© 2016 Elsevier B.V. This study investigates the use of industrial sisal (agave sisalana) fiber waste in activated carbon preparation via chemical activation and the influence of carbonization conditions on surface properties. Experiments have been conducted to study the effects of different carbonization temperatures (550, 600 and 650 °C) with varied carbonization (hold) time (1 h and 3 h) at different nitrogen flow rates (94.4, 188.8 and 377.6 ml/min). The results showed that carbonization temperature and carbonization time have positive impact on Brunauer, Emmett, and Teller (BET) surface area, total pore volume and carbon percentages whereas flow rate has negative impact. The highest BET surface area of activated carbon obtained at 650 °C with carbonization time of 3 h and 94.4 ml/min flow rate was 1297 m2/g where total pore volume and carbon percentages were 0.64 cm3/g and 81%, respectively. In conclusion, high surface area activated carbons could be produced from industrial sisal fiber waste by properly selecting carbonization parameters.