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WATCH: Kraig Adams’s Guide to Solo Hiking Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala

YouTuber Kraig Adams lays out what it’s like to hike Guatemala’s volcanoes.

Credit: Kevin Sebold/Wikimedia

It’s definitely encouraged to stay home in the middle of the pandemic. But, YouTuber Kraig Adams’s most recent video details the ways in which he managed to explore the world while remaining in social isolation.

He traveled to Guatemala, to complete Acatenango Volcano’s overnight hike. He experienced the views of the summit, and neighboring Volcan Fuego’s eruptions, and made sure to outline to his YouTube subscribers exactly how he did it.

Adams recommends packing one hiking backpack and one small duffel so that no bags must be checked at the airport. Somewhere in those bags, make sure to pack a hat, gloves, and good windbreaker, along with a sleeping bag and your liner.

For food, Adams managed to make it through the overnight hike with one liter of water, two bananas, one beef jerky, and two chocolate bars.

Round trip tickets from New York City to Guatemala City Airport cost $600, and Adams converted $100 upon his arrival in Guatemala.

The taxi ride from the airport to Antigua costs $35 and takes about an hour and a half with traffic.

Adams chose to book a one night stay at Hotel Camelias Inn for $50. While relaxing on the patio, you can see the lava on the tip of the mountain!

After a restful sleep, pack your bags and get ready to leave the hotel. Perhaps get some coffee, or a nice meal—Adams did both at Fat Cat Café—and call your Uber.

The Uber ride to La Solidad takes about an hour from Antigua, and cost about $15.

Once you’ve arrived at the mountain, Adams recommends picking up a chocolate bar or two from the local stores before the hike.

Once ready to go, walk a few minutes up the road to find the trailhead’s beginning. This begins your five-mile hike to the summit.

Credit: zaxl4/Wikimedia

Acatenango is split into five regions. The hike begins at an elevation of around 2,340 metres, where all is Farmland. At about 2,745 metres, you’ll hit the Tropical Cloud Rainforest. From there, the High Alpine Forest comes at around 3,350 metres, and you’ll be hiking from 3,650-3,963 metres in the Volcanic section.

Adams calls the transition from Farmland into the Tropical Cloud Forest a step into a more “jungly-vibe.”

This is where you’ll make it to the registration are of the hike. For $8, you’ll pay the entrance fee and fill out an information form. Make sure you’re wearing your mask.

Adams saw no people on his hike to the summit, though he did see a few stray dogs here and there. This made for perfect social distancing.

After hiking five miles, you reach the summit. Adams notes that the wind will get more intense, and the constant gain of elevation makes the hike a bit of a challenge.

Once he reached the summit, Adams walked the loop of the volcano crater, getting to see the little eruptions of Fuego from across the way.

Spend some time at the summit, perhaps watch the sun go down, and then make your descent. Adams notes that it can get very dark and foggy as the sun sets, so take care when descending the volcano’s steep and loose slope in the darkness.

Adams also recommends using a GPS location app—he used Alltrails—to keep you safe.

After a total of 6.5 miles hiked, you’ll hit the Acatenango Base Camp at about 11,700 feet. You may see some other hikers here, Adams did, but make sure to keep your distance…we are still in a pandemic after all. 

When the fog disappears, you can get some really great views of Fuego erupting in the darkness. But, these eruptions might annoy you later, as you’ll have to deal with them around every thirty minutes or so as you try to sleep.

When you awake on your second and final day, the hike is a four-mile journey down the volcano. Adams noted that this only took him an hour, though he was “practically trail-running.”

He stopped at a small farmhouse café near the trailhead before boarding a bus to La Solidad, where he headed to Antigua. He made it in around two hours, and the whole trip only cost $2.

Adams booked two extra nights at a hotel in Antigua, so he could tour, eat, drink, and sight-see. He recommends you “treat yourself” and do the same. 

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