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“Strenuous but entirely worth it”
Review of Volcan San Pedro

Volcan San Pedro
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$89.99*
and up
San Pedro Volcano Hiking Tour from Panajachel in Guatemala
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Strenuous but entirely worth it”
Reviewed February 27, 2014

I'll preface this review by saying that we planned to do this hike before we came to Atitlan, then were talked out of doing it by hearing stories from other travelers and reviews here, then opted to do the hike after no guides were available for another one. If you're doubting your ability - do it!

We booked through Asotour via our hotel in Santa Cruz and paid $25 per person (about Q200 per person) for a guide, entrance and tuk-tuk transfers to and from. We got to the trailhead around 8:00 AM, and I'd recommend going even earlier if possible to ensure the clouds don't roll in by the afternoon.

We were prepared for a strenuous hike, and its definitely challenging. It combines 5000 ft of climbing (think 3 hrs on a stairmaster at a 60 degree pitch) with high elevation (peak is ~9,000 ft) and we were definitely not adjusted to the elevation so respiration was difficult.

We're in our 20s/30s and I consider myself in good shape (I run 3-5 miles a couple of times a week) but my husband is pretty much the opposite. It took us 3 hours up, 1.5 down and we were both gassed by the end. Our guide said that was a pretty average pace.

We actually brought more water than we needed (3L per person - 2L would have been fine) and you should definitely bring snacks - purchasing by the boat dock is easy. Sunscreen and bug spray is also a good idea, although most of the trail is well-shaded.

The trail itself is fairly well marked - you could probably do it without a guide but you should get one to support the local economy and in case someone gets hurt. But I wouldn't call the trail in excellent condition. Hiking boots would be great especially if the weather is/has been bad, but we did it with running shoes with no problem.

Visited February 2014
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1 Thank Adriana P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Tough, but would definitely do it again!”
Reviewed February 19, 2014

I am a seasoned hiker and this climb was much tougher than expected, but definitely worth it. It is basically 3 hrs of the stairmaster with beautiful views. The first part of the hike is through a coffee plantation, and the rest is through the jungle, where you are mostly shielded from the sun.

Recommendations:
1) Go early in the morning (we started climbing at 9:30 and this was too late), as clouds will cover the top of the mountain and you will miss out on the amazing view, as we did
2) Go the cheap route: take the boat to San Pedro, then a tuk-tuk to the park and you can get a guide there (which is recommended, mostly for safety reasons I think, as it's hard to get lost on the trail).
3) Bring lots of water. We had 1.2 L each, and this was not enough. This is all available in San Pedro when you get off the boat.
4) There are only 2 'designated' rest stops on the way up (the first at the 1hr mark, then right before the summit), so take breaks when needed. Going from 1500 to 3000 metres can be taxing for some individuals who have never climbed as high.

Enjoy the workout! =)

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Jadwiga K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DC
Level Contributor
64 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Train for this one!”
Reviewed February 18, 2014

We are 58 and 47, respectively, and with a 32-year-old friend, we just did this climb. We had trained for a year with longer and longer hikes and as steep as we could find, though in our area, going over 3,000 feet is not possible. The training really paid off in that going up was really no problem at all, even though we did most of it in the dark. We really felt fine after hiking up. Coming down was another story. Especially for me. I find going downhill much harder than uphill. Even using a trekking pole for balance, I slipped a lot on the dry leaves, acorns, and volcanic soil. Got to the point that my legs were shaking and it was really hard to step down. As soon as I reached level ground, I was OK though tired. Next day we were all sore. If you are fit, you will be fine going up and we saw plenty of people having no trouble going down the hill.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank FlightDelayed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tahoe City, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“An Incredible Experience”
Reviewed February 16, 2014

We looked at many schools prior to our trip to Guatemala and thank God we chose this one as there are many to choose from. The setting is over the top - in a triopical like jungle garden near the lake with views of the mountains and lake. Each one-on-one classroom is scattered throughout with some being palapas, outdoor tables and open rooms to the gardens. Each is private and you don't see or hear the other students and instructors, making the 4 hour class intimate and without distractions. The teachers, administrative staff, and support staff are friendly, supportive and professional. Everyone person that works there, from the administrators, instructors and café staff, is involved in your spanish education. Each person interacts with you throughout your day and encourages you to speak. My husband and I each had a different instructor fitting our personal needs and personality. We each coimpleted a form when checking in as to what we wanted. My husband wanted total conversation and a somewhat spontaneous daily class and he couldn't have been more pleased with his instructor, Tosho. My wonderful teacher, Estella, was structured and had a daily plan for me progressing each day into more advanced grammar and the explanation for the whys and why-nots of the language. I couldn't have been more pleased. Even though we had taken Spanish for many years, we both learned so much from this school and became very attached to our teachers. At our request, our teachers each took us on several field trips to the market, across the lake to another village, shopping for food, meeting their families and giving us the confidence to interact with the lovely people of Lake Atitlan. (We encourage you to ask your instructor to do this.) Everywhere we went we were told we were in the best Spanish School in San Pedro. Besides the daily classroom sessions, the school offers evening 45 minute conversation where you break into similar ability groups with an instructor and just have fun and interact with each other. Super fun!!!! Also, there were movies about Guatemalan history and salsa dance classes after the Club Conversation. The school provides you with so many different opportunities to learn and improve. Much more than we expected!! I wish we could give a higher score to San Pedro Spanish School and the staff!. One of the best trips and experiences of our lives. You'll love it!!!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Kathy H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Beautiful forest!”
Reviewed February 15, 2014

I climed if first on LSD, it took us 8 hours because we kept getting distracted by the beauty. We saw a humming bird singing tucans dancing and swung on vines 15m into the air! If you go swing on the vines there are 2 good ones. The view at the top is absolutely immense. The earlier in the day you do it the better because clouds cover the top in the arvo. I loved it so much i did it twice and the second time we camped, there is a good camping spot 20 minutes from the top!

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank AlexMurray_Australia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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