Mountain Biking on Volcan Agua with Backshop Bikes – November in Guatemala

Antigua Rides

Guatemala City and General || Life, living and Tips ||  First Antigua Ride with Backshop Bikes || Second Antigua Ride with Backshop Bikes  || El Zur with Old Town Outfitters ||  Lake Atitlan with Old Town Outfitters ||  Rio Dulce with Old Town Outfitters ||  Tikal ||

Escaping the rains of Canada in Guatemala, mountain biking in Antigua.

Ride Two with Backshop Bikes – Volcan Agua Rides

Day two of our trip with Backshop Bikes had us ride on trails on the flanks of Volcan Agua. Keep in mind that Antigua itself is at an elevation of 1530m. Volcan Agua is almost 2 vertical kms above Antigua at an elevation of 3760m but we didn’t start from its peak.

Instead our rides started in the village of Santa Maria de Jesus about 20 minutes drive south of Antigua on a steep paved road and ended in the village of San Juan del Obispo, riding through agricultural areas, farmers fields and jungle. The villages are not in a region quite as densely populated as the previous days ride closer to Antigua and consequently these trails were not as old and trenched. There are a high proportion of ethnic Mayans in this area many of whom live in areas without power or electricity especially at higher elevations. Due to nature of its location on a volcano’s flank the soil is extraordinarily fertile and vegetation fecund. The sheer amount of tropical jungle flowers and colours in the area is very distracting and the views are exceptional. Combined with the streetlife and business of Sta Maria (it is a regional trading hub), the rides today were a cultural and bio-geo-climatic sensory experience as well as really fun high-quality mountain-biking.

Each of these rides was 5-6km long with an elevation drop of 500m and with about 100 to 150m of climbIng so yet again the moderate comfortable “eternal springlike” temperatures were welcome. The shuttle retrieval was about as fast as the ride, with only a 10 minute or so wait. You can certainly bang out an impressive number of very fast laps here and we did.

Mountain Biking Guatemala – Antigua Trails (Volcan Agua area) from Lee Lau on Vimeo.

Lee sporting the Guatemalan colours with Pablo and Humber

First we ride through town

Then ride up through the corn fields

With the city views below

This trail is called Nispero for the fruit growing on the trees

Slippery when wet! A unique rock trail in this area that doubles as a river


Humber and Lee – Wes Butler Photo

Cultural Interlude;

Maya Pedal

Poverty is widespread in Guatemala and non-renewable power can be out of reach for many people. As such many NGO’s exist to help them out. Maya Pedal is one that started in 1997 with the Canadian group PEDAL. They recycle old bikes and give them to needy people, as well they repurpose bikes and parts to do other human powered mechanical jobs like husk peanuts, make smoothies and perform other tasks. They accept volunteers to come and work in the shop to help build and create new human powered machines. Maybe check it out to see if you could help them out!

They are situated in the town of San Andres Itzapa

Old bikes and parts waiting to be repurposed.

We husked some peanuts and made a smoothie!

Where to Stay

Hotel San Jorge – for a quieter, more relaxing stay with privacy.

Rooms and your own toilet!

Outside Gardens

And complimentary breakfast if you don’t want to eat out. San Jorge also made us Breakfast to go on a couple of our early starts.

Where to Eat

Breakfast at Y Tu Pina Tambien

Lunch at Parramos Comida Typica

Dinner at Rony’s Tacos

Or Hector’s Bistro

Elevation Profile and Map


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