Getting to the Trailhead
In Tapachula, go to the "Recorridos Intermedios" bus/minivan station and get on the minivan that goes to Cacahoatán (25 pesos) or wait for it outside the ADO bus station. The minivans start running at 4 in the morning. 40 minutes later, you'll arrive in Cacahoatán. Once there, across the street you'll find the "Transportes Tacaná" minivan station. Take the minivan to Talquián and tell the driver you are going to the end of the line ("hasta arriba"), otherwise he'll drop you off in Talquián's main square and you'll have to walk a good steep mile to the trailhead. 28 pesos and about an hour later, you'll arrive at the top of Talquián. Right where the van drops you off, there´s a small but very well stocked store if you want to buy food or drink. They even have rooms to rent, extremely basic with shared toilet and washbasin, but sometimes convenient for 75 pesos a night. That's as far as vehicles go and that's where the trailhead begins.
The Hike to the Summit
About half a mile from the aforementioned store in Talquián, there is a Y in the path. If you take to the right, it will lead you to the border, and once there, you can either walk up the demarcation line or continue up a cobble stone road to Trigales. This route is longer, but probably easier. If you take to the left, you'll find a rough path that takes you to the border, which is clearly marked by white monuments. From this point, keep to the path until you reach the Guatemalan town of Trigales. There are a couple of stores there, and you can ask for permission in any of the houses there if you want to camp. Follow the main path upwards and if confused, simply ask the locals "Disculpe, ¿para el volcán?". They'll tell you. Once Trigales ends, about a mile uphill, you'll find a section of boulders that will need minimal clambering, then some thick forest. About half a mile after the boulders, there are two huts. Another half mile and you find a barbed wire fence with a gate in the middle. Don't forget to close it when you pass. Some more forest, a very steep section, and you are now in Plan de Ardillas. There is shelter there. At Ardillas, which is located in a broad col, turn west, follow the path and about a quarter of a mile later you'll be able to see the volcano's dome. Another half a mile and some more climbing later you'll be inside the crater rim, which is ideal for camping. 300 feet of clambering and you are at the summit.
Down into Guatemala
My original plan was to climb Tajumulco the next day, so I headed down towards Sibinal. Once you are back in Ardillas, you head north and downwards. The path here gets tricky. It´s not very well marked and very steep. About half a mile after Ardillas, you'll arrive at another shelter. Next to it there is a gate. Go through it and down a steep and rocky path into a ravine. Stick to your left and you should be able to keep the path a couple of miles until you find a well marked path. Go left and you'll shortly be in Las Hacienditas, basically a couple of houses next to a gravel road. There is a basic lodge, but it only opens in December and Easter. I expected to catch a bus to Sibinal, but no luck: public transport in this road is few, far between and only in the mornings. A lady there told me that I could try to call a taxi from Sibinal (150 Quetzals), but I decided to walk the 5 miles to Sibinal. No luck either in getting a lift: absolutely no traffic in this road. Once in Sibinal, I found a very convenient hotel there (the Estrella Dorada, 65 Quetzales per person). From Sibinal there are buses to San Marcos every hour from 3 in the morning (20 Quetzals and 2 hours). The trailhead for Tajumulco is about an hour away. The weather forecast wasn't very good so I returned to Tapachula. Tajumulco will have to wait until August.
The hike from Talquián to the summit is harder than it seems. It's a good 5 miles long and has 7500 feet of altitude gain, and there are a few rocky and steep sections. Unless you go during Christmas or Easter, there is also the possibility of being the only person in the mountain.
Ideally, you can start in Talquián and make it to the campsite at the crater rim in about 10 hours. If you are not acclimatized, you'll probably make it to Ardillas. There are coyotes in the area. They are harmless, but be careful about leaving any food outside the tent.
In Trigales, you can ask the locals for a guide. I was offered a horse for my gear to the crater rim for 150 Quetzales.
The climb is very safe. I asked the locals about the possibility of finding robbers on the way up (a common occurrence in many Mexican climbs) and they adamantly said there were none.
Surprisingly, there is good cellphone coverage all along the route.
Any questions, please contact me.
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