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Question About Guides for Acatenango Hike

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
10 posts
5 reviews
Question About Guides for Acatenango Hike

Hey all,

My girlfriend and I are planning on doing the two-day-one-night hike up Volcan Acatenango.

So I've been reading online reviews for the hike and everyone seems to be super happy with whatever guide they went with (mainly Tropicana, Soy Tours, and Wicho and Charlie's).

So I'm pretty happy to go with the one that best fits our budget and needs, but there's one thing I'm curious about.

There's this Oldtown Outfitters guide which is considerably more expensive than the other options, yet seems to offer nothing much better in comparison to other guides. Why is that?

At the beginning I was thinking of going with them because, "you get what you pay for," yet after delving a bit deeper into what all tours offer and reading many reviews, I really can't find anything that would make the Oldtown Outfitters tour worth the higher price.

Can anyone help me figure this out?

Cheers!

Ale

7 replies to this topic
Crowsnest Pass...
Level Contributor
604 posts
12 reviews
1. Re: Question About Guides for Acatenango Hike

The first time I climbed Acatenango was with Old Time Outfitters as a day hike. I also did a 1/2 day mountain bike trip with them. It was several years ago so things may have changed. All of the guides speak English. They use guides based out of Antigua instead of the village at the base of the volcano. They do use local porters if needed. The quality of the gear was good and we had a good lunch. They limit the guide to tourist ratio. They have a fancy website and a good storefront (they also sell imported gear if you want any). In other words, you will have a safe, quality experience with them. And you pay for their good reputation.

However, according to reviews that I've read, you will get much the same experience with the two companies I mentioned in my other post except that you may or may not get an English speaking guide and your guide will be local. I've only read (the same as you) reviews about the other two companies you mentioned. Some of the cheapest options (usually sold through the hostels) get mixed reviews in part because they don't limit size. If the group is small you'll most likely get good equipment but if the group is large they pull out all the equipment that they have and some people will end up with the stuff that should have been retired long ago. When I did it with NeWay tours a few years ago, the group camped below us had over 20 tourists and one guide. I don't know what company it was but some people staying at the same hostel as I was had booked it through the hostel. The owner of the hostel was upfront with what he was selling so that people should have been prepared but I doubt everyone selling the budget tour was as transparent (the sleeping bags may not be warm enough, the tents may need to be repaired, if you have a big appetite bring extra food).

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
10 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: Question About Guides for Acatenango Hike

Hey Adventurer2005,

We're definitely not going with the cheaper options. Right now I've sent emails to OTO, Gilmer Soy and W&C.

In my email to OTO I asked them why their price is much higher than the other operators, curious to see what they say.

English-speaking guides may be a big plus for my girlfriend since her Spanish is awful, but we'll have to see if it's worth the extra 70/80$.

Crowsnest Pass...
Level Contributor
604 posts
12 reviews
3. Re: Question About Guides for Acatenango Hike

"English-speaking guides may be a big plus for my girlfriend since her Spanish is awful, but we'll have to see if it's worth the extra 70/80$."

If there is only the two of you it will be more than that. It's $170 per person for only two people so an extra couple of hundred dollars.

Ask the other companies that you are considering about an English speaking guide. Some of the guides do speak English. It may cost a bit more but it doesn't hurt to ask. You can get by without much Spanish. The guides are used to dealing with people who don't speak their language. If you speak Spanish you can translate for your girlfriend if needed.

I'm curious too as to what the reply from OTO will be. When I went with them the options were the cheap budget tours, them, or OX outfitters (which at the time was similar priced). There were no middle of the price range options.

1 post
2 reviews
4. Re: Question About Guides for Acatenango Hike

Holy guacamole, I didn't realise it was $170 per person! That's a big no from me then, regardless of what they reply. But I'll let you know what they say.

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
49 posts
7 reviews
5. Re: Question About Guides for Acatenango Hike

I hiked Acatenango with Old Town, the two of us joined an existing group and were 5 in total so the cost wasn't quite that much, but still more expensive than most budget options. That being said, we had good quality equipment, good and plentiful food, and a knowledgeable english-speaking guide, as well as one of the better campsites, so the "you get what you pay for" part may be true? I've heard a few stories about leaky tents, not enough to eat, etc with some of the cheaper operators.

Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
1 post
24 reviews
6. Re: Question About Guides for Acatenango Hike

I went with my family in april with an excellent private guide - 100usd pp with only us, tents and provisions carried up but we had to carry our own water, 4 ltrs pp. excellent vegan lunch and dinner (tofu casserole w coconut milk and saffron rice when the other groups were sitting with their ramen), he even whipped out a bottle of Cabernet. Option to hike to the top to see the sunrise. Great breakfast w coffee, Quaker or soy milk and cereal, fruit. His English is not good but there isn't that much to ask - of course now you'd want to know about the catastrophe in may. Also beware that the Fuego is in constant risk to explode again. Contact me to get his number, he's on whatsapp.

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
10 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: Question About Guides for Acatenango Hike

Hi Nina. Could you please send me the number of the guide? Sounds amazing especially the part about vegan food and wine ;). Thanks !

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