Things to do in Sacatepéquez Department

Our most recommended things to do in Sacatepéquez Department

From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Trek

1. From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Trek

Walk for 2 hours to the summit of Pacaya Volcano and enjoy stunning views. Leave from Antigua for a 1-hour bus journey to the volcano's base before immediately starting your 2-hour trek with your local guide. Hike through wonderful pine forests up to the trickier volcanic ash section and finally to the sulfur smoking cone. On occasion, you can even see small eruptions and lava flowing, depending on the activity of the volcano. From the summit, you can enjoy great views of the nearby volcanoes, Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango, the pacific lowlands, and all the way to El Salvador. To ensure your safety you won’t be able to visit the crater, but you will get an amazing view of red-hot lava flowing and steam baths created by the heat of Pacaya. Take a break and relax here as you take in more scenic views before hiking back to the base of the volcano, from where you will transfer back to your accommodation. 

Overnight Volcano Acatenango Hiking Adventure

2. Overnight Volcano Acatenango Hiking Adventure

Volcano Acatenango is the sleeping giant, and a twin of the most active volcano in Guatemala. Acatenango is the third highest volcano in all of Central America and it is a real adventure to hike to the top. It gives you the best location to observe the sunset and the sunrise. Sleeping overnight in the base camp of the volcano will be unique experience. Its highest summit is 3,976m (13,044 ft). The itinerary of the trip is broken into two days. Day 1 will begin at 9:00 AM, with a shuttle from Antigua to La Soledad village. The tour guide will pick you up at your hotel. Your hike will begin at 11:00 AM and will continue for approximately 5 hours. You will reach base camp by 17:00 PM in time to watch the sunset. The second day will begin at 4:00 AM, as an hour's hike to the summit will provide a great view of the sunrise. Breakfast will be served back at base camp and the trek will start around 8:30 AM downwards toward the village. Reaching the village by 11:30 AM, you will have some time to look around before the transfer to Antigua. The tour finishes here by 12:30 PM, giving you the rest of your day. 

Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike

3. Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike

This 2-day/1-night hike brings you up the slopes of beautiful Volcan Acatenango to our private campsite – bench-cut into the side of this towering mountain. From here we enjoy our camp meals, incredible views, and plenty of room to stretch out. In camp there we will have ample time to appreciate the sights and sounds of nearby Volcan Fuego’s violent volcano eruptions. On the morning of the 2rd day, our group will summit Acatenango’s peak (3,975m/12,720ft - the third highest volcano in Guatemala), taking in panoramic views from atop the summit. Finally, we will descend back down through a myriad of microclimates to return to Antigua by early afternoon. Day 1: Hike To Camp Our group leaves from the Old Town Outfitters Shop at 8:00am, where you can fill up your water bottles and purchase any additional gear you might need. Hikers should eat breakfast beforehand and pack a small snack for the road. A one-hour drive takes us from Antigua to the sleepy mountain village of La Soledad, perched on the ridge of the Pacific slope of Volcan Acatenango. The trail up Volcan Acatenango has four distinct microclimates, each of which will take you about an hour to traverse. We’ll begin by walking up a steep trail through local farm fields - the same trail used by local villagers each morning to access their corn, snow pea and lily fields. Our first hour of hiking will help you acclimatize and warm up the leg muscles for the day’s hike. The second phase of our ascent passes through old-growth tropical cloud forest. In this environmental zone, we find some of Acatenango’s oldest trees, an incredible biodiversity of flora and fauna, fresh mountain air and the sounds of local birds and wildlife. This type of high-alpine cloud forest is found on the upper slopes of many of Guatemala’s tallest volcanoes and mountains, and is home to the famous Quetzal. After exiting the cloud forest, we will be rewarded with fantastic views of the other highland volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman, San Pedro, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas, Tajamulco), along with glimpses of the Cuchumatanes mountain chain. A fresh picnic is prepared mid-day for our group to enjoy. Temperate coniferous forest and tropical dry forest characterize the 3rd phase of our ascent, which will lead us to the storm-beaten tree-line of the volcano. Our campsite is perched just below tree-line with sweeping views of the Antigua valley and Volcan Fuego. After setting up camp, hikers are free to rest, relax and enjoy their surroundings while our guide prepares a fresh camp dinner at ~3750m with hot tea and coffee. Day 2: Summiting Acatenango In the morning, after an early camp breakfast, our group embarks on a 45-minute ascent to the summit on a sand and gravel scree-trail dotted with dwarf pine trees and high alpine mosses. The trail up to the summit is the steepest we will have seen, and leads to the rocky summit exposed to the gusty and cold winds which constantly pass over Acatenango’s peak. At the summit, our group will rest and enjoy unparalleled 360-degree views of the entirety of the Guatemalan highlands – all the way to the border of Mexico. After 45min at the top (depending on conditions and time considerations), the group will begin the 3-hour descent back towards La Soledad. Our group has the opportunity to descend through an alternate route down Volcan Acatenango, experiencing a variety of microclimates and beautiful trail. From La Soledad, we will transport back to Antigua, arriving in the afternoon with plenty of time for you to enjoy the delights of the old Spanish colonial capital (~13:00hrs).

From Guatemala City or Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Tour

4. From Guatemala City or Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Tour

Come and see the Pacaya Volcano: the most active volcano in Guatemala at 2,500 meters (more than 8,000 feet). Witness spectacular views of the lagoon of Calderas and three other volcanoes: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. The surrounding area is an experience unto itself, composed in large part of humid forest and rocks. After a walk through volcanic sand paths, with great views of the volcanoes and unique vegetation, you´ll arrive at the plateau where you can see the main crater of the volcano. Today, you can't visit the crater of the volcano for security reasons, but you will see the lava (if active) and some steam baths created by the heat of the Pacaya Volcano. At the volcano, you'll have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the volcano. After a thrilling day of exploration and dramatic views, you will arrive back at your hotel.

From Antigua: 3 Mayan Villages on Lake Atitlan Day Tour

5. From Antigua: 3 Mayan Villages on Lake Atitlan Day Tour

This is a real immersion in the Mayan culture and you will see the lifestyle of the Mayan people. See how ancient technology is used for textile manufacture as you visit three Mayan villages around Lake Atitlan. The departure is from Antigua, with a 2.5-hour drive to Panajachel (Lake Atitlán). Then, visit San Juan la Laguna, San Pedro, and Santiago Atitlan, returning at the end to Panajachel. This is a round trip around Lake Atitlan, and there will be a one-hour stop in every town. Admire the colorful town of San Juan. Visit its attractions down the main streets such as galleries and women's coops, and witness a chocolate and coffee production demo. Then, explore San Pedro. A small town populated by Mayan Tzutujil. Discover its interesting sights and learn about the local culture there. Lastly, make a stop in Santiago Atitlán, where you can make a visit to a deity revered by the locals and visitors. Its market day is very colorful, and you can visit Santiago Apóstol Parish Church, built in the colonial times in the Renaissance style.

From Antigua: 1-Day Guatemala-Pacaya Active Volcano Hike

6. From Antigua: 1-Day Guatemala-Pacaya Active Volcano Hike

After pick-up from your hotel in Antigua arrive at the foot of the volcano. From there your expert guide will lead you on a 1-hour hike from the San Vicente de Pacaya village up to a distance of approximately 50 meters from the crater. Look down into the crater at the lava as you experience the energy of an active volcano. Note the fumaroles, vents in the earth through which gases escape. Learn about Pacaya Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala, and observe how it has shaped the country around it. At 2500 meters above sea level wander through an unusual landscape of humid forest and rocks.  Before transfer back to your hotel in Antigua visit the Lava Store to buy souvenirs made from the volcanic ash produced by the mountain. 

From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Hike

7. From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Hike

Volcano Pacaya (8370ft/2552m) may not be Guatemala’s highest peak, however its slopes and unique landscapes are certainly of some of the most impressive volcanic landscapes in all of Central America. Set in its own National Park, Pacaya is a storybook volcano with a continuous plume of smoke drifting from its summit and a massive dried lava field forming the valley at the base of its caldera. The group meets in Antigua at 08:00 (for a morning hike) or 14:00 (for a sunset hike) – where drinking water, bathroom facilities, and retail outdoor equipment are available. Your drive to the trailhead is just over 1 hour in private transport from Antigua to the Park Office. As the group moves up the myriad of trails on the mountain, Guatemala’s impressive vistas open up before you. As you reach the base of the caldera, your guide will direct the group through the rugged dried lava fields, recently reformed by a massive eruption in 2010. No matter what conditions you encounter on the mountain, the group will have the opportunity to traverse unique volcanic-rock landscapes as you ascend towards the peak. Here the group will stop for a freshly prepared picnic to enjoy along with views of nearby volcanoes Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. There will be plenty of opportunity to explore geothermal hot-spots on the cooled lava formations – which are always available to help roast marshmallows! The hike down brings across the remaining dried lava fields before you begin your descent through Pacaya’s lush and lesser known forests and farmland. After your hike down to the trailhead, the group returns to Antigua by private transport to arrive in town at roughly 16:00 (day hike) or 20:30 (sunset hike).

Antigua Guatemala Full–Day Walking Tour from Puerto Quetzal

8. Antigua Guatemala Full–Day Walking Tour from Puerto Quetzal

Antigua Guatemala is the best-preserved colonial city in Latin America. Tourists visit every year from around the world to enjoy its natural beauty and historic monuments. The Spanish Colonial style permeates every part of the town: its houses, churches, squares, parks and ruins, also its traditions and folklore. Antigua is a city of charm and color with an overwhelming variety of attractive, handmade products that honor the traditions of generations of artisans. Start with a 3–hour walking tour with a visit to La Merced Church, one of the most important churches in Antigua. Explore one of the distinguishable landmarks in Antigua Guatemala, Santa Catalina Arch. Built in the 17th century, originally it was connected to the convent of Santa Catalina, allowing the cloistered nuns to pass from one building to the other without going out on the street. Walk through Central Park to appreciate the The Cathedral of San Jose. The original church was built around 1541, but suffered several earthquakes throughout its history, and the first church building was demolished in 1669. The cathedral was rebuilt and consecrated in 1680. By 1743 the cathedral was one of the largest in Central America. Continue to a Jade Factory where you can appreciate the sacred stone of the Mayan civilization. After some free time to buy souvenirs, return to Puerto Quetzal to board your cruise.

Combo Tour: Colonial Antigua & Guatemala City Explorer Tour

9. Combo Tour: Colonial Antigua & Guatemala City Explorer Tour

You will be picked up at your hotel in Guatemala City before transferring to Antigua Guatemala to meet your local guide and begin your soft walking of approximately 3 hours. Below is a brief summary of the attractions you will see on your way: La Merced Church of Guatemalan Ultrabaroque style. This temple has two bell towers and on the facade of the church in its upper part is a sculpture of San Pedro Nolasco, founder of the Mercedarian Order.Santa Catalina Arch. Built to connect the nuns between cloisters to avoid being seen due to the votes that the religious order took. After the earthquakes of 1773, the arch became important due to the alterations that were made. These alterations included the construction of a turret and the inclusion of a Lamy Amp Lacroix clock of French origin.Central Park. Situated in the traditional grid pattern used frequently in urban planning in the Spanish colonies. The park is surrounded by the Palace of the General Captains, the Town Hall, the Cathedral of San Jose, and the Trade Portal. Here in the park, you will also find the Las Sirenas fountain. This fountain has a traditional folk story where the Count of La Gomera ordered the fountain to be built in memory of his daughters, who in giving birth did not want to breastfeed their children. The count then ordered his daughters to be tied to a trunk in the center of a waterhole, where they died of thirst and hunger. You will continue your tour with a visit the La Unión tank, which is one of the most iconic laundries in this city (only the big houses possessed laundry facilities). For this reason, most of the inhabitants (housewives) went to public laundries. This was inaugurated on February 3, 1853. You will then be given time for lunch (not included).  You will then transfer to Guatemala City to start your sightseeing tour through this city. First you will visit Las Americas avenue. The road in its central garden has several Plazas and monuments in honor of the countries of the American continent.  Continue to Berlin Plaza where there are three pieces of concrete brought from Germany. These are original sections of the Berlin Wall and from here, you can view part of the city and the landscape of the volcanoes.  Next you will visit La Reforma. It was built inspired by the avenues of France and for this reason, various statues carved in stone, bronze, and marble were brought from Italy. The next attraction is Yurrita Church. This is a private chapel of mixed Baroque style, with Romanesque and Byzantine elements. The church was built as a votive offering by Felipe Yurrita, a native of Arevalo, Castilla, Spain, to the Virgin of Our Lady of Sorrows, patron of that town, for favors received (in particular, for saving her life during the eruption of the volcano Santa Maria). At the Civic Center of the City, you will see a set of buildings constructed between the 50s and 60s: The Supreme Court of Justice, the Ministry of Public Finance, City Hall, the Social Security, the Bank of Guatemala, the National Mortgage Bank, and the Guatemalan Tourism Commission.  You will then arrive at the Major Plaza of the Constitution. This Plaza is the heart of the Historic Center of the city. It is surrounded by important monuments such as the National, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Portal of Commerce and Centenarian Park. The tour includes a visit to the Central Market, which is located behind the Metropolitan Cathedral, in the basement of the Tabernacle Plaza. There, visitors can buy a variety of art and handicrafts from all over the country; ceramics, textiles, leather, wood, and silver. At the end of the walking tour, head back to your hotel in Guatemala City.

From Guatemala City: Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan

10. From Guatemala City: Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan

Explore the Western Highlands, the region of Guatemala that most travelers familiar with Guatemala think about when daydreaming about a trip to this country. The region is home to quaint and colorful mountain villages, highland lakes, pine forests, and the majority of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples. Arrive at Chichicastenango Market and begin your walking tour inside the market. It is the center of the town and heart of commercial life for the maxeños. The merchants go down to the central plaza every Thursday and Sunday to sell their products in this impressive indigenous market that has changed very little throughout the centuries. Explore the pathways of the market and view the colorful handicrafts and produce offered by the local people of the region. In Chichicastenango, we will also visit Santo Tomás Church, built in 1540 over the base of an archaeological pre-Hispanic temple. This church is a splendid example of colonial architecture, as the Mayan and Latino influence is mixed throughout both the interior and exterior of the building. You will have some free time for lunch (not included). Then, continue to the town of Panajachel, which sits on Lake Atitlan, where you will have time to explore. Visit Santander Street and enjoy a spectacular view of Lake Atitlan, considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Three spectacular volcanoes, Tolimán, Atitlán and San Pedro form the natural frame of the lake itself. It has a surface of 125 square kilometers and sits 1,560 meters above sea level.

Top sights in Sacatepéquez Department

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What people are saying about Sacatepéquez Department

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 374 reviews

You got to know the history about the Mayans. Saw the market and the lake. Wish we had more time to buy stuff but it’s ok. Saving money. The best part was. There were two other local guides at the market that took you around so you wouldn’t get lost and helped translate.

It was very good, very nice experience, there was an eruption a year ago so there were fumaroles on the slopes of the volcano. Consider wearing good shoes, not so much for the climb up the volcano but for the descent down the sandy part.

Old Town Otfitters gives the best tours! I cant be more grateful for this life experience, he was kind, respectful, funny and very patient. You are not going to regret it.

Wonderful hike. Terrific views. Quiet day of volcanic activity. Great outdoor activity. Fine guide.

Amazing car service. Highly recommend. Took 3 of us to Antigua for 55$. Very professional.