Guatemala City and General || First Antigua Ride with Backshop Bikes || Second Antigua Ride with Backshop Bikes || El Zur with Old Town Outfitters || Tikal || Rio Dulce with Old Town Outfitters || Acatenango with Old Town Outfitters
Lake Atitlan is a 340m deep lake which filled in an ancient Caldera formed by a Volcanic explosion 84,000 years ago. The lake is surrounded by three Volcanos that have risen from the Caldera – Volcán Atitlan, Volcán San Pedro and Volcán Tolimán. To say that Atitlan t is a popular tourist destination is an understatement. Located just 50km North West of Antigua its a blue gem in the tropical jungle. Atitlan is traditional Mayan territory, specifically the Tz’utujil and Kaqchikel nations and is surrounded by Mayan villages and trails. These Mayan trails are the trails we rode and hiked.
The area has a storied history and an ugly past; many Mayans died during the Guatemalan Civil war as part of a Government led campaign to quell insurgencies in the countryside. Atitlan and its villages are coming back, but robberies are still prevalant in rural areas so its best to get a read on local conditions before heading out.. Urban areas are relatively safe; Santiago Atitlan and Panajachel are the largest towns in the area. Pana is the main tourist town with the largest market and an amazing variety tourist goods and handicrafts for sale. Pana is the primary stopping point to the Atitlan and via a fleet of boat-taxis provides access to some of the towns surrounding the lake.
Our trip to Atitlan started at Antigua and once again we were based out of the very convenient and comfortable Hotel San Jorge. leaving early to sample Old Town Outfitter’s two day Pedal and Paddle Tour. Marco shuttled us so we could maximize singletrack riding while Welber ensured we didn’t get lost. The first leg of our ride started at Las Prampas through cornfields and Indigenous villages which includes the Atitlan Slickrock trail. I didn’t include the GPS track of this section since it goes through small communities that Old Town Outfitters has established relationships for permission to access. The second leg was the popular
Santa Catarina Baharona “Precipicio” trail which starts at Mirador San Antonio descending the wonderfully narrow streets of Santa Catarina and eventually ends in Panajachel.
Our shuttle vehicle
Views of Lake Atitlan throughout our ride, the Kona Precept bike was a good choice for this trail.
Welber on a techy section, rockin it on his Kona Cinder Cone
Sharon in the corn fields.
Lee on the technical Slickrock section
Mayan’s collecting their wood old skool
We were offered a ride up the road by a local, yup we’ll take it!
Where Marco met us for lunch
Then we rode to the top of Santa Cat trail with views of Lake Atitlan
Down we go
Heading down the town
Santa Catarinans in traditional dress
We then went to our hotel where we had simply awesome views of Volcan Fuego blowing in the distance
Day two – Paddle and Hike.
We spent the night at Casa Del Mundo, a hotel in Jaibalito, Lake Atitlan that took 20 years to build. It’s owned by an American out of Alaska and a Guatemalan who raised their family there. You can tell this was a dream project for themas the hotel was finely built with intricate obsessive attention to detail. It’s a worthy place to stay accessible only by boat. Each room has hot water heated by Solar panels and spectacular views.
Casa del Mundo
Just to mix it up and see the country another way we went on a kayak paddle and hike loop from our hotel on Lake Atitlan. We paddled from Casa del Mundo to San Marcos La Laguna. At the dock we met another local who carried a machete just in case, and we hiked back 7km to Casa del Mundo.
Now we hike
It was a nice trail to hike with great views, but not rideable unless your name is Ryan Leech…
Hike route and elevation
Then Lee and Welber went for a dip in the lake
While I enjoyed my liquido and Gallo
Where to Stay and Eat
Casa del Mundo. Pretty special place on Lake Atitlan. You could spend a lot of time here just chilling.
View from our room
Walkways in the Casa
Where to Eat
As access to this Casa is only by boat and the village is small, your meals are provided by the hotel at a fair price. The dinner was a set menu for all the guests, breakfast was a choice of eggs, oatmeal or other items with Coffee or Tea.
Lunch on the patio
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