is a slightly easier option but it is still spectacular and you get up close to molten lava. The Pacaya option is a one day trek so you would return back for the night at Adra hostel and have the next day off. The Acatenago however is an overnight hike with Tropico.
The trek up takes about 4.5 hours and be prepared – it’s steep, so go slowly. There will be plenty of rest breaks and the scenery is absolutely stunning, initially climbing through pasture, then into virgin rainforest and finally above the tree line into the volcanic area.
As you near base camp you’ll start to witness the active volcano called Fuego, which is about 850m away - erupting large plumes of ash and fire – absolutely stunning and sounding like thunder.
Base camp is about an hour from the summit, here you go for a sunset walk to watch Fuego in all its glory, before having supper and camping for the night.
You’ll start the summit trek at 4 am the next morning, which involves a 1-hour trek to the top to catch sunrise. You then start the descent which will take about 3 hours.
This climb will be tough due to the altitude but it is absolutely stunning so worth getting fit for.
When you return back from the volcano hike you will then be doing some Spanish lessons.
Adra Hostel in Antigua
2 man tents for the climb