Most people will probably arrive in Guatemala City. I came overland from Mexico. From Guatamala City, catch a bus to San Marcos. This is a sizeable city and several buses run daily from many locations throughout the country. Luckily the road is now paved, at least to San Marcos.
From Guatamala City to San Marcos is 258 kms. The easiest way to get there is through Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela, which has a large tourist base for people climbing the nearby volcanoes.
From San Marcos, take one of several daily buses running towards San Sabastian and Tacana. Pass through San Sabastian and ask to bed dropped off at "Tajumulco" or "Llano de la Guardia", near the turnoff to the tiny villiage of Tuichan (30 kms from San Sabastian).
You can also reach Tuichan from Tacana and from Mexico. This is a short ride on the map, but unless roads have been improved in the last decade, it is actually a long, bumpy, very dusty bus ride.
Route DescriptionNote: This information is from my 1993 climb. If there are any updates or changes, please post them here
There is a good trail to the summit, but there are also several other livestock/woodcutting trails in the area that make following the first half of the trail confusing. If you are alone, or you don't speak any Spanish at all, I would recommend taking a local guide. Don't wander too far off the paths either (see the Red Tape section). From the trailhead at Llano de la Guardia (at 2920 meters or 9600 feet), follow one of the many trails up the ridge to the west. You will pass throughseveral farms and a villiage known as La Guardia or Oeste. Ask along the way for the correct trail to "Tajumulco". This is the hardest part of the trail to the volcano to follow, because of all the livestock and farm trails. Always stay close to the ridge. If you don't speak Spanish, this is where a guide is very helpful. The trail more or less follows the ridge and enters a pine forest at 3300 meters (11,000 feet). From there, the trails converge and it is easier to follow the main trail. Continue up the main trail to a junction. From here, the most used path heads SW to some villiages on the other sideof the volcano. Note: This trail down to the villiages looks like excellent and interesting trekking country. You should certainly inquire for a local guide if you want to explore the area. There are several villiages on that side of the mountain that are far from any road, and would certainly be a great cultural experience, if you are allowed in the area
. For Tajumulco, instead of following the most used trail down to the villiages, stay on the steep path right at the ridgeline, and follow it to the summit. This area is usually cloudy in the afternoons and all the way to the summit, so if you plan on getting a view plan on camping high on the mountain. The most spectacular campsite is right at the summit. The climb can be done in one very long day, but it is highly recommended that you camp high on the mountain.
A good pair of boots and warm clothes.
If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.