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Acatenango hike recommendations please!

Auckland, New...
Level Contributor
30 posts
37 reviews
10 helpful votes
Acatenango hike recommendations please!
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Hi All,

My wife and I will be in Antigua in January this year and are looking at doing the two-day hike up Acatenango. Prices seem to differ widely - several offer all-inclusive tours for 350Q, others are well over 1000Q. We don't need luxury, but equally we don't want to be at the top of the mountain and find that our tent is full of holes (and we don't speak Spanish).

Recommendations as to whether paying more is worth it and for quality English-speaking tour agencies would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Paris, Canada
Level Contributor
11,172 posts
21 reviews
50 helpful votes
1. Re: Acatenango hike recommendations please!
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We went with OX. $89 + a few dollars for a sleeping bag. They also gave us winter coats. We liked our guide but they are volunteers so they change all the time. Tough but amazing climb. Make sure you are acclimatized. The views are incredible and seeing Fuego erupt breathtaking.

www.oxexpeditions.com/AcatenangoOvernight.php

A local guide is being mentioned a lot (Guilmer). Just read some reviews on Tripadvisor. I can't vouch for him but people make him sound great. Not sure what he charges but probably less than OX.

Crowsnest Pass...
Level Contributor
1,047 posts
12 reviews
10 helpful votes
2. Re: Acatenango hike recommendations please!
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You get what you pay for. The budget ones (easily booked through your hostel the day before) basically give you transportation, a Spanish speaking guide for the group (up to 20 people), some food, and tents/sleeping bags of variable condition. The highest priced ones (Old Time Outfitters and Ox Outfitters) are close to all inclusive. I went with the middle of the road. The company was NEWay tours.

https://www.facebook.com/NEWay.Tours/

They use local Spanish speaking guides from the village at the base of the volcano. At least one of the owners speaks fluent English. It isn't that big a deal if you don't speak Spanish because its likely that someone else in your group will. I did ask what happens if someone requests an English speaking guide, and was told that a translator would be sent but the local guide from La Soledad would be in charge. I didn't ask how much extra it would cost.

No matter who you go with, be prepared:

- It gets cold at night. I went the beginning of February and it was -4 with a strong wind at the top. There was frost at the campsite (about 3/4 of the way up).

- If you come from sea level the altitude might get to you (almost 4,000 meters at the top)

- If you choose the budget option, bring extra snacks.

- Most outfitters recommend about 4 liters of water - which you have to carry.

- Some of the higher priced options offer porters to carry your stuff. If you don't use that option make sure that you have a pack big enough to carry your stuff (water, clothes, etc) plus a sleeping bag, sleeping mat and possibly a tent or parts of one. I witnessed people carrying sleeping bags or tent parts in their hands as their packs weren't big enough.

Auckland, New...
Level Contributor
30 posts
37 reviews
10 helpful votes
3. Re: Acatenango hike recommendations please!
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Thanks for the recommendations!

I had seen a few posts about Guilmer too, although I feel a little nervous using someone with no online presence / trip advisor reviews...

Any other recommendations for tour companies, appreciated.

New York City, New...
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4 posts
19 reviews
13 helpful votes
4. Re: Acatenango hike recommendations please!
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We have compared a few companies...Q125 being the cheapest and all seemed to offer the same thing. Food is the main differentiation, but still lacking even with the more expensive companies. None of the companies we checked included porters, and were an extra charge. We climbed by ourselves, but we saw the guy we talked to for Q125 on the mountain (spoke English). The trail is straightforward so even Spanish is ok. Just follow the group and eat what they give you. Bring your own snacks as it won't be enough.

Crowsnest Pass...
Level Contributor
1,047 posts
12 reviews
10 helpful votes
5. Re: Acatenango hike recommendations please!
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"...Q125 being the cheapest and all seemed to offer the same thing."

Except for....

- food

- transportation

- group size

- quality of tents and sleeping bags

- number of guides per tourist

- guide (experience, local, from Antigua, or imported)

You might get a great trip with the budget tours but you may not. Your chances of being in a small group with a good guide definitely are higher if you pay more than Q125. Think about it. The transportation costs something. The food costs something. The equipment costs something. Your driver and guide need to get paid.

Ox uses foreign guides. Old Time Outfitters uses guides from Antigua. NEWay Tours uses local guides. If you are on a tight budget go with the budget tour but be prepared and you'll probably have a great time. It would be hard not to. Its a great experience. However, if you have a little more money, go for quality and enjoy your time even more.

6. Re: Acatenango hike recommendations please!

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