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