If you are looking for adventure and if you want to see Guatemala off the beaten path, then MTB Guatemala is the place. Deeply rooted in sincere passion for mountain biking and the culture of Guatemala, MTB Guatemala not only brings you on the best rides in the country, but they also ensure that you get a taste for what Guatemala is really about. From ancient Mayan trails to sandy volcanic terrain, through rivers (literally) and old forests, breezy highland villages and high mountain avocado farms; they offer something for everyone. Aside from the epic descents, what I most enjoyed was the interactions with the local people. We ended up in places far, far away from the tourism hot spots at which locals were enthralled by our presence. It made for countless phenomenal interactive experiences with the 'real' Guatemala that ended up being the highlight of my whole Central America trip. When you're on a mountain bike way off the beaten path you see, hear, smell, and taste all sorts of things you wouldn't otherwise experience. I think that a mountain bike is the best way to experience a foreign culture, and the diverse, all-encompassing MTB Guatemala tours are perfect examples of that.
I consider myself a moderate mountain biker (but I'm a much stronger mountain biker after Guatemala!). I've been shredding for a couple of years, mostly in the Pacific NW United States. I am no expert by any means. We did two tours: the Dos Aguacates Enduro Tour Antigua (day trip) and the Lake Atitlan Enduro Tour (two days, takes you from Antigua to Lake Atitlan). I was a little worried going into it knowing that I am not an expert, but in the end I was immensely happy with my experience. There is plenty of expert terrain but with help and advice from MTB Guatemala and my fellow riders, I was able to overcome any apprehension I had and fully send it. The majority of the terrain is unlike anything I had ridden before.
The Antigua Enduro was a blast. It was a lot of riding in somewhat loose volcanic sand (in the dry season), so it made for some really fun descents. You will learn to skid turn, for sure. Coming from Montana I was not used to the loose sandy terrain but I had it down pretty well by the end of the day. I am not the fastest climber so I was relieved that the expert riders on the tour waited up for me on the climbs, and they never made me feel uncomfortable or embarrassed whatsoever. The shuttle support was a game changer and allowed us to reach really high places without having to ride up thousands of feet. At the end of the day we had lunch at a small local spot where we experienced delicious Guatemalan cuisine unique to the village and the surrounding area.
I really loved the Lake Atitlan Enduro. In the grand scheme of our trip my brother and I were headed to Lake Atitlan after Antigua, so we used this ride as our means of getting there. Typically you'd ride to the lake, have lunch at the overlook, descend down to it, stay in a hotel (included in the tour), wake up the next day and shred more around the lake, then ride back in the shuttle to Antigua. What we did instead was send our luggage with the shuttle and continued our journey from the lake after the second day's ride. It made for a really cool and tremendously satisfying way to get there. The views on the Lake Atitlan tour are insane. Descending from the top of the mountain overlooking the lake into the village below and then to the waterfront was an unforgettable experience. The tour also comes with another delicious local Guatemalan breakfast on day 2 and a midday lunch (on both days).
Brendan and his team's deep passion for the culture and inspirational vision for MTB Guatemala was very obvious from the moment we met them in the shop. They have been identifying, studying and developing these routes for several years and it was really cool to see what they have done. They are building something really fantastic and I can't wait to go back and shred some more with them. Absolutely recommend to anyone and everyone. You will NOT be disappointed.