Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Western Highlands Mayan Trail

Hiking with the Maya

 This past weekend we had the luck to head out to the western highlands just above and beyond lake Atitlan and trek three days to Quetzaltenango.  The route retraces ancient old footpathes that we once part of the super highways and trade routes that connected the Tzutujuil Maya of the Lake Atitlan basin with the Mam Speaking Maya of the Quetzaltenango valley.

 The trail itself is anywhere from three to five days of super scenic remote backpacking through forgotten villages, deep river canyons and altiplano.  Much of the walk is up above 10,000ft on a ridge that seperates the two areas.  Off to the west side of the ridge is Santa Maria volcano and the towns of Zunil, Almolonga and Xela. Off to the east you are looking out over Atitlan her three majestic volcanoes and all the way back to the volcanoes that surround Antigua. 

This hike is an opportunity to get far back into the Guatemalan backcountry.  It is pretty much guaranteed that you will not see anyone else on the trails other than the locals who still use them as primary sources of transport and livelihood.  

As an added bonus to the already amazing walk we summit Zunil volcano with its long beautiful approach ridge. After all this hiking its nice to know that the end of the trail, literally, are the healing waters of the Fuentes Georginas hotsprings. We dump our packs grab a cold beer and slip into the springs to heal sore muscles.

The perfect way to end a perfect walk.
For more information on this or any other of our treks stop in the shop or check us out online
See ya on the trail!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Antigua Valley Loop Mountain Bike Tour

The Antigua valley is blessed with sweet single-track just outside of town. This is one our our favorite new rides that makes a loop around the Antigua valley high on the ridge tops above town.

The trip starts from the Old Town Outfitters shop and climbs steadily out of the valley.

The two day ride or one day cruncher is nearly 70 miles of all day technical mountain bike fun.

- Posted using BlogPress from
my iPhone

Monday, September 10, 2012

Acatenango overnight

Perhaps the best two day adventure trip in Guatemala, Acatenango is a pure trekkers peak.

The trail winds it's way through five distinct climatic zones on its way to the summit.

The last push up the cone is a tough scree climb but the views from the top are unparalleled. You can see the entire Guatemalan ring of fire including nearby Agua and Pacaya volcanoes as well as neighboring active Fuego volcano.

Waking up on the summit of acatenango at sunrise is an extra added treat. Come by the Old Town Outfitters office and book your trip today!
- See ya on the trail!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Linking two worlds

This is an epic unsupported ride that connects two different Guatemalan states, Mayan cultural groups and mountain chains together. Not to mention is a monster ride.

An early morning leave from the friendly confines of el Unicornio Azul takes us across altiplano cowboy country.

The views are big, the valleys deep and the singletrack, well pretty world class.

At the top of the "horseshoe", the connector piece of technical trail drops us from the state of Huehuetenango to that of Quiche.

After getting beaten up of this rocky descent we stop in for a much needed siesta along the rio palop for lunch.

At last after a couple mega valley descent/ ascents we arrive at the "Hacienda San Antonio", home to Guate's best cheese and a rowdy herd of blue heelers.

Morning in Acul, at the cheese farm

Little Switzerland in Guatemala.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Traverse to Todos Santos Cuchumantan

There's a long grinder of a climb from the Huehuetenango valley up to the top of the plateau know as the Cuchumantanes.

These are Central America's largest non volcanic mountains. Just so happens that they are also criss crossed in mountain bike trails.

On the ridge the views are 360 huge panoramas and the trail winds it's way up to "el paso de La Ventosa" or windy pass.

From the pass the trail rolls down passing age old communities where life seemingly hasn't changed much over the past hundred or so years.

This trail was the old super highway connecting farmer to farm and merchant to market.

There's a paved road into town these days leaving this trail to the mountain bikers.

Pure bliss

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 10, 2012

Atitlan slickrock

The Lake Atitlan basin is home to some of our favorite trail. The Atitlan Slickrock is one of them.

We packed up the old town team bus and shuttled high into the mountains above the lake. The first part of the ride is a ridge ride at 2600 mts.

After a couple steep technical drops the trail turns to rock and steadily climbs its way to the top of the mountains at 2800 mts.

Once at the top it's a whole mess of singletrack down to the bottom of the madre vieja river valley.

The trail turns to the sky once more for the last time before pointing back down to the lake and our digs at la Casa del Mundo.

There's gold in them thar hills that's for sure....and we found 30 kms of it!
Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Antigua to Atitlan II

Heading out from Tecpan the ride crosses a number of deep ravines

And pushes across river valleys on its way out to atitlan.

There's plenty of technical trail to keep you on your toes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Antigua to atitlan part I

Our ride from Antigua to lake Atitlan is a three day single track love fest that starts out climbing high into the hills above Antigua.

The trail traverses the "Cielo Grande" ridge that separates Antigua from the western side of the mountains.

It's a super rural area full Mayan culture, color, beautiful singletrack and high views.

Van supported lunch from Welber "Don Fish" Jiminez on our way to the base of the Parramos climb.

On one of the FEW flat plains in Guatemala riding west towards volcanoes Acatenango and Fuego in the distance. The flats end soon enough and the trail steadily starts its way upward to the Western Highlands.

One of the many pieces of pine forest singletrack making out way to Tecpan, the original Spanish colony in Guatemala.

Up and down through plenty of ravines the trail finally drops us down the last section of twisty technical trail to the hotel.

A beautifully restored flour mill from the early 1900's to cozy B&B.
Part II Tecpan to Pana starts tomorrow. Stay tuned!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone