Guatemala’s terrain, featuring mountains, volcanoes, and vast forested flatlands, is a hiker’s dream. Adding to the allure of hiking in Guatemala is the opportunity to interact with locals along the way. Many hiking circuits in Guatemala, particularly in the Verapaz cloud forests and the plateaus of the Western Highlands region, are operated via local community tourism initiatives.
In addition to providing the opportunity to see the environment and culture through the eyes of local inhabitants, hiring the services of community guides also provides locals with a much-needed source of income and instills a sense of pride in their home. It also speaks loudly to the value (both economic and moral) of conserving precious ecosystems when tourists come from faraway lands to enjoy them.
Among the most popular hikes are the summits of several of Guatemala’s 33 volcanoes (some active), including Agua, Acatenango, Pacaya, San Pedro, Santa María, and Tajumulco.
Many tourism circuits operated by local community tourism initiatives include adequate visitors centers and there are often campsites. The same is true for the government-run system of parks and protected areas.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com