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“Awesome views of Santiaguito!”

Santa Maria Volcano
Experience for Yourself
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Hike to Santa Maria Volcano from Quetzaltenango
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Kalispell, Montana
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Awesome views of Santiaguito!”
Reviewed 11 May 2013

There is nothing cooler than watching a volcano errupt, and Santiaguito errupts a couple times an hour! What more can you ask for??

Visited April 2013
Thank alan g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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130 reviews from our community

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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
76 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“A Must-do if staying in Xela”
Reviewed 28 April 2013

You can see Santa Maria towering over Xela from certain points in the city, so when I found out you could hike it, I had to sign up. I went though my Spanish school, Celas Maya and along the way we joined with a group from Adrenalina. It took us a little over 3 hours to hike up and a little over 2 to get down. Wear good shoes and thick socks. It can get a little dusty up there as well. And if you start to hurt, take a look at some of the Guatemalans doing the same hike. We saw a lot of ladies wearing the native dress and sandals (and some wearing heels!), and a few carrying their small children. I went in April when it's typically cloudy, so I wasn't able to get some of the awesome views people talk about, but it was still amazing to be above the clouds.

Visited April 2013
2 Thank Kate M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Moderate hike but worth every sore muscle if the weather is good”
Reviewed 17 April 2013

I think we caught Santa Maria on the perfect day, with amazing weather that gave us an epic view of Xela, the chain of Volcanoes, and a live eruption of a nearby cone that was breathtaking.

The climb up took us 3 hours, and while not what I would consider a difficult hike, it's a good idea to be in decent shape to enjoy the trek to it's fullest and not be cursing the idea. It's a switchback all the way up with a couple relatively steep sections, but there's no harm in taking breaks as needed, and you'll hit a few incredible lookout points on your journey to the top. Once you reach the summit, it's worth relaxing for an hour or more to have lunch and watch the neighboring volcano spew ash and smoke from it's cone before taking the descent.

Going down is always harder simply due to the fact that your legs will be a bit tired and the sun will start to get hot, but I'd say it's absolutely worth the effort. I would recommend trying to plan for good, clear weather however. If it's overcast, once you get to the top you may not find the view worth the hike.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Sean E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
victoria, BC, Canada
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Brutal uphill, but the views make up for it.”
Reviewed 5 April 2013

I am 54 and overweight. The hike was a challenge. I travelled with Adrenalina, which is not the best of the outfits around. They picked me up on time at 5 a.m., but had failed to write down that the other person being picked up was in Zona 3. A lot of muddling for a half hour until they found her.

The trail was taxing from the beginning. The guide tried to persuade us that I could not make the summit, and that we do the half-day mirador hike. The other hiker was fit and had no problem either with the grade or the height. She worked for the Forest Service in Oregon, so this hike was basically just a walk in the woods for her. I told the guide that his position was contrary to what we had paid for, and we continued.

Eventually I made it to the top, the guide grumbling all the way up about how much time I was taking and that he had plans for the afternoon. I told him that he was quite welcome to leave; I could speak sufficient Spanish to make my way back to Xela. He did stay, to his credit, but was rather forlorn.

The view from the top was spectacular - a row of majestic volcanoes stretching to the south. The clouds had rolled in by the time I reached the top, so my view of Santiaguito was obscured. However, one could hear and then see the plume of smoke from its frequent eruptions.

There were a number of Guatamaltecos on the summit, as it is a spiritual site. Prayers were being offered and bonfires had been lit.

The trek down was very slippery as the frost the decked the trail in the morning had all melted, making the trail "muy resbalidazo". Totally mudded my jeans on the way down.

To get back to Xela one has to take a pick up truck that comes by about every hour to the first main intersection that one comes across when going down the road from the trail head.

Apparently, there was a robbery towards the summit on the weekend before I went up. Two guys, one with a gun, or what appeared to be a gun, relieved both foreigners and locals of money, cameras etc...

Visited February 2013
3 Thank bopenyan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eugene, Oregon
Level Contributor
29 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Full moon hike is gorgeous!”
Reviewed 29 March 2013

The hike up is pretty hard and a new record for me for vertical gain over horizontal distance (about 1300m up over 7Km), and I hike professionally. The views from the top are well worth it though. Absolutely beautiful! And seeing the volcano erupting below you is quite unique I think. Nothing like looking down on lava in the twilight before sunrise, and then watching the landscape reveal itself as the sun comes up!

Visited February 2013
1 Thank 0theories
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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