Hard
Difficulty
3/5
fitness
5/5
Technical
2 Days
Riding Time
75.02km (46.63 mi)
Distance
1336 m (4,383 ft)
Ascent
-3,585m (-11,762 ft)
Descent
2,881 m (9,453 ft)
Max Alt.

Guatemala has some seriously big terrain and this Lake Atitlán enduro mountain bike tour combines raw agricultural trails and cliff-lined singletrack with views that will most certainly make you say “wow”. This gravity-oriented itinerary connects pine-forests, staircase-filled urban downhills – remote villages and rocky descents.

Through years of exploration and we have curated this custom route which threads a network of ancient Mayan trails from high forests in Tecpán, crossing several steep canyons and finishing shores of Lake Atitlán. After two solid days of riding on the bike you will come away with a taste of why Lake Atitlán is quickly becoming a world class mountain enduro mountain biking destination!

Highlights:

  • Reach Lake Atitlán by your bike via a remote route
  • Connects the best rocky, technical descents the region has to offer
  • Over 6,000ft of shuttle-assisted descent per day
  • This route is 90% technical raw agricultural singletrack
  • Descend the iconic “culebra” downhill
  • Visit the towns of Tecpán, Panajachel, and Santa Catarina Palopó
Day 1

Tecpán-Pana

This legendary trail follows the route of the Kaqchiquel Maya from the mountains of Tecpán to the shores of Lake Atitlán. The route is isolated and unique!

Our route follows the exodus of the Kaqchiquel to Lake Atitlán after the spanish conquest. The lake is still alive with their culture and language to this day. We will descend an ancient and eroded trail to the Madre Vieja River. “sendero de las vacas” named after encounters with cows ascending the deep, switchbacking trail – with nowhere to go, bikers had to climb up to let the herd pass!

After a quick shuttle we will get our first views of Lake Atitlán: an enormous volcanic caldera so rounded by 3 volcanoes. We will have a picnic lunch at a viewpoint before descending “La Culebra” a legendary 5 star downhill following an aqueduct along cliffs above the lake. Our day will finish with an urban downhill through the town of Santa Catarina Palopó – famous for its rich colors and textiles.

Tecpán Pana – Sendero de las Vacas

DistanceAscentDescentMax Altitude
41.87km
26.20mi
8934m
2,390ft
-1,724m
-5,656ft
2,475m
8,120ft
Day 2

Highland Traverse

Today we will go deep into the indigenous communities above the lake. You will see rural life at its purest as we pedal along rough jeep track and logging roads through high alpine sheep meadows and pine forests.

After a shuttle to the rim of the caldera of Lake Atitlán, we climb 3mi to an alpine plateau at 1800m (9200ft) El Corazón de Las Nubes (the heart of the clouds) – a Mayan ceremonial site. We will follow old logging roads with unmatched views of the lake and its environs. Canyons and volcanoes abound.

Chupól, Guatemala (2707.7 m)

We will descend a patchwork of agricultural and logging tracks along rough singletrack with several river crossings. The riding here is green, humid and a stark contrast to the dry riding near the lake.  Pinic at an isolated river in the heart of a pine forested canyon.

Part 1: Slickrock – Panimache

 

Afternoon

Our second shuttle will take us high above the lake where we will drop into one of the longests technical descents in the volcanic caldera with aproximatly 100m (3,200m) of rough, rocky descent beginning in pine forests and finishing at the shores of Lake Atitlan!

Part 2: Santa Vic Enduro

DistanceAscentDescentMax Altitude
33.15km
20.60mi
443m
1,453ft
-1,861m
-6,106ft
2,881m
9,453ft

Gallery

 

Night 1: Panajachel

Hotel Utz’ Jay

Located 2 blocks from Lake Atitlan in Panajachel, Hotel Utz’ Jay offers lush gardens and fruit trees, a hot tub and a Mayan-style sauna filled with relaxing aromatic herbs.

Rooms here feature a balcony with garden views. The hotel is situated in a quiet street, just a short walk from Calle Sentender with its shops and restaurants.

 

 

Why Ride with Us?

With years of experience riding, racing and exploring in Guatemala our guides know the trails better than anyone.

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

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.

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

Tour Gallery

Have a Question?

If you need any clarification on details of this tour – just reach out!

Night 1: Panajachel

Hotel Utz’ Jay

Located 2 blocks from Lake Atitlan in Panajachel, Hotel Utz’ Jay offers lush gardens and fruit trees, a hot tub and a Mayan-style sauna filled with relaxing aromatic herbs.

Rooms here feature a balcony with garden views. The hotel is situated in a quiet street, just a short walk from Calle Sentender with its shops and restaurants.

 

 

TRIP DETAILS

ARRIVAL / DEPARTUREDeparture time: 6am (a stop for breakfast is included en-route)

This tour starts and finish from Antigua, Guatemala

Please let us know your hotel and will be happy to meet you there!

If you are already staying or have plans to stay at Lake Atitlán we can meet you in Panajachel for this tour.

Arriving internationally? let us know if you would like us to pick you up at the airport

EXTENSION
This tour makes a great jump off for a stay at Lake Atitán. If you would like to extend the tour with another day of riding or to stay beyond your tour just let us know – we wold be happy help you coordinate your accommodation.
MEALS
Day 1: Tecpan-Pana

Breakfast in restaurant

Picnic Lunch

Day 2: Atitlán Highlands

Breakfast in restaurant

Picnic Lunch

INCLUDED
Meals, Snacks4 Star Accommodation
Transportation including follow car and multiple shuttle upliftsProfessional driver
Amazing Profesional GuideFull Suspension Bike Rental
Breakfasts and LunchesBottled and/or filtered water
Trip planning and packing assistanceBike maintenance support and access to our tool kit
NOT INCLUDED
Airfare
Dinners
Gratuities for guides and drivers

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have to carry all my stuff with me for the whole trip?

Nearly all of our trips are accompanied by support vehicle and professional driver  who will meet with us at checkpoints throughout the day.  The support vehicle will carry supplies / spare parts and water. If you would like to leave anything in the vehicle such as extra layers rain gear camera etc. you are more than welcome.

 

Where will my bike be kept overnight?

All of the hotels that we partner have a storage area where we will secure the bikes overnight. If you are especially attached to your bike you can bring it into your hotel room at night.

 

Are food/snacks provided?

On our day tours we supply light snacks such as energy bars and fruit and water. Multi-day tours include breakfast and lunch. Dinners are on your own. If you would like a recommendation for a place to eat or would like to dine as a group we can make that happen!

 

Will my dietary restrictions be accommodated for?

All of our snacks / picnic lunches include a vegetarian option. If you have any other dietary restrictions please let us know when you are booking your tour.

Tour Reviews

5.00 based on 3 reviews
February 1, 2019

I really loved tour! My brother and I were headed to Lake Atitlan after Antigua, so we used this ride as our means of getting there. We sent 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 reach the lake.

The views on this 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.

March 10, 2019

I had an absolutely incredible time on this tour! The mountain biking was awesome (singletrack totally different than any other riding I’ve done) and in a short period of time gave a good glimpse into the culture of the country. It was the highlight of my time in Guatemala!

There are 2 full days of riding and they’re challenging from both a fitness and technical point of view. I normally ride blues/blacks and the terrain there was challenging but in a good way. I wasn’t sure what it would be like and the riding exceeded my expectations by far. The views were spectacular and it was the perfect way of getting from Antigua to the lake.

Brendan and his team really went above and beyond for guiding – not only is he crazy good on the bike and knows the trails in and out, but they also explained a lot about the cultural background of Guatemala, introduced me to delicious local food (with amazing veggie options), and even taught some Spanish! The team’s love of Guatemala and biking was obvious and super inspiring to ride with.

I would highly recommend this tour – it was one of those trips you wish would never end and I can’t wait to go back!

March 20, 2019

Riding in Guatemala was an amazing experience and so glad I did it. I was visiting Guatamala with other non-rider friends and was looking into getting out for a day of two of riding. I quickly found mtbguatamala.com and sent an email detailing my dates, ability and what I was looking to do and got a quick detailed reply from Brenden. A few emails later I was set up with a bike, two and half days guided riding and accommodations. I was quickly getting stocked on Guatemala.
The first day Brenden picked me up and took me on an afternoon “warmup ride” up in the mountains outside of Antigua. I consider myself a good rider and Brenden tested me right off with some technical descending. I will have to admit I had to walk a couple sections. Brenden took his time though and we had plenty of stops, where I would not only catch my breath, but he would enthusiastically explain so many interesting things about Guatamala from politics to the vibrant mountain biking culture. I can tell you he is very passionate about two things, Guatemala and Mountain biking. We rode down some great trails that first day, all the way down to my hotel in Antigua, it was perfect.

The next morning he picked me up early, we had a classic Guatemalan breakfast and then met up with our local native riding guide Alex who joined us and gave us a guided tour of Iximche, an ancient Mayan city which was amazing. After a quick tour we got on the bikes and headed off for our adventure for the day.

Over the day we traveled down a combination of foot paths, roads and other good weirdness not like anything I have ever ridden before. I really got to appreciate how many hundreds of hours it must have taken to link up all these trails. The best part of the day was the very end riding down through the narrow urban alleys and steps into Santa Catarina Polopo and Lake Atitlan.

We spent the night in a comfortable hotel in Panajachel where we loaded up on some good local food then visited the famous Pana Rock bar for some live music, Guatemalan brews and great conversation. We woke early the next day and had another classic breakfast then drove, then rode, high into the mountains. This was not what I was expecting as we were in pine forests, fern grottos and trout filled lakes. We had some moderate climbing to get going but this was followed by some fantastic descents.

I really enjoyed stopping at the various stores and villages to interact with the locals. It was great having Alex with us who could speak the local native languages and provide more insights into the native culture. It was truly an amazing trip and would highly recommends this tour to any serious mountain biker looking for an adventure.

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