The Route of the Conquistadores - Bike Guatemala
Guatemala, Bike - Fat Tyre, 15 days - from £1,545 (land only) - from €1,930 (land only) - from $2,500 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Antigua. A single group transfer from Guatemala City Airport is provided in the evening. KE Land Only package services begin with the overnight accommodation.
Day 2: We bike out to the village of Santa Maria de Jesus on the slopes of Volcan de Agua. A tough trail climb and singletrack descent provides a great introduction to Guatemalan mountain biking. Returning to our hotel in Antigua, the late afternoon is free for relaxing. In the evening we dine in one of Antigua's great restaurants. Ride distance 17 km (11 miles) with 650 metres of ascent and descent.
Day 3: Biking out from our hotel, we make a loop up onto the Cielo Grande Ridge, riding a mix of coffee planter's trails and technical singletrack. Beyond the El Rejon Pass, we drop back down to the valley and have a final climb to our horse ranch accommodation in Parramos. Ride distance 28 km (17.5 miles) with approximately 1250 metres of ascent and 1000 metres of descent.
Day 4: On this second day of our traverse across to Lake Atitlan, we ride a mix of footpaths and dirt roads, with some singletack. We pass through the towns of San Andreas Itzapa and Zaragoza, as well as smaller farmsteads, en route to Tecpan, where we stay in a converted flour mill beside a river. Ride distance 43.5 km (27 miles) with approximately 1000 metres of ascent and 650 metres of descent.
Day 5: Today we have an epic cross-country ride, following an old Spanish Conquistador corridor between Antigua and Lake Atitlan. We cross between rivers and climb to the caldera's edge overlooking the lake, then finish with a great singletrack descent. Overnight in the lively town of Panajachel. Ride distance 41 km (25.5 miles) with 1135 metres of ascent and 1650 metres of descent.
Day 6: We transfer out in the support vehicle for about 45 minutes to a ridge high up and to the north of Lake Atitlan. Biking back down to the lake, we enjoy technical singletrack and sections of slickrock ridge riding. We then transfer by boat to the cliff-side hotel of Casa del Mundo. Ride distance 23 km (14 miles) with approximately 650 metres of ascent and 1650 metres of descent.
Day 7: A free morning at the Casa del Mundo for swimming or kayaking or just relaxing. In the afternoon, we drive (4 hours) to the Cuchumatanes Mountains region and overnight in a hotel in Huehuetenango. Time to look around before dinner.
Day 8: Riding out from Huehuetenango in the early morning, we make a long ascent to a high plateau, passing through small Indian villages and with great views of the Cuchumatanes. We meander across this high ground, then have a long, fast descent to Todos Santos and our guesthouse. Ride distance 44 km (27 miles) with approximately 1800 metres of ascent and 1275 metres of descent.
Day 9: A great cross-country ride today, as we negotiate a tough, rocky climb back up onto the plateau and then continue on sheep trails and dirt roads towards the main ridge of the Cuchumatanes. After a great technical descent to lunch, we finally reach our accommodation at a horse ranch near to Chancol. Ride distance 42 km (26 miles) with approximately 1500 metres of ascent and 975 metres of descent.
Day 10: Our ride takes us in a big loop around to the north, on undulating singletrack trails. This is a real cross-country ride and one of the best of the holiday, as we continue to the Ixil Triangle. Beyond Palop, there's more up and down, before we can settle in at our rustic, family run lodge accommodation in Acul. Ride distance 57 km (36 miles) with approximately 1200 metres of ascent and 2500 metres
Day 11: We begin with a steady climb out of the Nebaj Valley on an old Spanish highway known as the 'boqueron'. From the crest of the ridge, we have a fantastic downhill to Cunen. Suitably rested, there follows more climbing and a mix of local trails and jeep tracks, en route to our overnight accommodation in Uspantan. Ride distance 58 km (37 miles) with 1800 metres of ascent and 1950 metres of descent.
Day 12: Another challenging day, as we climb up into the hills above the Chixoy Valley, before making a monster descent to a bridge over the river. More climbing, on a dirt track through forest, takes us back to the highway, where we meet our support vehicle and transfer to Coban and our hotel. Ride distance 61 km (38 miles) with 1600 metres of ascent and 2000 metres of descent.
Day 13: We end our Guatemalan epic with a long ride on a mix of road and jeep track to reach the blue river pools at Semuc Champey. We spend the afternoon at this beautiful spot, before transferring to our overnight stay in a hotel in Languin. Ride distance 69 km (43 miles) with 800 metres of ascent and 1600 metres of descent.
Day 14: We have an early start for the scenic drive back to Antigua, where we check in at our hotel. There is time for last minute shopping, before going out to celebrate the successful completion of a unique trip in one of Antigua's many great restaurants.
Day 15: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast with a single timed group transfer to Guatemala City Airport.
This holiday involves going to moderately high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 2500 metres. Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude but before coming on the holiday, we recommend you read the advice on trekking at altitude.
GPS Trip Data
Click on the link below to view the detailed stats for this holiday via Garmin Connect. Tracked using a Garmin etrex20 you can see detailed mapping of the route, daily distances travelled, the total ascent and descent each day and maximum altitude.