Hiking Smart

Hiking Smart Around Lake Atitlan is Prepared. You are standing at the summit of San Pedro Volcano or the Mirador on Lake Atitlan’s Upper Rim. The stunning views from the summit make the strenuous ascent all worthwhile.  However, to enjoy your Lake Atitlan Hiking experience, you need to plan.

When it comes to hiking at higher altitudes, where there are less oxygen and very little moisture in the air and cooler temperatures all of this preparation becomes even more important.

Lake Atitlan Hiking Tips

Lake Atitlan Hiking Tips

Weather and Climate

Much of the population of Guatemala is located in the Highlands (Antigua Guatemala, Lake Atitlan, Coban, and Semuc Champey) where the climate is subtropical all year round with considerable cooling occurring at night.  Daytime temperatures in this area hover around 70-80 degrees F (21-27 C) and nighttime temperatures of 45-65 degrees F (7-18 C).

Temperature varies by elevation, there is also a cool zone located at altitudes above 6,600 ft in mountainous regions and peaks. At the summit of volcanoes, temperatures can drop below freezing at night.

In Guatemala, there are two seasons: rainy and dry. May through October is the rainy season and November through April is the dry season. The rainy season usually brings periodical tropical showers in the late afternoons.

Visitors should be prepared for the cold and rain and wear layers of clothing to ensure their comfort while hiking in Guatemala.

RELATED ARTICLE: San Pedro Volcano Tour

Lake Atitlan Hiking Tips

Lake Atitlan Hiking Tips

Hiking Smart Around Lake Atitlan be Prepared

For a safe and enjoyable hike prepare for your hike and plan.

The most important tip is to know your abilities and choose and an appropriate hike.  In the Highlands of Guatemala, you will be hiking at an elevation ranging from 5,200 feet above sea level to 10,000 feet above sea level.  Many people who hike in Guatemala forget to take into consideration that hiking at altitudes higher than 6,000 feet is more difficult than hiking at low altitudes. The air at that altitude is less saturated with oxygen. Be conservative in planning your hike or in choosing a particular hike.

If you have an underlying health issue such as asthma, a heart condition, diabetes, and joint or back problems limit the amount of ascent/descent challenge in your hiking trail choice. Strenuous climbing, as well as heat, combines to exasperate medical conditions.

RELATED ARTICLE: Santa Catarina Upper Rim Hike

Lake Atitlan Hiking Tips – What to Pack

Water – Not drinking enough water may be one of the most common mistakes made by hikers.  The simple fact is that you need more water at higher altitudes.  The harder you are working, the more bodily fluids you are losing through respiration and perspiration.  Along with the air being less saturated with oxygen at higher altitudes, it is also much drier.  The combination of exertion, dry air, and altitude means that keeping hydrated needs to be your number one priority. Being hydrated will help you think clearly and alleviate sore muscles.

Food–Hiking requires a lot of energy so it’s important to bring some snacks to keep your energy level up, even if you don’t plan to hike for long, because you never know.  Nuts, dried fruit, granola bars/trail mix, and hard-boiled eggs are all great options.

First Aid Kit – Even on short hikes you will want to bring along a first aid kit. The kit should include bandaids, an ace wrap, antiseptic, and tape.

Footwear – For most hiking in the Highlands of Guatemala light running shoes or trail shoes are perfect. Make sure that your shoes are broken in before your first hiking trip.  Big hiking shoes can be bulky and hot.

Hat/Sunscreen/Sunglasses – Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.  At an altitude of over a mile high, it’s easy to burn even on cloudy days.

Backpack – Only pack the essentials.  The lighter your pack the more enjoyable your hike will be.

Waterproof Clothing – During the rainy season (May through October) bring a waterproof jacket and/or a light compact umbrella.

Hiking Smart Around Lake Atitlan be Prepared Breaks Are Important

If you can hike and talk at the same time you are traveling to the right place.  If you are huffing and puffing for air, slow down.

When climbing the volcanoes in the Highlands of Guatemala it’s important to take 5-10 minute breaks every hour.  This will help acclimate you to the elevation gains along with it being a perfect time to recharge your body by eating and drinking and also enjoying the view around you.

RELATED ARTICLE: Hiking Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Hiking Smart Around Lake Atitlan be Prepared  – About Lake Atitlan Guatemala Tours

Lake Atitlan Tours and Travel Service started with the belief that other travelers share our desire to experience authentic adventures by immersing ourselves in the life of a region, exploring hidden corners, and partaking and appreciating the local culture.  Our tours, at their heart, are a way of connecting more authentically with the world.

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