During the 1902 eruption of the Santa Maria the side of the volcano collapsed and
left a crater the size of 1 kilometer in diameter. After 20 years of dormancy new
eruptions began in this crater and formed what now is called “Santiaguito” (the little
saint). Eruptions are very frequent, generally every 30 minutes to an hour (but no
guarantees). Apart from climbing Santa Maria and looking down on Santiaguito or hiking
to the viewpoint, there is another very spectacular option to experience it.
Two-day expedition to the Active Crater
Note: This is a very tough hike and you should therefore be in good condition. You
have to carry your own bag and equipment. Also be aware that it is an active volcano
and the trek is not without danger.
On the first day we leave at 5:00 to go the foot of the Santa Maria. Here we take
the route to the lookout over Santiaguito, which takes 2 hours. From the viewpoint
we descend 3 hours down to what is known as "the beach". After this we climb 3 hours
to arrive at the camp around 17:00h. From the campsite you can witness the violence
of the eruptions clearly. Or we can go another 150m closer for a better view. This
hike you can be truly described as an extreme adventure!
This expedition isn´t always possible because of the climate and activity of the
volcano. A back-up plan is necessary!
Departure Day 1 - 5:00h, back Day 2 - +/-17: 00h
What to Bring: Sturdy shoes, well-fitting big trekking-backpack, warm clothes you
can take off layer by layer, sunscreen and sunglasses. Optionally: binoculars, cameras
and own camping gear. If you do not have camping gear we’ll lend it to you.
Included: transport, guide(s) and equipment, 4 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner the
1st day and breakfast the 2nd day), 6 liters of purified water per person.
Optional: Porter service is available.
Climbing the Active Santiaguito Volcano
Most of the photo’s are taken by: Marvin W. Laynes