Hard
Difficulty
5/5
fitness
4/5
Technical
86.86km 53.97mi
Distance
2,826m 9,272ft
Ascent
-4,357m -14,295ft
Descent
2,621m 8,599ft
Max Alt.

Lake Atitlán Cross Country Mountain Bike Tour Package

Guatemala has some seriously big terrain and this 2 day Lake Atitlán Cross Country Tour combines big climbs, technical descents, and rewarding views that make the region a paradise for mountain biking.

Lake Atitlán is one of the best places to mountain bike in Guatemala – its enormous topography, perfect climate 12-24°C (55-75°F year round) and friendly local culture make it a highlight for many travelers. Around the lake there are hundreds of singletrack paths where we’ll explore connecting terraced onion fields, agricultural byways and ancient Mayan trading routes.

Highlights:

  • Reach Lake Atitlán from Tecpán via a tough backcountry route
  • Tour the Mayan Ruins of Iximché
  • See one of the world’s most beautiful lakes from the saddle of your bike.
  • Views of 8 volcanoes.
  • Lake Atitlán Cross Country Tour: this route is 80% technical agricultural singletrack
  • Ride an impressive ridge line with 360 degree views of the Lake
  • Descend the iconic “culebra” downhill
  • Visit the towns of Panajachel, San Antonio and Santa Catarina Palopó

Tecpán – Panajachel via Cerro Tecpán

From pine forested mountains of Tecpán at 2650m to the shores of Lake Atitlán this 50km route traverses a complex network of canyons, rivers and isolated Mayan villages. The route is remote – connecting isolated herding and farm paths to cross the Madre Vieja river before climbing to finish with the epic Culebra downhill.

Tecpán, Guatemala (2663.4 m)

The Imperío Kaqchikel is one of the largest mountain bike events of the year in Guatemala. Held in Tecpán, this marathon XC draws over 500 racers annually. Our route today begins by following the race’s first climb 12km (7.4mi) up 4×4 and singletrack trail to a spectacular view of Lake Atitlán and its three volcanes: San Pedro, Atitlán and Tolimán. We will also get views of Acatenango and active Fuego volcanoes to the southeast in Antigua and the Zunil and Santa Maria Volcanoes to the west in Quetzaltenango.

Our route will descend rough farming singletrack to the Madre Vieja river valley where we will face several tough climbs to get out. We will follow an ancient and eroded trail. “El sendero de las vacas” – a narrow and technical switchbacking descent used by headers to reach the canyon floor.

La Culebra Downhill

La Culebra the snake is one of Guatemala’s most infamous mountain bike classics. Twisting and curving it follows an aqueduct trail which drops 800m from the Lake Atitlán caldera to the town of Santa Catarina Palopó. Featured in the 2nd day of Guatemala’s MTB stage race El Reto Del Quetzal – this technical downhill is a test piece for many racers. Reached at kilometer 80 after an early start in Antigua – most riders are seeing red by the time they reach this cliff-lined descent.

Sololá, Guatemala (1847.1 m)

La Culebra includes steep flower patches, pine forests, sinuous switchbacks, rock drops and breathtaking views with serious consequence. The last section of trail follows an urban downhill through the steep alleys and concrete staircases of Santa Catarina Palopó. The views, the technicality and the unique nature of this route make it a five star classic in Guatemala.

Gallery:

Basics

DistanceAscentDescentMax Altitude
43.77km 27.20mi1,482m 4,862ft-2,189m -7,182ft2,621m 8,599ft

Day 2: Atitlán Highlands

A great country mountain bike ride with a little bit of everything that follows rugged, raw agricultural foot paths above Lake Atitlán. Connect a network of Mayan trails not found on any map.

The morning starts with a shuttle from Panajachel to the town of San Andres Semetebaj – a small farming community nestled in pine forested plateau above the lake. From here we will loop singletrack to a beautiful overlook of Lake Atitlán and its villages.

Our route passes through Parque Saquiché – a seldom used nature reserve and park. Our largest climb of the day will start steady, turning impossibly steep on 4×4 jeep track to gain a ridge at 2,621m (8,599ft). At the top you will be rewarded with 360° views including Lake Atitlán to the north and Antigua to the south.

Godinez Singletrack
Rider: Elizabeth Sampey single track above Godinez Lake Atitlan Guatemala Godínez, Guatemala (1800m)

After the highpoint we will descend through an area known as “la cumbre”, a sandy agricultural plateau with smooth trails that wind between coffee and fruit trees. Following an exposed trail along a deep canyon you will get views all the way to the pacific coast.

Remote and isolated, we will descend a windy mule-trail to the Madre Vieja river crossing gorge with a roughly built suspension bridge at the bottom. Climbing out will be challenging but impressive views of the Atitlán volcanoes will provide a great excuse to take photo breaks.

A quick shuttle ride will cut out the climb we did the previous day – taking us up to a viewpoint above Lake Atitlán for lunch. Afterwards we will descend an enjoyable combination of agricultural trails that will bring us back down to the village of Panajachel. A day well deserved!

DistanceAscentDescentMax Altitude
43.77km 27.20mi1,482m 4,862ft-2,189m -7,182ft2,621m 8,599ft
 Lake Atitlán Sololá, Guatemala

Why Ride With Us?

The Mountain Bike Guatemala Difference

We are direct.

When you book a trip through us, there are no middlemen – no “in country partners”. We work directly with all accommodations and keep our costs honest.

Ride like a local.

We can connect you with local cycling culture and cycling events like no other travel company.

We are reliable.

When timelines and punctuality matter, we cut the riff-raff and get you out and riding.

All we do is Mountain Biking

We are rider run mountain biking only operation. Which means we focus on what we do well and do it the best.

The best equipment

We rent modern equipment and mountain bikes. All of our rental bikes are two years or newer and are professionally maintained and serviced.

With years of experience riding, racing and exploring in Guatemala, all our routes are carefully designed and unique.

Your Tour Package Includes

Basics

2 Days of mountain biking

Professional Bike Guide

Private Transportation / Driver

Full Suspension Mountain Bike Rental

Protective equipment (helmet / gloves / kneepads)

Trucks / shuttles

Pluses

Visit the Mayan Ruins of Iximche

Cultural Guide

Picnic Lunches

Snacks

Filtered water

Breakfast in Restaurant

Night in Hotel in Panajachel

Special Touches

1:3 Staff Ratio

Mechanical Support / Daily Bike Cleaning

Radio communication / emergency service

Guides internationally certified in First aid and Rescue

Optional Photo Package

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Lake Atitlán Sololá, Guatemala
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