Volcan Santa Maria. Beautiful volcano that is seen from the city of Quetzaltenango. Good day hike. Easy-medium difficulty.
Volcan Santa Maria is a good distance away from the center of the city Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. So I reccomend taking a bus as walking may take a few hours. I took the 6am bus from Parque El Calvario bus stop, which is right in front of the church. Get on the bus and tell them volcan Santa Maria, and they will know where to drop you off. It was about a 45min-1hr bus ride, costing Q2. Bus will drop you off on a dirt road which is the start of the trail.
I went with a few friends, without a guide, as trail seemed pretty clear and good reports had recently been written on it. Once the bus drops you off, there are no signs saying if this is the right way, but since there is only one path, its pretty clear to follow. It is also a popular hike, so likely there will be others. No more than 30 min in there is an off-trail on the left side, which is the trail I took. As the main path seems to go straight, I went to the left(a small uphill), and followed that trail to the summit (I assume going straight will also lead to the summit). Following this trail, about 45 min in leads to a grassy plain, nice picnic spot. Here the trail sort of dissapears, but stay to the right and you will see where it picks back up. I made the mistake of following the grassy plains and went straight and ended up getting lost, turning around, and finding the right path eventually.. From here on the trail gets steep, a lot of switchbacks, but easy to follow. No many views at this point. About 90 min or so of this and you will reach the rocky summit(sorry no crater). If you get to the summit before 11am there should be no cloud coverage and you get marvelous views of everything! It took me about 3hrs30min, getting to the summit at 1030am, and clouds rolled in at 11. Hike back the same trail, and walk on the dirt road through the town until you come to a corner store on the right hand side. Here the bus will stop every 30 min or so until about 6pm. (People will probably be waiting on that corner for the bus.) Tell bus attendant Parque el Calvario.
I climbed in late April. I assume year round climbing is possible since it is a quick hike.
Didn't see any official camping spots. But the grassy plains would be a good place, summit would not. Not sure how safe it is during the night since it is not really a controlled park.
Add External Links text here.