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Special Interest

Sky Route Trek: Antigua to Lake Atitlan

Guatemala

4 days

Summary

A unique four-day, three-night journey between two of Guatemala’s most beautiful and inspiring destinations: Antigua and Lake Atitlán. The trek is supported by comfortable safari-style tent camps and knowledgeable guides. Along the way we will walk through cloud forest canopy and coffee fincas, be immersed in the sights and sounds of Guatemala’s living Mayan culture and communities, and be amazed at the kindness and warmth of its people. Each day we travel light with just day packs while we move the camp and their gear from one breathtaking destination to the next.

Highlights

  • Stay at the comfortable safari-style tent camps on this Glamcamping adventure.
  • Witness locals as they pay their respects to the mysterious San Simon.
  • Be immersed in the sights and sounds of Guatemala’s living Mayan culture and communities.
  • Learn how to make traditional Guatemala corn tortillas by hand and more gastronomic delights.
  • Trek with a panoramic views of six volcanoes and cloud forest that reveals unique plants and birds.
  • Visit a coffee finca to learn about the planting, harvesting and processing of small-batch specialty coffee.
  • Visit the beautiful lake Atitlan surronded by volcanoes.

Inclusions

  • Bilingual Trip Leader
  • Local Mayan guides
  • Trekking Poles
  • Park fees if applicable

ITINERARY

Day 1 Antigua

Day 1: Mayan Shrines & Cloud Forests
? Antigua to Terra Camp
? Distance: 7.0 mi / 11.3 km
? Ascent: 2,870 ft / 870 m
? Max Altitude: 8,700 ft / 2,650 mt

Leaving Antigua, day one begins with a 30-minute shuttle ride to the town of San Andrés Itzapa, home to a shrine dedicated to the Mayan deity “San Simón”. Here, we will witness locals as they pay their respects to the mysterious San Simon, and even light a candle to bless their travels.
From there, a short drive takes us to our trailhead where we begin our trek that ascends out of vegetable and fruit plantations into lush Guatemalan cloud forest, topping out at nearly 8,700 ft / 2,650 mt. Acatenango Volcano, the highest in the Antigua Valley, looms overhead as we begin to descend through thick cloud forest down to a beautiful, grassy saddle between two mountain peaks. From there, it’s a short climb into a forested protected area where we have lunch in a sunny and secluded clearing.
Following lunch, we descend through the protected area, trekking below towering trees covered in epiphytic plants such as orchids and bromeliads before we arrive at Terra Camp. After a hot shower and appetisers, we can warm up around a campfire before sitting down for a delicious dinner.

Day 2 Antigua/Camping

Day 2: Mountain Peaks & Fertile Valleys
? Terra Camp to Fuego Camp
? Distance: 8.1 mi / 13.0 km
? Ascent: 4,550 ft / 1,390 m
? Max Altitude: 8,000 ft / 2,440 m

Day two of the trek begins with a long descent through forest and agricultural fields into the La Vega River valley, more than 1900 ft / 580 m below where we cross a hanging footbridge over the river (allowing you to embrace your inner Indiana Jones!) before a challenging yet spectacular afternoon 2400 ft / 730 m climb up through coffee plantations to our lunch spot located near a quaint Mayan village. After lunch, we make a final push upwards to arrive at Fuego Camp by late-afternoon.
Upon arrival, our staff meets you with a welcome drink to quench your thirst. Time to pull up a chair, kick off your boots, and take in the panoramic view that includes a first-row seat to Fuego Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes that’s been going regularly since the Spanish conquest. With luck, it will light up the night sky with plumes of molten lava.
Around the campfire, a local women’s group will show you how to make traditional Guatemala corn tortillas by hand (trust us, it’s harder than it looks) before we sit down for dinner and a good night’s rest.

Day 3 Camping

Day 3: Mayan Pueblos & Volcano Views
? Fuego Camp to Agua Camp
? Distance: 9.3 mi / 15.0 km
? Ascent: 3,590 ft / 1,100 m
? Max Altitude: 9,040 ft / 2,755 m

Day three immerses guests in the finest natural scenery that Guatemala has to offer. A morning push takes guests to the highest point of the trek, just over 9,040 ft / 2,755 m. We follow a pristine ridge line with panoramic views of six volcanoes and cloud forest that reveals unique plants and birds. Along the way, we take the opportunity to talk with local farmers tending their terraced fields and learn about traditional agricultural practices. A long, gradual descent leads us to our trail lunch location (and a short siesta) before we finish the day by walking into Agua Camp, named in honour of Lake Atitlán, which can be seen in the distance below. After relaxing a bit, we venture into the local Mayan community of Chuinimachicaj to visit a women’s co-operative that specialises in traditional backstrap weaving, an ancient art practised for centuries in Guatemala and still used to weave fabric for clothing and other household textiles.

Day 4 Camping/Lake Atitlan

Day 4: Coffee Fincas & Clear Waters
? Fuego Camp to Lake Atitlán
? Distance: 8.5 mi / 13.7 km
? Ascent: 3,3800 ft / 1,030 m
? Max Altitude: 8,000 ft / 2,440 m

The final day of the trek begins with a 2,700 ft / 820 m descent into the La Madre Vieja River valley that weaves through a patchwork of traditional agricultural fields and small villages. Once in the valley, we visit a picturesque coffee finca to learn about the planting, harvesting and processing of small-batch speciality coffee (and of course, sample some as well).
Following the coffee tour, we cross the river on another hanging footbridge before a short ascent that takes us up to the rim of Lake Atitlán and expansive views of the water below and three massive volcanoes that surround it.
From there, a final descent through terraced fields of flowers and vegetables takes us to the lakeside village of San Antonio Palopó to conclude the trek.

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