Tower above the countrys rugged landscape. Ascents
are rewarded by a spectacular view, but each volcano also offers
something unique and entirely its own.
Of them all, only a few remain active. Their silhouettes
are constantly reshaped by the powerful eruptions that breach the
Agua, Fuego & Acatenango
Perhaps the most frequently photographed volcanoes
in Guatemala, these three volcanoes match over the colonial town
of Antigua Guatemala. The stark cones of Agua and Acatenango attest
to their slumbering old age. While the bare peak of Fuego and the
small ash clouds rising from its summit are evidence of continuing
activity. Hikes and birdwatching tours to Agua Volcano are offer
by MayanTravel in Antigua.
An active, unpredictable volcano, Pacaya dumped tons
of volcanic sand and ash on Guatemala City in 1998. This volcano
provides a constant show of ash clouds and lava flow.
Tolimán, Atitlán & San Pedro
These three majestic volcanoes towering above Lake
Atltlan, from the natural dam that contains the lake. At Night,
spectacular displays of lightning are sometimes seen beyond their
cones. A samller colcano, called Cerro de Oro, on the south side
of the lake once contained a Maya fortress in its crater.
Santa María and Santiaguito
Santa Maria is perhaps Guatemalas most beautiful
volcano, whose stately presence from the lovely backdrop of the
city of Quetzaltenango. Santiaguito, Guatemalas youngest and
most dangerous volcano emerged on Santa Maris southern flank
with a fierce eruption in 1902. The volcano frequently spouts enormous
clouds of ash, which can often be seen form Quetzaltenango. At night,
fro the south coast below, lava can be observed flowing from Santiaguitos
crater. Its best not to get too close, but a safe view of
the crater can be had from the top of Santa Maria, for those who
dont mind a steep, four-hour climb and camping overnight on
a windswept peak.
Found near Quetzaltenango, this volcano features a
small lake with emerald green water in its crater. A sacred site
for local inhabitants, the lakes forested shore has a number
of moss-covered wooden crosses placed the trees. The lake can be
reached in an easy day hike of about two hours.
Found in the eastern department of Jutiapa, Ixtepeque
is known for the quantities of black obsidian on its slopes. Prized
by pre-Hispanic civilizations as a raw material for weapons, utensils
and jewelry, the Ixtepeque obsidian is belived to have been traded
throughout Guatemala. El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico.
Tajumulco & Tacaná
Tajumulco is Central Americas tallest volcano
at 4,220 meters, although seldom visited, the climb to the top is
relatively easy, taking visitors through hamlets of shepherds and
delightful pine glades, which are great places to pitch a tent and
set up camp. Be forewarned, it gets very cold at night, so pack
accordingly. The hardest part of the climb is the brief, but very
steep, final ascent of the cone. The view from the summit is unsurpassed.
Tacanà, on the Mexican border is not as tall, but is a difficult
climb that attracts both Mexican and Guatemalan mountaineers.