Volcan San Pedro
Volcan San Pedro
4.5

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Eugene F
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala20 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2020
The previous reports are true - reports of robberies beyond the 2nd mirador. They strongly advice you to go only until the 2nd mirador, which is about 1.5-2 hours up.
They also charge some of the most expensive entry prices to a volcano in Guatemala, 100Q for a foreigner, 50Q for a local person. We saw about 25 people coming down and there were more that went up before us, all in all, they are bringing in they money.

I went yesterday. We did see lots of people coming down that camped at the top. But we were told that 2 Israelis were robbed 2 weeks ago.

The money they charge goes towards making the trail very nice and clean, they put steps in at some places, the 2 lookout miradors are very nice, but you'd think that they'd be able to place security at the top, because then it's like half a volcano hike.
Written 30 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nina L
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Friends
Beautiful, well marked, but 200m from the top, we found our fellow hiker screaming and bleeding from his head. A group of bandits had jumped him, taken his passport, wallet, and cellphone, and now he’s in a Guatemalan hospital with a cracked skull. Unfortunately, this is known to happen. Locals were empathetic but not surprised. Please avoid this hike if you can, and if you must, hire a security detail and go in a large group. Don’t Go
Written 13 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

HTMurgatroyd
Tampa, FL40 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Was unable to find a good TA San Pedro Volcano-Climbing 101 article, so wasn't completely prepared. It's mostly a young crowd / backpacker set and at 50 was by far the oldest one on scene -- except for our outstanding guide, who was 52 years old ! However, we were very lucky in that there is a kiosk / oficina just off the San Pedro dock that set up the whole thing and was perfectly legit all the way around. It was Q250 for the tuk-tuk taxi up to the park, the entrance fee, the guide, and the tuk-tuk back to the dock in San Pedro. Kept expecting the sorts of hidden costs that one often encounters, but they never came. No doubt the younger budget-economy travelers know how to do this on the cheap, but I was very happy for the convenience of an all-inclusive. There were a couple of security folks on the trail, as well, which was a bonus, even though we felt very secure during our entire stay in Lake Atitlan. Our guide spoke Spanish, but it was the clearest, most gently-spoken Spanish and was able to understand about 80% of it with high-school Spanish plus his patience. LOVELY hike, great trail, through coffee bushes and corn, but physically VERY demanding -- which should come as no surprise. About 2-3 hours to the top from park entrance for my 19-year-old daughter. Be sure to take HIKING boots or TRAIL RUNNERs -- very muddy and slippery if it rains, small backpack for food (CARBS) and water -- Gatorade-type drink would be a plus, camera (with camera battery charged), clothing layers from t-shirt to one more layer plus wind shell / rain shell, bug repellent, zip-lock baggie or two to make sure things stay dry, bandana. Did not need sunglasses since were in the shade most of the time. The guides cut walking sticks for us and these were mandatory on the post-rain hike back down. Finally, believe everyone when they say you need to start as early as possible to increase the likelihood of it still being clear at the top when you get there (during green season / rainy season at least). The park is said to open at 7am, so would plan on starting not long after that. Like all adventure travel, knowing what to expect can really enhance the experience, since there isn't time to ascend a learning curve on something you're doing probably for the only time in your life. Buen viaje !
Written 14 August 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brian
New York City, NY7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021
Volcan San Pedro is a good, strenuous hike that is worth the effort. My review/expeirence is from during the pandemic and will likely not apply for later times and is designed for people who want to do the hike without a guide.

I have been up to the top 3 times (and a couple of times to the lower miradors) during the months of February and March 2021. (DRY SEASON).

The Different Thing about doing San Pedro during the pandemic is that it appears to be officially closed. There is no locked gate or anything, but the kiosks and ticketing to get onto the trailhead are without personnel. This means that I have never paid an entrance fee, which in normal times is Q100 for foreigners (about USD$15). There are also very few people on the trail. One time I went up and saw no one else at all in my entire 6 hour hike. (But other times I have seen guided and unguided groups.) I have had the top of the volcano to myself each time I have gone up - a very different experience from the crowded peak at Indian Nose across the lake.

There seems to be a significant amount of misinformation going around about doing the San Pedro Hike:

Misinformation (1): You must have a guide to go with you, or it is very difficult to do without a guide. This is false.

Misinformation (2): You still have to pay the entrance fee, even though there is no one to take the payment. If there is a way to pay for the entrance during the pandemic, I have not figured out how to do so and no one has been able to direct me as to how one would even go about doing this.

Misinformation (3): the trail is crawling with robbers. This appears to have been true around 2019 but no longer. Many locals have recommended I not do this hike without a guide for fear of robbers. But when I ask them if they know of any recent robberies, or know anyone who has been robbed, they are never specific, never like, "oh yeah there were some last year!" The "robbers" thing is also said about the trails between the villages on the other side of the lake (like between Tzununa and Santa Cruz) but foreigners walk those trails all the time (locals seem to always take the boats) so I generally believe the threat of robbery is somewhat real, but overblown. Proceed at your own risk. Groups are safer of course.

Getting to Trail: The trailhead is easy to find and is about a 45 minute walk or 10 minute/Q20 tuk-tuk ride from the San Pedro Panajachel dock, up through town and onto the highway. The trailhead is by a building and in front of the building is a sign saying what your elevation is at the start of the trail (among other things and signs). On google maps type in "Volcan San Pedro Trailhead" and it will pop up. It is on the left side of the highway (when you are going up). On your way up you will pass two restaurant/mirador places maybe a half mile before you hit the trailhead building. Tuk Tuk drivers know where it is, you can just tell them "volcan san pedro". One of the things about going without a guide is that if you want to go early you will probably have to walk to the trailhead yourself without a tuk tuk, as they can be hard to find before about 7 am. Maybe you can arrange with one to pick you up earlier if you want. When I have hiked it myself starting at 5 or 6 am I just walk up to the trailhead. It's pretty steep, enjoy.

Trail itself: The trail is well marked. The first hour or so of the trail goes through a bunch of coffee fields, and people work in these fields (they are not robbers). There are trails for the coffee people that are not the Volcan trail. Follow green arrows when available to stay on trail (these arrows will disappear when you're out of the coffee, it's fine you're still on the right trail). If you get to forks and you're not sure what to do, go UP, do the steeper path. In fact, most of the time if it's not super clear where to go it actually doesn't matter (some forks are just little shortcuts/corner cuts) but going UP will always get you to the right place. There is one fork in between the first and second miradors, marked with a sign, that points you to the "Virgen Guadalupe". This is only a 5 minute or so trail down to a statue of the Virgin Mary (and when i went, also a nice pile of garbage). There is no view. I think this is a waste of time, just keep going on the trail to the left up to the Volcan.

There are four major Places on the trail, each that have man-made structures/benches, etc: (1) the 1st Mirador (nice view!), (2) the Second Mirador / Descansa / Swing ("Second Mirador") (Also Nice View!), (3) the Camp (no view!), and the Summit. The First Mirador and the Camp have primitive restroom facilities that I would not personally use (i just pee in the woods wherever).

For reference, the Lake is at 1550 meters; the Trailhead is at 1800m; Mirador 1 is at about 2100m; Second Mirador is at 2300m; Camp is at 2867m; and the Summit is at 3020m. There are signs every 100m starting at 2000m, but they're not always easy to see and I have missed one or two of them every time I've been up.

The whole trip for me, a 38 yr old man, alone, reasonably fit, takes me a little less than 6 hrs round trip from the trailhead (and a little more than 7 hours round trip from the Pana dock on foot). One of my trips was as follows (no tuk tuk, all on foot):

5:10 am - Leave Pana Dock
5:45 am - Arrive at Trailhead (rest, stretch)
5:50 am - Leave Trailhead
6:38 am - 1st Mirador (rest, pictures)
6:45 am - Leave 1st Mirador
6:49 am - Virgen Trail Fork
7:00 am - Second Mirador / Descansa (rest, snack, pictures)
7:05 am - Leave Second Mirador
7:35 am - Old Tree at 2600 mts
8:09 am - Camp
8:33 am - Summit (Pictures, Snack, rest)
8:55 am - Left Summit
11:50 am - Trailhead
12:30 pm - Pana Dock (included stop at restaurant/shop for water).

The early part to the first mirador is the easiest and least steep. When there is no entrance fee, this is a worthy hike on its own, as the view is delightful and it's an easy hike. The portion between the Second Mirador and the Camp is the longest, hardest and steepest.

Supplies:

One liter of water is sufficient for me. Some people may want more. Bring food, maybe not a whole lunch but at least some granola bars. MOre than just a banana. If you do not snack you will likely get "conked out" coming back down. My third time up I went with a friend who didn't bring enough food and she conked out coming down around the First Mirador, and the nice 45 minute jaunt from First Mirador to the trailhead turned into an over 2 hour ordeal because she was so exhausted and tired.

I find the top to be not too cold but it can be windy. Some people may want to bring a jacket. I do not personally bring a jacket.

If you start after 7 am I would bring bug spray or pre-spray your clothes. If you get down before it gets hot in the afternoon you won't need it.

The dust on the trail can be slippery, so good shoes are beneficial. I did it in reebok runners and walking shoes and was ok but it was definitely a bit slippery for me.

Other Notes:

There are ground dwelling birds that make movements/sounds in the bush that freaked me out the first time i went up, thinking it could be robbers. (it was not). Also acorn type things fall noisily.

Going down and coming up take about the same amount of time. Don't fool yourself into thinking going down is easier. It's not.

This is not like, the horriblest hike. There's no rock scrambling or anything like that. It's probably like a Bear Mountain hike (if you know Hudson Valley), plus 20% harder. But it's long. If you are not fit it will take you much longer than 6 hours so plan for that. The time I went with my conked-out friend it took us NINE HOURS just round trip from the trailhead (not pana dock).

The earlier you get to the top the less likely you are to be whited out by clouds, as the wind tends to bring clouds into the lake area around noon but sometimes earlier. The summit is above the cloud line and if there are clouds you will see NOTHING. But if you get up there and it's cloudy, wait and the clouds may blow over in a half hour or so. But the best way to avoid cloud whiteout risk is to get up to the top before 10 or 10:30 am and check the weather report the day before.

On one ascent i ran into a pair of nice police waiting at the Second Mirador. They were not letting people up past the Second Mirador but they wouldn't tell me why (robbers? Not sure). I was coming down so they didn't bother me, just asked me if there was anyone else at the top (nope!). But i was glad to have gotten past the Second Mirador by like 7 am so I wasn't stopped. I don't think the police get there super early.
Written 12 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark1539
Cotton MN143 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018 • Couples
First of all remember it is Guatemala. So you need to be educated and do your homework. My wife and I did this hike on December 9th and because we did our homework we knew that there was recent robberies. But we also knew that the 100Q per person included a guide and that people who have taken a guide have not been getting robbed. I will agree with one of the other posts who accurately describe the park rangers as not being overly informative but I think this may sometimes be because of language barriers. I admit was initially taken back when I entered the open air entrance to the Volcan San Pedro. I was also initially concerned when I was directed to give the 100Q to a " Park Ranger" who was standing by the money box with a scarf over his face by the Tuk-Tuk driver who brought us there. O.K. red flag alert! But after reading the sign posted close by that clearly listed the entrance fee amounts and speaking to the ranger with my broken Spanish and his broken English I became assured that everything as on the up and up. The ranger after speaking with him more was helpful and assigned a guide to take us up the Volcano. Our guide Manuel was a wonderful person who seemed to be attuned to setting a pace we could do. He pushed us some staying out ahead a bit but always willing to rest when we needed to. He was a proud Guatemalan and was eager to show us things about the volcano and the vegetation. At one of the rest stops he was also eager to get us to try the hillside tire swing that Was a nice treat. I gave my guide a 100Q. He was most helpful and made us feel safe. He also carried a manchette which is also some assurance. Here is where it gets interesting. About a half hour before the summit of the volcano there is rest area "Guatemalan style." that has a little open area, fire pit and some outhouses. When we came to this area our guide seeing some movement in the area pulled out his Machete half way and slowed down to look what was going on ahead. Recognizing that it was another hiking group in the area he tucked his machete back in it's sleeve and lead us up there. In the area there was a larger group with armed police. I asked the larger group why they had armed police with them and they said the hostel they were staying at arranged it for there safety because of the recent robberies of tourists. We rested a bit and the group with the police made the final push towards the top. We were alone with our guide for a few more minutes as my wife and I went to the bathroom behind the outhouses then moved on towards the top. Just as we moved out of the rest area we passed a very young couple who had made the summit and were on there way back down. We had camo over on the same boat with this young couple from another town and they apparently decided to hike the volcano without a guide and started before us. we waved as we passed and moved on. My wife and I merged with the larger group and the two police on the top of the volcano. the volcano offered outstanding views what will forever be in my mind as one of life's treasures. After about twenty minutes we left with our guide and headed back down. after passing the rest area we came across the young couple we had passed earlier who were now with a large group on there way up the volcano with a guide. The guide in their group had his machete out and began to talk to our guide visibly upset. I asked the young couple what was going on and they said they had gotten robbed just after they passed my wife and I in the opening. They said two men with machetes ran out of the woods and robbed them and took their wallet, go pro, camera and jewelry. They said they ran down the trail after being robbed until they ran onto the other group with a guide who then called the police on the top of the volcano who were on their way down to meet them. the poor young couple were clearly traumatized and we felt terrible for them. I did not want to ask them why they went without a guide but the whole could have likely been prevented if they had taken a guide. The bottom line is that In much of the poor areas of the world you have to do your homework and take some safety precautions to travel within them. I would also like to say that our guide and everyone that was a local I talked to about the robbery was very upset. The tourism fuels most of the lake Atitlan economy at this point and if the locals knew who was robbing tourists and disrupting tourism I' m sure there would be some vigilante justice as it hurts so many of them who are trying to scratch out a living. Thanks to our wonderful guide Manuel and Thumbs up if the review helped. Safe travels!
Written 25 December 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Magdalena
Vienna, Austria12 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018 • Couples
We got to the visitor center in the early morning and when we paid the entrance fee to the park a guide told us that he was included for 25 minutes (SCAM! Guides are included for all your hike and necessary!!!). We thought further assistance would additionally cost and asked him how safe the situation was. "Very safe" he told us. "And robberies?", we asked. "No robberies " he told us. "There is also police on the mountain". As two Austrians with mountain experience we then decided to go by ourselves. After 25 minutes leading us the way our guide left us to continue the hike by ourselves. He never mentioned that his service would have been included the full way up and down and we even tipped him for his service.

The hike up was very nice and the view at the top even better. When we arrived at the summit the policeman asked us where our guide was. We told him and he told us that the guides are lazy and don't want to walk up. I asked him if it was dangerous without guide and he told us that it would be better with guide. However, he did not advice us to join another group on the way down...

We went down in between two groups with guide (there were plenty of people on the summit), one was a few minutes in front of us, the other about 200m behind us.

When we reached the hut, la cabaña, two with machine guns and a machete equipped guys jumped out of the bush. They wore masks an pointed the guns on us and robbed everything.

We ran and reached the next group, their guide contacted the police. They could not do much. Doing all the police report and insurance stuff and talking to local people we found out, that ROBBERIES ARE COMMON, LATELY ESPECIALLY ON THE ST. PEDRO VOLCANO!!!!

!!!!Everyone asked us why we didn't walk with the guide! There are also robberies with guide, but definitely not that many!!!!

Really don't bring any valuables (we also lost our jackets we used in the morning and on the summit- everything !) but a purse with a bit money that you can give them in case of robbery!!! And always walk with guide, even if they try to convince you that it is not necessary!!!!

We really hope you won't have the same experience!
Written 20 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Namastekelly
Miami, FL50 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Couples
Let me first say this: I like hiking. I've done a couple multi day treks even. I like mountains and volcanoes.

This was hard!! I don't know why? Maybe it's because it's been a few months since I did a long trek but I did do Indian Nose a couple weeks ago and have been living at the Lake and walking everywhere. Okay, enough complaining, here's the facts:

-100Q pp to enter and get a guide. We had a guy named Andres who was actually cool and we kept him the whole time.
-Start early. We took a 5am tuk tuk from San Marcos and started the trail around 6:10. It gets really sunny around 10am and people were still starting. I doubt they made it to the top happy; the sun gets brutal.
-Don't rest for too long. Our first break at the mirador we stayed for too long I think, and our muscles got cold again, which just makes it harder.
-Do bring snacks. It's gonna be a 5-6 hour ordeal.
- It's a lot of steps (earth and wood stairs) and some rock, so be nice to your knees.

Worth it? It is beautiful from the top and of course I did feel accomplished. It's beautiful. But I am going to confess something.... I thought the Indian Nose view was better!! From there you can see the Pacific Ocean and 7 volcanoes, but from San Pedro you can only barely see one volcano past volcano Atitlan cuz those two are right in front of you. I think my pictures are better from Indian nose. But that's just my opinion :)
Written 21 July 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

maureen c
8 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
So I am in San Pedro and had planned on hiking this volcano tomorrow however no one will take me because supposedly there are bandits at the top. You can go midway where I guess they think you are safe. Some companies will go at 4am in the dark to the top. Hmmm guess the robbers are not early morning folks.
Written 16 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JosephJ001
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Friends
Hiked San Pedro last week and was robbed by 3 men armed with machetes. Very scary experience, and the park did almost nothing afterwords to help us. Highly recommend avoiding this volcano or going with at least one guide. It is a shame, because this was a really, really beautiful hike, but not worth losing nearly all of our valuables and the scariness.
Written 2 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

khalilnotgibran
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Solo
Made the huge mistake of hiking Volcan San Pedro on May 03 2019. Went with a guide who was recommended by locals and had another tourist in our group.

As we were approaching the summit, three bandits jumped out with machetes and started chasing us. We ran and they attacked us with their fists and machetes and took our belongings. Three more bandits were hiding in the forest and attacked our guide. Our group was separated and for several hours we wandered off the trail until we were able to find help and call the police.

The danger is not a rumor. This is a dangerous hike to do right now. Avoid at all costs. There are plenty of beautiful and safe hikes nearby.
Written 4 May 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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