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Climbing the 7 Orejas

by Chris Warren

This month’s Daytripper hike brings you to the rim of one of the oldest volcanoes in all of Guatemala, El Volcán Siete Orejas, permitting views of the Santiaguito, Santa Maria, Atitlan and Tacana Volcanoes as well as the coast. You can easily camp at one of the many Miradores and make it an overnight trip, enjoying unforgettable early-morning views, or head back and sleep in your own bed.

To begin you’re going to need to make your way to the corner of 15 Avenida and 6 calle in Zone 3. From there microbuses leave for Conce, so make sure to find one that’s headed to the “Centro de Conce”. Conce is located on the highway down the coast to Colomba.

When you arrive (Q5, 30 min), make your way to the Municipalidad, a three-story building guarded by San Simon. Tell them you want to visit the Cacique Dormido and climb the Mirador of Siete Orejas.

They will charge you somewhere between Q10-Q20, which goes to support the development of an ecoturism project at the Cacique Dormido, which will include ziplines and improved access to a series of natural hot springs, which are akin to a cascade of miniature Fuentes Georginas.

They will show you the road you need to take, which you will climb for over an hour and a half. If you’re feeling lazy, you can likely hitch a ride on one of the pickups that pass through. By foot, just stick to the wide road and you’ll be fine.

Once you arrive, you have a few different options, you can hike up another 30 minutes to a Mirador and explore the crater rim, with spectacular views on both sides or you can descend down into Las Barrancas and enjoy a soak in some natural hot springs.

If you opt for the hot springs, keep in mind that its a 2 hour descent and about a 2.5 hour climb back up (again, just follow the dirt road, always going straight and taking the wider road). The walk is beautiful!

You’ll know when you’re there when the road descends steeply and crosses a warm river, which you can follow to your pool of choice. Just ask upon arrival and the Guardian del Bosque (9am-5pm) will gladly show you the trail to either one. He’ll also guard your bags if you decide to hike down to the hot springs, which I strongly recommend since the trail is long and quite steep in spots. Happy Trails!

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