Sunrise Volcano Hike in Guatemala
By Ginny Figlar, KEEN Editorial Director
At KEEN, anytime we can get out of the office, we try to make the most of it.
Our last night in Guatemala was a late one—sharing stories and, for some of us, battling stomach issues—when our host, Giorgio, said goodnight and told us he’d be back the next morning to pick us up at 4:45.
After long days filming and conducting interviews, let’s face it…setting the alarm for 4:15/4:30 was a bit painful. But our small KEEN team had traveled to the Volcán Atitlán area of Guatemala for a few days of work, and we definitely wanted to work in some fun—as in hiking through lush rainforest to catch a sunrise view of Fuego volcano, a constantly active stratovolcano in an impressive mountain range that includes all of Guatemala’s 37 volcanoes.
After four-wheeling as far as we could go, we headed up to the overlook on foot for a brisk morning hike. The trail was completely overgrown, the mosquitoes were very happy to see us, and I vowed to bring full-length hiking pants next time.
Our prize for rolling out of bed in the dark: Taking in the silent beauty of twilight while perched above a still-sleeping town.
We raced the sun up there and won. Our prize for rolling out of bed in the dark: Taking in the silent beauty of twilight while perched above a still-sleeping town. And moments later, Fuego came to life! We were stoked to witness an almost-cyclical exhalation of this fiery giant.
After two hours, it was hard to peel our eyes away from the smoking volcano and head back down the trail. But there was a 3-hour drive ahead and a plane to catch. And I’m so glad we didn’t hit the snooze button.
If You Go: Five Must-Brings
A Long Camera Lens
Volcanoes are hot, so you might not want to get too close to capture details. If you’re lucky, you might even see a bit of lava at Fuego’s rim.
If anything, you at least feel like you are giving yourself a fighting chance.
Get to know this function on your phone, camera, or GoPro ahead of time. It’s the perfect time to finally use it!
Never miss the sunrise or sunset, unless you sleep through it.
OTC “traveler’s tummy” meds
Unless you speak fluent Spanish, it’ll be way easier to pick up before you go.