san pedro volcano hike

When I decided to visit Lake Atitlan, San Pedro Volcano (Volcan San Pedro) hike was high on my list. I knew I was going to stay in the town of San Pedro, so why not hike the volcano that sits right next to it? I went on alltrails and looked at the information for the hike and I was set. The views looked spectacular. You can see the other volcanoes nearby as well as a super unique view of Lake Atitlan. It was considered a difficult hike on alltrails but I knew that I could do it with the right preparation.

I had only done a few hikes during my travels so far in Costa Rica and 90% of them were beach hikes. This meant they had no elevation. That didn’t really get me ready to do the San Pedro Volcano Hike. So we decided to do a couple of hikes leading up to this day. We did Mirador de San Juan La Laguna and then the Indian Nose hike the day after. These hikes were good and as I would come to find out, a lot easier than Volcan San Pedro.

san pedro volcano entrance

San Pedro Volcano Hike Robbery

When I was researching more about the San Pedro volcano hike, I kept seeing reports about people getting robbed when they reach the summit. The more we talked to the workers at our hostel, it seemed those bandits hadn’t been seen in months. There was a police presence on the mountain as we were hiking, although they weren’t going all the way to the top (I understand why). We saw no bandits and everyone was enjoying the views from the top.

San Pedro Volcano Guatemala Facts

  • Distance: 4 miles out & back¬† trail (except it seemed much longer)
  • Time: The worker at the entrance says 3 hours up and 2 hours down. Depending on your skill level, it could be longer than that.
  • Elevation: around 4,000 feet of elevation gain
  • Difficulty: Alltrails ranks this hike as hard
  • Facts: San Pedro Volcano is 3020 meters high. It is currently unknown as to exactly when the last eruption was but it hasn’t been for a while. With the amount of vegetation along the mountain compared to its sister volcanoes, it is clearly the oldest volcano in the group.

San Pedro Volcano Trailhead

How to Get to San Pedro Volcano Hike

It is fairly simple to get to the entrance of San Pedro Volcano. If you are staying in the popular town of San Pedro, then you simply will need to take a tuk-tuk for 10 Quetzales to the trailhead. Reference the google maps shown above for the route you should be taking from the docks of San Pedro. If you are coming from San Juan, then do the same thing except the cost might be an extra 5 Quetzales. If you are coming from other popular towns such as San Marcos or Panajachel, then simply take a boat taxi to San Pedro and then tuk-tuk your way up to the trailhead.

My Suggested Hiking Gear

Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.

  • KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
  • Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
  • Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
  • Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.

My Experience of the San Pedro Volcano Hike

As a group, we thought it would be smart to get in a hard hike before attempting Acatenango hike the following week. And I still stand by that. The San Pedro Volcano hike definitely helped us out with the altitude and the steepness of the hike. Even though it was a 1,000-meter altitude difference, it was still great getting some practice in. Unfortunately, we were all pretty sore for a few days following this hike but it was well worth it.

san pedro volcano hike

What is the cost to enter San Pedro Volcano and Do You Need a Guide?

The tuk-tuk will drop you off right at the entrance and there should be someone there waiting for you. It is a rather small entrance area so it shouldn’t be hard to find the guy you’re looking for. The cost to enter the park was 100 Quetzales. We had read that the entrance fee comes with a guide but there was no one there for us. It sounded like only if you had a big group would someone come for free. Otherwise, it would be another 200 Quetzales for a guide. We were fine though, the worker explained everything about the trail and we were set to go.

san pedro volcano hike

First Section: Where to Turn?

I was pleasantly surprised at how well-maintained the trail actually was. It can be confusing when you first start, as you hike upon multiple crossroads at the beginning of the hike. The worker at the entrance told us to keep taking the right path as we were hiking up the first section of the San Pedro Volcano. Once you hit 2000 meters, you will continue to see signs every 100 meters. The second one was actually at 2173 meters but after that, it is very close to every 100. This was a nice way to keep track of how much longer we had to go. We were a little tired halfway through for sure.

san pedro volcano hike

Volcan San Pedro Mirador

We were told that at 2100 meters we would get to the first real resting point. This stopping point was the mirador or viewpoint of Volcan San Pedro. It felt like we were hiking way more than 100 meters past the 2000-meter mark and we were right. The Mirador isn’t until 2173 meters. It is a two-story platform that you can rest at while looking out over an amazing view. After about 10 minutes we started our hike of San Pedro Volcano once again.

san pedro volcano tires
san pedro volcano mirador
san pedro volcano mirador

San Pedro Volcano Swing

As you keep moving along on your San Pedro Volcano hike, the next major stop will be at the San Pedro Volcano swing. There is a very sketchy but fun swing attached to a tree. The swing is overlooking an amazing view. Basically, the same view as the mirador but higher up so it’s naturally better. There are plenty of benches here for you to sit on and take a break. We took many breaks and really enjoyed the San Pedro volcano hike. Along the paths leading here, you will be hiking through coffee plantations. The soil is perfect for the growing of coffee beans since it is resting on a volcano.

san pedro volcano steps
san perdro volcano swing

San Pedro Volcano Hike Peak

As you move along on the San Pedro Volcano hike it will become harder and harder. The steepness of the trail doesn’t end but let me tell you, it is well worth it. There won’t be any more major resting spots for a while. My advice would be to only stop at the meter markers to keep yourself motivated as you move higher and higher up the volcano. This hike is also very popular for sunrise. When you get to about the 2800 meter mark you will see a shelter, campsite, and a toilet. It isn’t that well maintained but it’s alright. When we were making our way back down San Pedro Volcano, we saw a ton of people making their way up with camping gear with the intention to summit in the morning for sunrise. This would have been great to see and might have even rivaled the sunrise hike for Indian Nose.

san pedro volcano campground

After resting for a few minutes at the campsite, you are on the home stretch. The trail begins to go down a little bit before going back up some meters. After you feel like you can’t do anymore, the trail beings to level out and you see the 3000-meter sign. That means you have made it! Continue on for a little bit more and you will see the rocks and steps that you take to the peak. Honestly, the view was way better than I had ever imagined. It was a perfectly clear sky for us and the hot sun on our back felt amazing. Not everyone is as lucky as us, as I have seen some photos of people making it to the top and it being extremely cloudy. This is sadly the case sometimes as it is very hard to predict the weather in these climates.

san pedro volcano view
san pedro volcano view

Other Activities to do Around Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan is a very special place and has a lot to offer. There are many different hikes, cooking classes, knitting, and Spanish schools that people come from all around the world to do. Below are some of the best tours to do in the area in and around San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlan.

Popular Tours on Lake Atitlan

Final Thoughts on San Pedro Volcano Hike

San Pedro Volcano hike has easily been one of my favorite activities while visiting Guatemala so far. These types of hikes along with a viewpoint like what we saw are my absolute favorite. We brought multiple snacks to eat at the top as a reward and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. The hike down was hard on the knees. We celebrated this amazing hike afterward with an amazing huge meal. Overall it wasn’t the easiest of hikes but very doable.

Thank you for reading my guide on San Pedro Volcano Hike! I hope you find this information useful and make the trek one day soon.

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