Quetzaltenango to Atitlan

Published: June 25th 2013
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I walked this three-day, 48 km hike through Quetzaltrekkers (quetzaltrekkers.com), so this is mainly a review of their organized trek. Typically I like to walk alone, but the trail would be impossible to follow without a guide, and apparently some areas are too dangerous to attempt alone. The first two days are pretty strenous, with lots of shifts in altitude, pretty technical walking actually, with pretty nice views of the forest. At one point one the first day there was a marked difference in the scenery when the group reached the highest altitude of the trip. We emerged from the forest to see beautiful highland farms. Other than the views of the lake, this was a highlight for me. You can read other details on their website.

The guides facilitate good camaraderie in the group and try to accommodate everyone´s needs. Many are young and inexperienced, though, so don´t expect to be catered to quite like you might with local guides. All of the guides I met are passionate about what they´re doing and from what I could tell, their volunteering regiment is impressive. They work incredibly hard.

If you know you are going to trek with them, it would be a good idea to take much of your own equipment. Theirs is pretty sub-par and old, since it is all donated. Also plan on carrying a relatively heavy load for ¨trekking,¨(as opposed to ¨backpacking,¨the distinction being that trekking doesn´t require a tent or much food). Their food prep in general could use a lot of work (think of any of the heaviest foods you can imagine -- potatoes, spaghetti sauces, things like avocadoes that could easily be purchased along the way), though it seems hard to break traditions in an organization that is all-volunteer and that has new guides every few months. They didn´t seem interested in hearing the feedback. That all being said, we ate good meals-- likely better ones than the basic beans and rice fare that the locals would have served us.

There are several more photos below.

Additional photos below
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Soccer pitchSoccer pitch
Soccer pitch

This is the rest of the group crossing a soccer field in the clouds.
Town hallTown hall
Town hall

This is the first night´s accomodations. Definitely bring your own sleeping pad.

At the end of the climb on the first day, the forest opens up into grasslands -- it´s anazing transition.

Tot: 0.425s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 14; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0108s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb