Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kayak T Rescue Seminar

In an effort to keep out guides trained up to keep you safe out there on the trail with us we headed to the pool for our yearly kayak T rescue day. All our guides have to pass a series of these sorts of seminars to be able to be included in the old Town family of guides. Its kind of like a Boy Scout earning their merit badges.

The T rescue is imperative to learn to keep out customers safe out there on our paddling trips. There is always that day when the wind picks up and we are forced to help one of our overturned guests get back into their boats in the middle of the lake.

We here at Old Town Outfitters strive to make sure that our guides are the best in the biz. In shop training days, team building activities and weekly group rides are how we do it. Looking for a fun new direction to take yourself in? Come hang with us at Old Town.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A great ride for a great cause this weekend!

This upcoming Sunday we will be adding a special stop to our already great valley ride. Friends of ours at CasaSito are sponsoring a local music festival where various childrens choirs will be performing to raise awareness for various Guatemalan Non Governmental Organisations.

We will stop in to the neighboring village of Santiago Zamora and check out the festivities and childrens choirs. Also, all Old Town Outfitters profits for this trip will go to the Casasito Education fund so that schooling programs and projects like this may continue.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Another day on the River

The rainy season has been good to us here in Guate filling up all the local rivers. We took advantage of a dry spell to head out for a kayak run down the Maria Linda river down on the South Coast.

Its a fun fast run with pretty constant class III rapids one right after the next. . The river is only an hour and a half from Antigua making it a great option for a half day paddle. Myself, Guille the mad frenchman, and Greg, the man of river bounced, surfed and dropped our way downstream to the cold Gallos at the take out.

Guille about to enter the "rock drop"

We got there just in time for the damn release so the river was running at a good fun level which made the normal class III+ rapids a little more manageable this time around.

Yours truly dropping off the top of the "rock drop"
Its bigger than it looks i asssure you.

Old Town can help you arrange logistics for just about any kayak adventure in Guatemala. We have a competent set of world class paddle guides and the expedition class support to make any river trip a one of a kind experience.
Taker easy -

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ring O Fire Volcano Climbing Charity Trip

This November Old Town Outfitters is teaming up with the good lads at Global Vision International, or GVI to put together a charity volcano climbing trip to help raise funds for their local Guatemalan projects. The goal will be to raise enogh money through tour participation to increase the projects sustainabilty into the future.

The itinerary will be tough but super rewarding, cut from the cloth of one of Old Town's awarding winning Ring Of Fire treks. We will be climbing 4 of our favorite volcanoes in only 5 days!! This is your chance to spend the night on Acatenango Volcano with a front row seat to watch the spectacular Fuego volcano spew lava, and to look out over all of Guatemala from the top of Tajumulco, Central America's highest volcano, while at the same time supporting the hard work of a real "grass roots" development program in Guatemala.

The trip is already half full so reserve your spot soon and take part in a real adventure, one with a social conscience.
Hope to see you on the trail.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Camping on Pacaya Volcano

This past weekend we packed up and headed out to Pacaya Volcano National Park for a classic Old Town Outfitters camping trip on the side of the active cone.  We left Antigua with enough time to get up on the mountain as the crowds were leaving to take in the sunset.  Its pretty surreal to be up there as the sun's going down, there is lava oozing out of the side of the mountain and you have it all to yourself.

Most people go to Pacaya as a day trip.  Old Town Outfitters, in a constant effort to go againist to grain and do things slightly different takes folks out there at night.  Dont get me wrong its still pretty cool to be there during the day, but a night time trip out to the lava fields on pacaya is something different all together. We like to be out there when no one else is to make sure that you have a one-of-a-kind experience!

After a gourmet camp cooked dinner by our seasoned guides, we head out to explore the glowing red lava flows where we hopefully will get a chance to toast some marshmallows for desert.  Its a pretty amazing experience to be up there at night.  Dont worry if you missed this weekend's trip.  We'll be going again, we go about each weekend.

Get in touch with us at the shop to book a space on the next trip.

Hopefully we'll be seeing on the trail next weekend,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rio Cahabon Expedition

Guatemala's premier river experience can be found on the Cahabon River.   We run a two day float on the Cahabon River up in Alta Verapaz just out of the sleepy mountainside village of lanquin.  Its a class V + river so you better show up with yoru game face on.  The trip stages from the local backpacker stronghhold of El Retiro which conviently sits on the lanquin river which can also be paddled in a hard shell.   About a 2 hour paddle takes you to the confluence of the Lanquin and Cahabon rivers just above the big boy class V set of Rock 'n Roll and Entonces rapids.

                                               Entonces Rapid Class V

                                                  Greg paddling Entonces

The river is absolutely beautiful.  It's emerald water cuts an amazing canyon with calss III rapids stacking up one after the next.  There are a few scenic and tranquilo stretches in there to give you a break from the action. 

The end of day one comes just in time as you are starting to get tired.  We set up camp, get the camp fire going and cook up gourmet vittles while you relax at the campsite.  The sound of the river is the perfect thing to lull you to sleep for a big day tomorrow.  

Day 2 starts just after the Class VI portage of Chulack Falls from the campsite.  We kayaked down to the falls and somehow painstakingly dragged our boats around the rapid to get a view of her.  Impressive to say the least.  its been talked about for years who will be the first to run it.  I think the consensus is always the same...."not me!"

The fun contines downriver as we pass through "cork screw" a class III+ rapid which then funnels you into the Cahabon Canyon.

Chilling in the pools and waterfalls at the end of the run.  It truly is one of Gautemala's best 2 day River Runs.  Get in touch with us about water levels and availabilty and let us show you this amazing place!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Old Town turns 10!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Old Town Outfitters! We have been running adventure tours in Guatemala since the end of 1998. Its been a long but very fun road and we have come a long way in these past 10 years.

This past weekend we squirreled away a rare Saturday of no trips and headed up to Earth Lodge for the 10 year anniversary blow out.

There was a 75 pound pig on the spit and plenty of great food thanks to the lads at Earth Lodge, plenty, well almost plenty of beer to go around, and no shortage of debauchery to ring in the celebration.

Thanks to all of you who have made this possible, who have supported us in these past years and to those who have worked here at Old Town.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

OTO Racing....Fast...Its coporate policy!

Team Old Town Outfitters continues to hammer the race scene fielding 3 riders across the categories.  
Young gunner Pancho Haeckel is dominating the Jr. Elite with his lightning fast climbing prowess and surgeon like ability to pick his way through the technical bits.   He finished in 1st place this past weekend at the Race in Tecpan.

 Follow the Old Town race team as we head to Coban, Vera Paz the 19th of April. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mountain Khakis

Our good friends at Mountain khakis have hooked up the team at Old Town and sponsored us with their incredible line of Outdoor Utility pants and shorts.   Our guides are out most days and appreciate clothing and products designed and built for outdoor professionals.  This stuff is the bomb!  I highly recommend you get yourself in a pair of 'em and find out for yourself.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Wanna get involved? We have teamed up with a couple different organizations here in Guatemala and abroad to help get travelers connected to the community. We can customize your adventure trip with Old Town Outfitters to head out into the campo and volunteer on different projects. Mountain bike a few days with us or trek into the countryside and stop off in a small community to get involved before moving on to the next stop.

There are any number of cool projects to get involved with around the country but one that we think is great is building high efficiency stoves in rural communities. These stoves were designed by the guys at Global Vision International, an international volunteer placement organization, and are said to not only reduce the amount of smoke in the house but uses up to %90 less fuel wood thus keeping our hills greener.

This stove below was finished by a group from Play It Forward, a U.S. based travel company that focuses on adventure travel with a moral compass. Voluntourism as it has been called is getting more and more popular. We are facilitate travelers to not only come and tour Guatemala but to give something back to the rural communities in which we travel.

Get in touch with us at and let us help design a trip for you, get involved, get your hands dirty and get out on the trail.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Take time to Travel

Tim and Sue, friends of ours from the lively Harrisonburg, Va. area came down to Guate to hang on our home turf for a few weeks of riding. Seeing as they abused a group of us up there a few months back we decided that we wanted to have them here to try and get a bit of revenge. First, to level the playing field we made sure to have plenty of homebrew on tap to give us a leg up the next morning.

We spent a few days hanging in Antigua and riding each day to get a feel for whats around. There are any number of rides in the area so we tried to hit as many as possible. Just south of town sits Agua Volcano at just over 12,000 ft. The views from high up on the trails are second to none passing through old growth forest and flower fields on its way back down to the valley floor.

Antigua boasts a new ride on each new day. Most of the trails lead high up into the surrounding mountains and each side of the valley is distinctly different from the next. We are working on a project to circumnavigate the valley on a mix of trails, jeeps tracks, and chutes like this one below on the bottom of the Cielo Grande Ridge ride.

With tons of terrain nearby to play with some times its just better to hit the trail with some German engineering underneath ya. We headed out and made a big ole lap around the valley on the 650's and even managed to explore a new bit of trail that is going to make a beautiful 2 day ride out to Lake Atitlan. Stay in tune for that one as I'll be doing it soon on a mountain bike to see how it pans out.

A couple hours of stout trail climbing above Antigua lies one of the areas best kept secrets. Earth Lodge is an active avocado farm and travelers mountainside hostal that always makes for a good time. The good folks who run the place always make sure to take good care of us. The food is second to none and more than even a hungry cyclist can manage to get down the gullet. This is going to be a normal stop over for our new ride that will make a 2 day loop around the valley

Heading west we took off for a few days of riding at world famous Lake Atitlan. There is a pretty solid network of trails there that serve for most riders as downhill runs. However, we managed to find oursleves climbing trails and making new rides. It was a fresh change from the way we normally ride these rides and certainly puts the black in what we call a black diamond run. The scenery from the trails is absolutely stellar. There is hardly a ride that does not have a huge view to the lake down below.

Heading further afield we made the trek up to the high plateau of the Cuchumantanes mountain range. These are Central America's highest non volcanic mountains. The riding like the scenery is spectacular and very different here than anywhere else in Guatemala. The rocky trails offer up an experience much like that of East Coast riding. So Tim and Sue were once again in a good spot to show us how its done in the rocks. There's more than a few days worth of riding up there but we were on a mission to hit as many different places as possible. We mapped out a ride that would take us across the mountains into no mans land and connect to an area that likewise we knew would have great riding.

Acul is a sleepy little village nestled deep in the mountains that were once plagued by civil war and Guerilla patrols. Now the wars over and the area is opening up to mountain bikes. Our long time buddy has opened his family run cheese farm at the Hacienda San Antonio to tourists. We took advantage of the area and managed to find a new trail that I would venture to say has never see fat tires.

A parting glance from my room at the Cheese Farm in Acul

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gone Fishin

One of the best kept secrets about Guatemala is that the waters off the Pacific Coast are absolutley stocked with billfish. Some folks who fish the waters furhter north are happy to catch a handful of Sailfish or even see a Marlin in a single season.

This couldnt be furhter from the truth around these parts. This little stretch of coast line boasts some of the highest numbers hooked Sailfish and Marlins. Very few boats in the water means no over fishing and every racoon eyed fisherman that I run into has some outlandish story of the days legendary catch.

After hearing all the hoopla we decided to take a trip down to the Coast outselves and see if the crazy stories of 20, 30 sometimes up to 45 fish a day being pulled into the boat were true. We set it all up and headed down to Puerto Itzapa jumped on board the "Allure" that our Antigua buddy Kiwi Chris Captains.

Sure enough its not but a few minutes after we drop the first lines that we land the days first catch, a nice sized Mahi Mahi that the crew swiftly filetes up for lunch in a couple hours. Now ordinarily a few missed hooks on sailfish back home might dampen ones spirits, but here in Guatemala seeing the lines zinging out to sea every few minutes I knew that there would be plenty of time to hookmy first fish.

The crew were amazing and showed me the secret to hooking my own fish. It wasnt long before I had my first Sailfish on the line. After a fun fight we pulled her up into the boat so I could get a picture with the little cutie.

After a full day of fishing and beer drinking we managed to pull in nearly 40 Sailfish. If you work the math on that over about a 7 hour peroid that comes out to be something crazy like a fish every 10 minutes or so!!

So next time you hear the crazy story of how good the Sport fishing is off the coast of Guatemala, you'll know its not just another ole Fishin tale. Come down see for yourself.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mountain Bike Magazine 2009

We've done it again! Another magazine turned believer. We had the lads from Mountain Bike Mag down here to ride last March and as per usual, they were blown away. They tagged along on one of our tours around the country with a Canadian Based Company called Sacred Rides.

Magazine ran an 8 page spread showing some of the best of the riding around here in the valley and out at Lake Atitlan. hey but dont listen to me. Go out and buy yourself a copy and hold it tight.