Guatemala trekking holiday, Los Cuchumantanes
Description of Guatemala trekking holiday, Los Cuchumantanes
For the ardent trekker, the Mayan highlands of Guatemala will prove a kind of paradise. Departing from the city of Antigua, this nine-day tour takes you through winding valleys, deep ravines and across a magnificent plateau with views of the ring of fire volcanic chain, finally arriving on the shores of Lake Atitlan. If you had only one word to describe this trekking holiday it would have to be epic.
Led by a guide, you’ll pass through the hotbed of rebellion during Guatemala’s 35-year civil war, the Ixil Triangle; tour a working cheese farm, and overnight in haciendas and community hostels. A highlight is a stay at the Unicorno Azul, a horse ranch that offers sublime panoramas over rolling hills on every side.
Beyond the stunning scenery, the hiking promises plenty of challenge, especially as you will be at high altitudes for a lot of the time. Some days are more moderate however, as you cross plateaus threaded with small villages so remote there is no electricity or road connections. If it’s isolation you seek, you’ll find it here in spades. Few travellers make it out this far, and the sense of being a pioneer is ever-present.
Finally, after a pause in Todos Santos, an enthralling cowboy town where the men still wear traditional garb, you will arrive at Lake Atitlan, the deepest in Central America and formed in an extinct volcanic caldera. Now you can celebrate your efforts kayaking on the lake, taking a refreshing swim, or just folding down the peak of your hat and catching some zzz’s in a hammock. You will have earned them.
PlanetThis tour has several forms of transportation including travel by foot, microbus, boat, and even kayak. With hiking and kayaking you will provide carbon-free power to get around our beautiful country instead of large coach bus alternatives. With this trip (and all OTO trips) we have a zero impact policy for all campsites we visit. We pack out any waste that our groups create and our goal is to leave our sites better than we find them.
Through your tour and all the others that we operate, we actively work to protect Guatemala's precious resources. One example is our sponsorship of Ecofiltro's "Hike for Water" on the volcanoes of Guatemala. Ecofiltro is a social business that has a very clear social objective: To reach 1 million rural Guatemalans with clean water by the year 2020. Ecofiltro only uses financially sustainable methods to reach this goal and always remains open to sharing their production process and marketing tactics with any outside group that wants to solve the water challenge in our home country. We have a long history of collaboration with Ecofiltro to support their efforts towards their great goal. The most recent fundraising hike raised an impressive $102,763 towards the protection of every Guatemalan's access to clean drinking water.
PeopleOn this trek we have a great opportunity to interact and support several local communities and villages. We pass through Nebaj, Acul, Choritz, Chancol, Chabal, Todos Santos and more. Along this route we stay in several community hostels that support the local population directly by contributing money to the local economy.
In addition we employ local operators along the way for services related to transportation, food, and other logistics. This is another way we are able to contribute funds directly into these local villages that we visit along the route. One example is our stay at the Mil Amores Cheese Farm where we are able to support a local business in the Ixil triangle. Both the propietors and their local employees directly benefit from the groups we bring to this farm.
Through your tour and all the others that we operate, we actively support numerous local non-profit organizations that we feel are positive members of our community. The following is one example of how your tour will help Guatemala:
We partner with Niños de Guatemala, a local non-profit, to run their Experience Guatemala Challenge. NDG is a Dutch-Guatemalan nonprofit working to break the cycle of poverty in Guatemala by providing quality education to those who need it most. Our management and guides designed adventure challenges for the group. The challenges included a raft-building challenge, cultural scavenger hunt, rappel course, and a Mayan ceremony. Last year’s event raised over $15,000 towards the operation and awareness of the schools of Niños de Guatemala.