Mountain Biking in Comalapa

Mayan town famously called the "Florence of the Americas". Their local mountain bike club is promoting social responsibility with cycling.
Mountain biking in Comalapa is just starting to be discovered. Located in the volcanic highlands of Guatemala Comalapa is situated in a  valley surrounded by colored hills.  The Formidable Cerro Tres Cruces rises to 2600m behind the town. Most of the town’s access roads are dirt, and the surrounding mountains make it the perfect destination for the off road two wheeled traveler.
 Comalapa Chimaltenango, Guatemala
Photo: Erick Velasquez ©2020 MTBguatemala.com

“Town of Painters and Artists”

The municipality of Comalapa is the cradle of great artists of Guatemala, including: Rafael Álvarez Ovalle, author of the music of the National Anthem and the painter Andrés Curruchich. Comalapa is known as “The Florence of America” which is distinguished by naive and early indigenous art.

Its painters and artists have given the town renown thanks to the frequent exhibitions that are mounted in the capital city, Antigua Guatemala, countries of North and South America and Europe.

"Comalapa,

Culture and Identity

This Mayan settlement was known as Chixot in the Kaqchikel language meaning “cooking discs or comal”. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived accompanied by the native Mexicans, they called it Comalapa de “Comal”, a clay disk, and “apa” place, or sea “Place of the Comales”.

At the main entrance to Comalapa, the cemetery walls draw attention to the mural themes that tell the story, from before the arrival of the conquerors, the colonial era, evangelization in the 17th century, catastrophic events, the civil war over the lands, the peace accords in 1996, the customs and traditions, among other stories of the people.

Indomitable Mayan Kaqchikel Culture

The Mayan population in Comalapa is around 97%. The people still speak the indegenous Kaqchikel language and dress in traditional clothing rich in color with designs that represent love of culture.

Since ancient times, the women of this town have woven their own huipiles or blouses, which are of incomparable beauty. They also weave their so-called “zutes” which are cloths worn on the head for their religious ceremonies.

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Mountain Biking in Comalapa

Comalapa is an ideal destination for the practice of MTB, its geographical location allows you to enjoy the diversity of landscapes, native pine and oak forests, its culture and ride on ancient trails that were used by the Mayan Kaqchikeles in the 15th century as ceremonial routes. and trade.

The local cycling club, La Manada has dedicated to promoting cultural and natural heritage of the region. La Manada has organized mountain biking events to promote the use of bicycles as a sustainable, simple and ecological means of transport that contributes to environmental management and benefits health, in addition to contributing to social works.

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Club MTB La Manda Comalapa
Club MTB La Manada Comalapa

Club MTB La Manada

Founded in 2017, this cycling club was originally dedicated to organizing night tours on the streets and avenues of the town to promote a healthy life and create bonds of friendship between neighbors.

They used low-end bicycles, but the interest in taking this sport to another level grew little by little. More friends and neighbors joined who decided to explore rural communities on dirt roads and explore technical trails more suitable for this type of sport. .

“La Manada” is a group of family and friends who travel together to explore trails, landscapes, forests and the best of Comalapa. At each “colaso” or outing, cyclists contribute a fee to maintain a savings fund that is used for social projects, such as delivery of food to the elderly, families with limited resources, delivery of toys to children at Christmas time, among other works for the benefit of the population and the environment.

"Comalapa

“The Campesinos are always the best guides in the mountains”

In Comalapa there are hundreds of ancestral trails that connect the high mountains the valley where the town is located. You can enjoy the landscapes of the Highlands of Guatemala, views of the volcanoes, fields of vegetables, corn, beans and appreciate the real life of the indigenous population.

La Manada has earned the admiration and friendship of local campesinos who work in the mountains and fields, in addition to sharing with them invite them to travel the most remote and exclusive trails to reach places little explored. Water sources, ceremonial altars, exclusive viewpoints and native forests are part of the attractions that the peasants share with the adventurers on two wheels. There is no doubt that the best local mountain guides are those who work in the field!

Trvesia la Cumbre – held in October 2019 MTBguatemala.com

Trayectoria de “La Manada”

Thanks to the organization and leadership of co-founder Erik Velásquez, the club has managed to achieve its short-term goals. The club’s social and environmental impacts have grown along with the group. La Manada has had national participation in different mountain biking events, including the organization of the “La Cumbre” crossing with the support of the Comalapa municipality.

Social Responsibility

The club has recently organized a solidarity campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic to help local families with food. The club has shown that it can balance community responsibility with sport and health. They expect more positive impacts and be recognized in the region for promoting mountain biking with a sociocultural and environmental focus. Mountain biking has a bright future in Comalapa.

-Alex Saqbe
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