Monday, September 9, 2013

Nebaj to Todos Santos Trekking

This past weekend we headed out to the Ixil triangle town of Nebal to start a pilgrimage to the western highland indigenous town of Todos Santos.  Every November 1st there is an enormous celebration honoring those loved ones that have moved on to greener pastures.  The "Dia de los Muertos" as its called is a a day to fly kites, party at the cemetery and remember loved ones.

 Depending on what route you take you can make the journey in 3-5 days.  We always take the path less traveled and opted for a route that not many tourist take.  It is harder and takes a couple days longer but the vistas and trails are absolutely stunning.  We extended our trip with a cushy start hanging out at the "Finca San Antonio" the day we arrived to the area.  It was a great chance to tour the pueblo of Acul, one of the first military "model villages" during the civil war.

The Finca has a few guest houses where you can chill out and enjoy the Swiss-like surroundings.  We got dropped off at the trailhead and started our 3+ hour grinder up into the mountains.  It was tough but the views made it all worth while.  We stayed the night a cool community hostal high up on the plateau and enjoyed an afternoon swinging in hammocks.

The rest of the days push further into the Guatemalan back-country on a myriad of braided trails criss-crossing the rocky plains of the alti-plano.  The trek takes you through lush green valleys, steep ravines, plenty of remote villages into a place where time seems to stand still.

 It is a truly unique experience, one that should not be missed.  If you make it to Guatemala and are looking for something different, something that feels connected to the people and places that you see, this is your trek.  It really is a once in a lifetime experience.  Peg it during the right time of year and you can stop in at Todos Santos in time for the fabled horse race.  For more information on this walk and many more visit our website.

See ya on the trail!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Xela Climbing Trip

This past weekend there was a break in the rain and we were able to sneak in a trip out to Quetzaltenango to go climbing.  "La Muela" as its called or the "molar"  much like Devil's Tower, Wyoming or the infamous "half dome" is the core of an eroded volcanic complex.  
Whats left now is a jagged out crop of rocks with hundreds of trad and sport routes all over it.  Most of the routes are 5.10 or higher which makes for some advanced climbing.  Old Town Outfitters offers trips out to La Muela normally as a two day experience.  There's certainly enough rock there to keep you occupied.
La Muela is a pretty unique place to climb.  Not only because its in Guatemala, but as many of the volcanoes are Mayan sacred sites there are always groups of Mayan priests performing rituals and the base of the walls.  The sounds of the chanting resonates on the walls and adds an interesting almost erie aspect to the climb.  
We've got a similar rock climbing trip going out this weekend.  This one is head to Lake Amatitlan just to the northeast of Pacaya Volcano.  Its a super cool spot over looking the lake and with smoking pacaya in the distance its a pretty cool place to climb.  We'll be giving a bit of a sport leading seminar so stop on in the Old Town Outfitters office or get in touch via email us for more info.
Stay tuned to our online calendar on the Old Town website for more upcoming climb trips.  We have all the gear and more than 15 years experience guiding climbing trips here in Guatemala.
See ya on the rock!