Experience a side of Guatemala most travellers will never see trekking Central America’s largest non volcanic mountain range. The trek will take you through the true heart of the modern Mayan civilization, where local life is almost entirely still based on subsistence farming and trade, and Mayan dialects are still spoken. The hike itself will take us through deep valleys and up long ridges, and ultimately across a gorgeous plateau with incredible views of south of Guatemala and the epic ring of fire volcanic chain.
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Arrive to Guatemala City International Airport and transfer to Antigua. We’ll pick you up at the airport and answer any questions you may have about the next week. Spend your evening with a glass of wine overlooking the park, or take it easy and rest up for this week’s adventures.
Overnight Hotel in Antigua
We spend the day walking off the jetlag and exploring the cobblestone colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala. This former Spanish capital still boasts a bustling center of culture and markets, and is decorated by numerous 17th and 18th century ruins to explore. We will take a 3-hour cultural tour of the town in the morning with a local historian who will point out all the important characteristics of the city and her architecture, and will have the rest of the afternoon to explore on our own.
Overnight hotel in Antigua
Road trip! Today we will take make our 7 hour drive out to Acul. Our mountainous drive will take us into the heart of the Mayan highlands. We’ll pass through the indigenous town of Nebaj, the main town of the Ixil Triangle. This region of the country was the “hot-seat” of the rebellion during the country’s nearly 35 year civil war. Acul was the first of the Government imposed “model villages” where the military forced different Mayan ethnic groups to live together under Government supervision as a means to undermine their solidarity. We’ll stay on a working cheese farm and have an opportunity to walk around the grounds as well as explore the village.
Overnight Hacienda San Antonio
Today’s hike will take us through the winding valley of Acul before we make another long climb (~2hrs, 800 mts) upto a high plateau in the Cuchumatanes. Once on the plateau, we will enjoy beautiful cross-country walking through farm fields, forests, and local towns. Our overnight will be in a community hostal, in a town completely isolated from the world with no connections by road or power. The town is a pure picture of life for the local Maya in these highlands, and a very unique place to visit.
HIKE: Distance: 15.5km; Elevation Gain: 1535m; Elevation Loss: 270m; Walking Time: 8hrs
Overnight Community Hostel in Chortiz
Today’s objective will be to cross the Aguacatan Ravine. We’ll hike across the plateau and down into the valley before climbing back out, beginning our 13 kilometer push. We are heading to one of the most unique lodgings in Guatemala, the Unicornio Azul. This lodge is a rustic horse farm in the middle of the highlands, with picturesque views and rolling hills on all sides.
HIKE: Distance: 17.5km; Elevation Gain: 835m; Elevation Loss: 1038m, Walking Time: 8hrs
Overnight Unicornio Azul
Continuing our journey through the heart of the highlands, we’ll walk again on a high plateau with affording views to the south, maintaining our elevation of over 3000m. The hike being mostly flat as we are on the plateau will take us through plenty of small villages as we traverse out to the community of Chabal. We will once again stay in a community hostel in the town of Chabal, at the base of the highest non-volcanic point in Central America
HIKE: Distance: 16km; Elevation Gain: 342m; Elevation Loss: 147m; Walking Time: 6hrs
Overnight Community hostel in Chabal
Our last push through the Cuchumatanes takes us down the Rio Limon valley, a nice smooth cross country and downhill trail for 12 kilometers. Our final walk in this range will drop us off in the town of Todos Santos, a cowboy town and one of the few remaining villages where men where the traditional village garb. We will leave Todos Santos and drive 4 hours to Lake Atitlan. Once at the lake, we will be staying in a cliff-side hotel, isolated and only accessible by footpaths and boats.
HIKE: Distance: 12.5km; Elevation Gain: 369m; Elevation Loss: 1159m; Walking Time: 5hrs
Overnight Casa del Mundo on Lake Atitlan
We will spend our last full day relaxing on Lake Atitlan. With 3 towering volcanoes rising from its shores, this is about as picturesque as it comes. The lake itself, the deepest in Central America, formed in the caldera of a former volcanic formation after the lava had been almost completely omitted in an eruption 84,000 years ago. Your guides will help facilitate if you would like to rent kayaks, explore other villages, shop, or you may simply want to relax in a hammock. In the late afternoon, we’ll make our final 2.5hr drive back to Antigua.
Overnight Hotel in Antigua
Say adios to Guatemala!
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Pioneer Expeditions