The ancient Maya believed that the cos­mos had three major planes: the Earth, the under­world beneath and the heav­ens above. On this Ride, you won’t do much under­world explor­ing but you will dis­cov­er heav­en on Earth.

Its name is Guatemalan sin­gle­track and the coun­try­side is rid­dled with hun­dreds of thrilling kilo­me­ters of it. The bright blue sun­ny skies will pro­vide the heav­ens above and the vol­ca­noes and moun­tains of Guatemala pro­vide all the spec­tac­u­lar Earth you need to be trans­port­ed to your own cos­mic realm.

Mayan cul­ture is still alive and well in Guatemala; on this trip you’ll ride through tra­di­tion­al vil­lages where life con­tin­ues most­ly unchanged from ancient Mayan times. Spend the morn­ing kayak­ing along Lago de Ati­tlán, a spec­tac­u­lar blue lake ringed by tra­di­tion­al Mayan com­mu­ni­ties and vol­ca­noes and expe­ri­ence a dif­fer­ent pace and way of life that just might trans­port you to the heav­ens above…

Join us as we embark on days filled with epic moun­tain bik­ing adven­tures, and evenings enjoyed in the com­forts of award-win­ning and cul­tur­al­ly rich, high-end accom­mo­da­tions.
 

Is This Ride For You?

This Ride is for you if you love explor­ing oth­er cul­tures from the seat of your moun­tain bike. You are a tech­ni­cal­ly strong, expe­ri­enced moun­tain bik­er who rides advanced lev­el trails reg­u­lar­ly. You can han­dle climbs up to 900 meters in a day. Your sin­gle­track skills are sol­id and you can han­dle rooty, rocky and nar­row trails. You’re open to new and exot­ic expe­ri­ences, and don’t mind get­ting out of your cul­tur­al com­fort zone once in awhile. Kayak­ing and swim­ming in Lago de Ati­tlán is a pic­ture-per­fect way to spend a morn­ing! Kick­ing back after a sol­id day on the bike at a lux­u­ry, colo­nial-style hotel is a dream come true!

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive Guatemala City, Wel­come To Antigua! 

Wel­come to Antigua!

We’ll meet at La Auro­ra Inter­na­tion­al Air­port  and trans­fer you to the beau­ti­ful colo­nial city of Antigua. The air­port shut­tle is includ­ed on Day 1 and we’ll orga­nize two to three shut­tles based on every­one’s arrival time.

We encour­age you to unwind and set­tle into your Antigua home at Los Olivos Hotel, a bou­tique hotel in the heart of Antigua and close to the main plaza. 

For those arriv­ing ear­ly, we encour­age you to explore this his­tor­i­cal 16th-cen­tu­ry city, with cob­ble­stone streets, vibrant archi­tec­ture and cit­i­zens dressed in col­or­ful Mayan clothing. 

If you arrive ear­li­er in the day, there will be an option­al shut­tle ride to get your legs spin­ning. There will also be time this afternoon/evening to build your bike with the assis­tance of the guides. 

Tonight, we’ll have a meet and greet din­ner in one of the local restau­rants, where we’ll enjoy the local cui­sine and review the excit­ing plan for the week ahead!

Day 2. El Zur Bike Park & Agua Volcano

We’ll meet at the hotel in the morn­ing for a gourmet buf­fet breakfast. 

Then, we’ll hop on the bikes and head up to the base of the Agua Vol­cano for our first taste of the local sin­gle­track. At 3,760 m (12,340 ft) the vol­cano dom­i­nates the local land­scape and tow­ers above Antigua except when hid­den by cloud cover. 

The local Kaqchikel peo­ple have always called the vol­cano ‘Hunapú’ mean­ing “place of flow­ers.” The Agua Vol­cano is also home to a vari­ety of amaz­ing moun­tain bike trails. 

Around the back­side of the vol­cano is a pri­vate moun­tain bike reserve called “El Zur Bike Park” which includes over 30kms of hand-built sin­gle­track bliss! El Zur is the only of its kind in Guatemala, and we have exclu­sive access to it!

Thank the locals for these incred­i­ble trails!

We’ll hop in 4x4’s and shut­tle up to the end of the road at 2,800m. A short climb pays off with near­ly 20 km of flowy goodness.

Tun­nels, berms and sus­pen­sion bridges are all part of this epic ride. If there’s enough left in the tank we can climb back up for anoth­er pass on the bot­tom third or head over and take a lap on the trail “G‑line”, a 3 km jump-line built by Grav­i­ty Log­ic (based in Whistler, B.C.) and inspired by the famous “A‑Line” trail at the Whistler Bike Park.

Tonight, din­ner is on your own and there are many amaz­ing restau­rants to choose from. Your guides can rec­om­mend a vari­ety of excel­lent restau­rants close to your hotel. Explore on your own, or join oth­er Rid­ers for dinner. 

We’ll spend the night back at the Los Olivos Hotel. 

Day 3. Ixchime Enduro

We’ll enjoy a gourmet buf­fet break­fast at the Los Olivos Hotel before pack­ing up and head­ing off on our next adventure.

This morn­ing we’ll explore the Ixim­che Ruins. The old build­ings were a Kaqchiquel Maya strong­hold until the 1520’s when it was aban­doned as the Mayan pop­u­la­tion fled from the Spanish.

The ruins are locat­ed in what is now the small town of Tec­pan, a cool, high­land forest­ed region and one of the first per­ma­nent Span­ish settlement. 

Today’s ride starts with a shut­tle up to a small vil­lage just beneath the Aca­te­nan­go Vol­cano at 2,500 m  (8,200 ft). Vol­ca­noes dom­i­nate the view as we ride down the ridge back to the val­ley floor. Trails criss­cross the land­scape as we pass through agri­cul­tur­al fields & villages.

We’ll fin­ish up the morn­ing at a shrine to a local Mayan spir­i­tu­al deity, Maximon.

A short shut­tle takes us to the top of the moun­tains over­look­ing the ruins of Ixim­che. A series of steep tech­ni­cal trail offers up the first glimpses of Lake Ati­tlán and the ravines and val­leys in-between. Our last descent drops us just out­side of the Ixim­che Ruins where we’ll take a short guid­ed tour of the site and then head off to the hotel for a well-earned rest.

Tonight, we’ll have din­ner near Tec­pan and spend the night at Casa Xara — a his­toric flour mill turned into a cozy, com­fort­able bou­tique lodge. 

Day 4. Mayan Traverse

After a gourmet buf­fet break­fast at the hotel, we’ll load up and head towards Panajachel. 

The vibrant colours of the mar­ket in Pana­jachel come alive as street ven­dors sell their tra­di­tion­al wares and arti­san crafts. 

Our route fol­lows the exo­dus of the Kaqchiquel to Lake Ati­tlán after the Span­ish con­quest. The area around Lake Ati­tlán is still alive with their cul­ture and language. 

We will descend the infa­mous “Sendero de las vacas” named after encoun­ters with cows ascend­ing the deep, switch­back trail that bik­ers had to climb up to let the herd pass! We’ll break a sweat on a long, grad­ual climb, but it’ll be worth it! At the top, we will get stun­ning views of the sap­phire-blue Lake Ati­tlán, sur­round­ed by vol­ca­noes, it’s one of the world’s pret­ti­est lakes. 

After a pic­nic lunch with an incred­i­ble view we’ll descend the famous San­ta Cat DH trail. It’s famous for it’s unique urban down­hill through the town of San­ta Cata­ri­na Palopó.

We’ll have a quick ride over to Pana­jachel to check-in to the Hotel Reg­is. We’ll enjoy the evening with cold bev­er­ages, deli­cious food and per­haps relax our mus­cles in the hot tub!

Day 5. Ride and Relax at Lake Atitlán

Lake Ati­tlán was formed by a vol­canic erup­tion 84,000 years ago. Now filled with vibrant blue water and ringed by steep, ver­dant hills, it’s known for its Mayan vil­lages and vol­ca­noes with strik­ing point­ed cones and amaz­ing riding!

We’ll head towards the lake and shut­tle high above the blue waters to near­ly 3,000 m (9,800 ft) which will pro­vide us with a panoram­ic view of the canyons and vol­ca­noes around the lake. We’ll climb 5 km on the trail to an area known as “El Cora­zon de las Nubes” which is a Mayan cer­e­mo­ni­al site.

The ecol­o­gy at this alti­tude in Guatemala is home to a unique mix of alpine grass, graz­ing sheep, and agave plants.

We will fol­low rocky, tech­ni­cal sin­gle­track through pine forests pass­ing through small Mayan com­mu­ni­ties and wave hel­lo to the locals. After a pic­nic lunch and short shut­tle we will con­tin­ue our descent to Lake Ati­tlán in a 1,000 m down­hill trail — the most tech­ni­cal trail of the week.

Day 6. Kayak­ing and Cof­fee, Plus Los Pinos Downhill

Today we’ll take a much need­ed morn­ing off and enjoy  Lake  Ati­tlán. Swing in a ham­mock, take a swim or pad­dle to a near­by vil­lage (Kayaks included).

After a relax­ing morn­ing, we’ll head towards  Antigua and get dropped at the top of the ridge above Antigua.

A “hato” in Span­ish is where shep­herds take their ani­mals to graze. The tiny vil­lage of El Hato above Antigua was, in the not so dis­tant past, a remote vil­lage at the end of a dirt road with no pow­er. It just so hap­pens there’s a lot of great trail rid­ing there too!

From here, we’ll ride the Antigua Down­hill course. After a short climb, we’ll ride a beau­ti­ful con­tour trail that winds its way through old-growth forests down to our moun­tain side hotel for the night.

We’ll enjoy sun­set beers and vol­cano views!

Back in “Pana” as its local­ly known, we’ll meet a water taxi that will take us to our cliff-side hotel (the mag­i­cal La Casa del Mun­do) in time for a swim and cold beer!

Day 7. One More Time! “La Ultima”

In Antigua cul­ture, there is always one more or “la ulti­ma”. Whether it be a beer before clos­ing time, or in our case, one last ride before its time to wash and pack up our two-wheeled machines. 

The last hur­rah! One last great Antigua trail ride. Short and sweet but full of steps, con­tours and tech­ni­cal rid­ing. Leav­ing El Hato, the trail con­tours down towards Antigua.

It’s the per­fect last piece of trail before you head home. Back at the shop, we’ll wash the bikes and your guides will help pack your bikes for the trip back home.

There will be time for last-minute sou­venir shop­ping before we cel­e­brate an incred­i­ble week at one of Antigua’s local restau­rants with din­ner and a few drinks at a famous local tequi­la bar!

We’ll spend the night back at the Los Olivos Hotel in Antigua.

Day 8. Farewell and Air­port Transfer

We have reached the last day of our amaz­ing trip in Guatemala and it’s time to say good­bye. Enjoy break­fast at the hotel and then High-five your new rid­ing pals before head­ing back to the airport.

We’ll arrange for air­port drop-off on Day 8 based on Rid­ers indi­vid­ual flight times.

Picture Yourself Here…

Book La Ruta de Maya Now

Dates chosen: Mar. 13, 2021—Mar. 20, 2021
Skill Rating: Black Diamond
Fitness Rating: Black Diamond
Exit Booking
Skill Levels
Green Circle

Typically, green Rides are safe for beginners. Green Rides may have both avoidable and unavoidable obstacles. Trails are generally low grade, wide, consistent surface texture and have minimal features. You are likely to come across unavoidable obstacles 2-inches or shorter, which is small enough for mountain bike tires to simply roll over. More challenging than tarmac, but in general, a wonderful Ride for those riders new to mountain biking or looking for a casual experience.

Blue Square

In general, Blue trails are narrower than green trails, encounter unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, and drops that are up to 8-inches tall. You will want to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of mountain biking including body positions, powerful braking, cornering, riding on varied terrain, steep sections and experience riding trails that requires line choice. Airtime is not mandatory, but you will find yourself on trails with alternate lines giving you the option.

Black Diamond

The Black Diamond Rides are  suitable for riders looking for that edge. Maybe it’s the edge of a drop, the edge of a cliff, or singletrack requiring focus and fast reactions developed from extensive experience riding “the edge”. You will find yourself on steep trails of varied surfaces. In the Pacific North West that could be slick roots and loam, in Nepal you will find exposed granite in the Mustang Valley and in Guatemala it maybe narrow stairways through cliffside villages. While airtime is rarely required, the ability to find the backside or clean a tabletop should be comfortable or in a state of progress. Obstacles on Black rides are likely to be outside the range of your bikes ability to cover your goofs with its awesome suspension and grip.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black ride is for those that already know they are looking for a Double Black. It’s going to be very hard and require advanced bike handling skills. You will find yourself on trails with sections most non-riders would look at and say, “that’s totally nuts!”. You will know how to look at a line and contemplate where it will work and where it won’t. Drops of a couple feet should be comfortable and getting your bike off the ground should feel predictable and fun.

Fitness Levels
Green Circle

You should be ready to spend 2-4 hours per day on the bike. Mileage may be up to 30km/20 miles and elevation gain will be under 500m/1500feet. On e-MTB tours, numbers will be higher, however the approximate effort would be considered similar to a standard Green Circle ride. If you get on your bike once a week, you will be just fine. However, when preparing for a Ride, you will benefit from more rides and time in the saddle.

Blue Square

Blue should be considered a good deal more effort than our Green Rides.  You should be able to handle 3 to 5 hours in the saddle covering up to 45km/30miles and be able to pull off a big day of 1000m/3000feet of elevation gain. Managing fuel is important as well.  You should have a good understanding how your body responds to multiple days on the bike. We will help with positive coaching, a manageable pace and plenty of trailside snacks.

Black Diamond

A Black Fitness ride will test you. Aside from needing to be able to manage up to 6 hours on the bike, day after day, including distance up to 50km/30miles and elevation gains up to 1750m/5000feet of climbing, you will be adding extra challenges along the route like periods of hike-a-bike and the extra effort required by the whole body to safely dance with your bike over technical terrain. Generally, riders who are up for a Black Fitness ride, likely spend time on the bike a couple times each week.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black will be for those with the strength and endurance to get to the top of anything they want and understand the term “turning the screw”. Distance could be quite high on some routes and elevation gain numbers could hit 2000m/6000 feet+ in a day. You are likely riding multiple days a week during the dry periods and have a trainer or belong to a gym for the rest of the year.