The Mayan Heartland. Bordered to the west by the 3200m+ pine forested summit of Maria Tecún and to the east by the high, rocky summits of the Cuchumatánes. Quiché is pitted with deep, dry canyons and loaded with trails to explore.
Santa Cruz Del Quiché
Capital of the department – located in the heart of the Guatemalan mountains Santa Cruz serves as the trading post for the numerous indigenous villages throughout the department. Seldom visited by tourists the town is a mixture of dense urban markets, and and cattle pastures. The terrain in Quiché is incredibly steep, split by 300m deep deep barrancos (canyons).
Los Escarabajos Quiché
(The beetles 🙂 This local cycling group has grown substantially in the last couple of years, mapping hundreds of miles of trails in the region and promoting the sport with yearly events and races.
Totonicapán is a Mayan (97% indigenous K’iche) city and department in the Sierra Madre mountains of Guatemala averaging 2700m (9,000ft) in elevation. -The area is vast and home to 40+ cantones or small towns – many of which are only composed of a few houses. Totonicapán is of note here because it is home to some incredible mountain biking and Central America’s largest pine forest.
The Communal Forest of Totonicapán represents the largest and most well-preserved coniferous forest in all of Central America and has been communally managed and conserved to the present-day without much outside influence. The forest houses over 1,200 springs which are the headwaters for five of Guatemala’s major rivers (Samalá, Chixoy, Nahualate, Motagua, and Quiscab which drains into Lake Atitlan).
“Land of the trees” Momostenango is an isolated village in the heart of the Sierra Madre mountains. An outpost town, to the east descend countless river valleys that feed the Rio Chixoy. Mayan culture is alive and strong in Momostenango where their are several artisan painting and weaving collectives.
Local cycling club MTB Momos runs one of the oldest Mountain Bike events in the country each year each July: The Momos 50k – over 25 years running.
Most of Quiché is over 9,000ft. Which means the weather here is cool. Morning fog fills the valleys and the temperatures here can drop around freezing. Average daily temps range from 10-20°C (50-65°F)
Dry Season (Sept – May)
The dry season here is characterized by hardened adobe like soil – that prevents much undergrowth from developing in the forest. Pine forest here are thin and make for great bike riding.
During the rainy season (May – September) afternoon storms engulf the area around 3pm – and the rains go through the night. Trails get quite muddy and that adobe type soil can be very slippery.
XC Hardtail or Full suspension 80-100mm of travel.
Maximum gear ratio for climbing. 28×42 or 32×50