Held each year the in the mountains of Totonicapán, the Travesía Campanabaj is a community mountain bike ride and one of the “must attend” cycling events here in Guatemala. Operated in conjunction with the town fería the mountain bike travesía is approximately 40km in length and runs on singletrack and jeep roads through the Vasquez Otz’iles protected pine forests near 10,000ft.
This is a community travesía (group ride) and all ages and abilities are welcome. The entire town of Totonicapán usually comes out for this event and the remote villages stage welcome parties for the cyclists as they pass through – in short there will be plenty of people to cheer you on!
Totonicapán, Guatemala (2503.2 m)
Traversing the pine reserve you will catch vistas of Volcán de Santa Maria to the west and Santa Cruz del Quiché to the east. There will be rest stops with food and drinks and plenty of time to take in the natural beauty of the area. At the finish there will be food vendors and live music in conjunction with the town celebration.
** More about the forest **
Parcialidad Vasquez Otz’iles
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 nor interference. 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), and which are the only source of water through the six months of dry season.
The Forest is also home to countless sites sacred to the Maya K’iche’ people, and Mayan ceremonies are performed quite frequently. From a scientific standpoint, the Communal Forest of Totonicapán contains a stunning biodiversity of both plants and animals including over 100 species of birds around 30 of which are endemic to the highland coniferous forests of Guatemala and Mexico.
Parcialidad Vasquez Otz’iles includes over 450 hectare acres of protected forest at 10-11,000ft in the mountains above Tetonicapán. The area is managed by the twelve local tribal villages and valued for water generation and air purification. In a country facing extreme deforestation and fire this forest is a sanctuary – guarded by locals who voluntarily patrol the land.