San Pedro Volcano

The San Pedro Volcano is set along the western shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. The village of San Pedro La Laguna lies at the base of this 9,908-foot (3,020-m) stratovolcano.

The San Pedro Volcano was declared a national park in 2006. The volcano is covered with tropical forests and takes about 4–5 hours to reach the summit along a well-maintained trail. The trail runs through coffee plantations, cornfields, and other agricultural operations that eventually make way for lush green forests. The trail can be wet and muddy in places, not to mention quite steep.

Much of the summit is covered in cloud forests, which tend to block views of the lake. There is, however, a small gap along the south side that provides nice views of Santiago and the lake. It’s not uncommon to be in the midst of clouds while on the volcano—it can get cold up here too, so plan on bringing a light jacket and pants. It takes about 2–3 hours to descend.

The hike is fairly strenuous and should not be attempted alone. Start early to avoid the heat and the clouds that can gather at the summit by the afternoon. There have been issues in the past with safety along the trail, but nowadays there is a greater police presence and robberies are much less frequent. Even so, it’s a good idea to check with locals before heading up the volcano, and always go with a guide.

Western Highlands, Guatemala, Central America

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