How to survive the rainy season in Central America – Should you hike Volcanoes?

Sharing is caring!

If you have been following my blog or Instagram you may have noticed I have a bit of a thing for volcanoes! It’s hard not to when you are in Central America, especially in Guatemala. There are so many amazing volcanos to hike in this region. As we are currently in the rainy season, the number one question I am being asked is if it’s a good idea to hike volcanos right not because of the rain.

The short answer is yes! You might not be used to the rain but the people who live there and operate these tours are. So long as you go with a reputable company or guide it is their job to keep you safe and they will not put you at risk by taking you on a tour if it going to be unsafe.

Rainy season is often warmer than the dry season due to the cloud cover blanketing the ground, so hikers can get by with a simple 3 layer system a non-cotton base layer with a fleece for insulation covered by a raincoat to stay warm, dry and protected from the wind.

Per-trip meetings are held at OX Base Camp the night before the Acatenango hike to ensure everyone is fully prepared.

As this isn’t my area of expertise I spoke to Victor Ferrel founder of OX Expeditions, the number one volcano tour company in Antigua, to get his expert opinion:

“Hiking a volcano is a once in a lifetime experience for many people so you want to do it right. You want the experience to be a good one. experience. If you have the means then make sure you go with the most professional guide operator who is going to give you that great experience.

The biggest threat hiking volcanos like Acatenango and Fuego is hypothermia. This can happen in both seasons. The only way to avoid hypothermia is to stay warm and dry. If you have your own wet weather gear then bring it. Or make sure you go with a company like OX Expeditions who will provide you with everything you need. We always expect rain, even in dry season, we make sure everyone we take up Acatenango has a waterproof coat. The weather at that altitude can change very quickly so you always need to be prepared regardless of the season.” 

I really hope this guide has helped prepare you travelling in Central America during the rainy season. If you have any other tips or tricks that I have missed off please leave me a comment below.

A big thank you again to my guest contributor Victor Ferrell who has offered his expertise and helped me put together this post.

Victor Ferrell Bio:

Snow and Ice Mountaineer certified (Portland, OR) and has been climbing and guiding big volcanos for 17 years.

Founder of OX Expeditions and dedicated to executing positive and professional adventure trips for those adventure seeking travelers who do not have much experience in the outdoors.

Featured on several TV and travel shows as a professional guide in adventure tourism.


Unsure if you should hike a volcano during the rainy season? The short answer is yes! You might not be used to the rain but the people who live there and operate these tours are. So take a read of this post and get booking your tour!

If you need a cheap flight to Central America check Skyscanner first! Or download their App here, and don’t forget your insurance!

17 Replies to “How to survive the rainy season in Central America – Should you hike Volcanoes?”

  1. I did not know about hypothermia! Hiking in rains must be so challenging! Lovely post with useful tips and a great insight on this topic. Volcanoes look so majestic. This should totally be a lifetime experience! 🙂

  2. Wow a tour dedicated just to volcanoes. That is interesting!
    And hiking during rains is totally new to me. But I guess I will go by the tour operator’s rules.

    1. There are so many volcanos in Central America and you can hike most of them.

  3. Oh I’d LOVE to do this! In usually a low risk hiker but I’m working on being a bit more adventurous! Safety first is most important and you gave some great tips!

    1. It’s one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Even if it did kick my ass!

  4. It’s good that you have mentioned the three basic layers of clothes to wear when hiking during rainy season, Claire! That should be noted to avoid hypothermia which is the biggest threat in hiking volcanoes as mentioned by Victor. And to choose a group that prioritizes the safety of the hikers is so important, too.

  5. Excellent advice, I absolutely agree with Victor. It’s so important to be prepared for inclement weather, even if there is a forecast for perfect conditions. As you know, weather at that altitude changes quickly! I like that OX Expeditions provides all the necessary gear for their treks. While traveling long term, packing space comes at a premium for me, so I’d rather not carry gear that is big and bulky.

    1. I know it’s a really big thing for so many people. Most people backpacking in Central America don’t bring warm gear with them so I love that they lend it to you for free.

  6. Holy cow! This looks absolutely incredible! It seems strange that when hiking to a firey volcano that hypothermia is the threat. I’d love to give this trek a go!

    1. I know right! It’s because of the altitude. The weather changes quickly up there!

  7. Hypothermia is for real. I did a 35 mile hike in Tucson Arizona and got caught in a nasty hail storm. The lightning actually started a forest fire below us. By the end of the hike, I was shivering and just couldn’t warm up. I put on an extra layer of polypro but, once you get the shakes, it’s hard to heat up again. They key is being prepared, and like your post shows, get a great guide.

    1. Wow! I’m so sorry that happened to you. Yes it happens more than people think. Always be prepared!

  8. I would think the chances of rain or even length of rainstorms is greater in the rainy season. I think if I were do the hikes, I’d go in dry season even though it is colder. Even with the best waterproof gear, things just tend to be damp and it’s not my preferred scenario to be in.

    But I absolutely agree that people should hike volcanoes! I’ve hiked some and I’m fascinated by them. Especially active ones.

  9. I’m not much of a hiker or maybe that just something I keep telling myself…lol. I would like to try if I will end up with views from mountains that are above the clouds. I had the opportunity to hike Mount Vesuvius when I was in Naples and I passed on it after visiting Pompeii lol. I love that you spoke with and got tips from a professional.

  10. Sandy N Vyjay says: Reply

    Hiking a volcano seems really exciting, though I have never done that before. I was close to it a couple of months back when in Rwanda, we were close to the volcano, but did not trek there as we were on a different trek to see the Mountain Gorillas. Time did not permit me going for the Volcano hike, hope to do it some day.

Leave a Reply