The three volcanoes towering over the town of Antigua, Guatemala sure are pretty to look at. But you know what?  They are even better to climb!

The colors, the history, the food, and culture are the major factors for the huge tourist market that is Antigua. But for active travelers (like me) the allure of adventures near this colonial city is what really sets it apart from other places.

If you are seeking out action packed adventures while traveling in Guatemala, Antigua is a fantastic place to base yourself. Getting to other parts of Guatemala is easy from Antigua, making it an adventure tourism hub. Many companies head out on tons of different tours all over Guatemala everyday, but there are also plenty of places to enjoy some outdoor activities in Antigua (or very close)!

Hike Cerro de la Cruz

This cross on a hill overlooking Antigua provides beautiful views of the city in an easy-moderate hike. There are steps most of the way up, and should take about 15-20 minutes. Robberies were becoming an issue, so make sure to go during the day when there is a strong police presence.  If you are not quite comfortable going up on your own, the police lead free group tours to the top two times a day.

Check out my experience walking up Cerro de la Cruz on my own. 

Make Your Way Up Active Pacaya Volcano

Pacaya Volcano, Sunset, Hike

One of the more accessible hikes around Antigua, heading to the top of active Pacaya Volcano provides you with a great workout, fantastic views of three volcanoes, and possibly some lava! Ten dollars gets you a bus to Pacaya, a guide up the mountain, and a ride home. The hike itself should take about three-four hours round trip. Tours are offered two times a day, in the morning and late afternoon. I recommend the late afternoon hike so you can watch the sunset from the top of the volcano!

Mountain Bike to the Beautiful Earth Lodge

Earth Lodge, Guatemala

photo by Adam Baker via Flickr

Head out on a tour with Ox Expeditions to Earth Lodge, about a 20 minute drive from Antigua. This lodge has some of the best food, views, and coolest accommodations around. Enjoy a lunch at the lodge then bike back to Antigua!

Tour the Guatemala City Garbage Dump

Garbage Dump, Guatemala City

Not a traditional active adventure, but this tour of the Guatemala City Garbage Dump and Safe Passage Schools is definitely something to check out while you are in town. Safe Passage is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the children and families who live in the garbage dump. On this full day tour you see the garbage dump from above, explore the area around it, and get to hang out with kids.

Tours are only on Thursdays and include lunch at school with the kids. It was an eye-opening experience for me that I am glad I was able to see.

Hike Acatenango Volcano

Photo by Lenox Yim via

Photo by Lenox Yim via

Either as a day trip or overnight trip, Acatenango is one of the coolest volcanoes in Central America to ascend. A challenging and steep four hour hike, it is worth it to go on a trip that spends the night at the top to see both the sunrise and sunset! Various tour outfitters around town offer  this hike, so shop around!

*Old Town Outfitters is the most well known adventure tour company in town that offers many hiking, biking, climbing, kayaking and water tours in Antigua and Guatemala.*

[divider]What Antigua active adventures would you add to this list?[/divider]