"I thought the trip was so awesome that I did it twice!!" Heather Cleveland, CAN

Why do we require an application?

Our application process is in response to two of the most common questions our Riders have prior to booking a trip with us:

1) Am I skilled/fit enough to participate in this Ride?
2) Will the other people on my Ride be skilled/fit enough?

Ensuring that you - and the other Riders on your Ride - are a good fit for the Ride selected is of paramount importance to us. We want to help you pick the Ride that's perfect for you, and ensure that everyone booked on a Ride is on the right Ride for them. That's why we want to know a bit more about you - your mountain biking history, where you ride, how often, etc... - before we take your money.

We review every application and if, based on your responses, we think you're a good fit, we'll approve your application and you'll receive a link to place a deposit. If we think you might not be a good fit (either too skilled or not skilled enough for the Ride you chose), then we'll give you a call to discuss your preferences in greater detail.

Please note: our application process isn't about excluding anyone, or making anyone feel like they're not 'good enough' to participate in one of our Rides. It's about ensuring that you end up on the right Ride for you, with people of similar skill, fitness and riding preferences. In the end this ends up being a much better experience for everyone.

The ancient Maya believed that the cosmos had three major planes: the Earth, the underworld beneath and the heavens above. On this Ride, you won't do much underworld exploring but you will discover heaven on Earth.

its name is Guatemalan singletrack and the countryside is riddled with hundreds of thrilling kilometres of it. The bright blue sunny skies will provide the heavens above and the volcanoes and mountains of Guatemala provide all the spectacular Earth you need to be transported to your own cosmic realm.

Mayan culture is still alive and well in Guatemala; on this trip you'll ride through traditional villages where life continues mostly unchanged from ancient Mayan times. You'll hike and kayak on Lake Atitlan, a spectacular blue lake ringed by traditional Mayan communities and volcanoes. And you'll experience a different pace and way of life that just might transport you to the heavens above...

IS THIS RIDE FOR YOU?

You love exploring other cultures from the seat of your mountain bike. You're open to new and exotic experiences, and don't mind getting out of your cultural comfort zone once in a while. You ride regularly and can handle climbs of up to 1,200 vertical feet. Your singletrack skills are solid and you can handle moderately rooty, rocky and narrow trails. You're a decent swimmer (or don't mind sitting out the kayaking portion of the itinerary)

  • MTB SKILL RATING

    7/9

    Level 7/Advanced

    • You've been mountain biking for at least 3-4 years and are very confident in all aspects of mountain biking
    • You can handle most technical terrain, include rocky and root trails, along with features such as switchbacks, medium logs (6-8" high), and low-level obstacles such as bridges
    • You're comfortable with most advanced level trails (although you may walk a few sections). 

    click here for more information on skill and fitness ratings

    Level 7/Advanced

    • You've been mountain biking for at least 3-4 years and are very confident in all aspects of mountain biking
    • You can handle most technical terrain, include rocky and root trails, along with features such as switchbacks, medium logs (6-8" high), and low-level obstacles such as bridges
    • You're comfortable with most advanced level trails (although you may walk a few sections). 

    click here for more information on skill and fitness ratings

  • Price

    $2,395 CAD
  • FITNESS RATING

    7/9

    Level 7

    • You can ride up to 6 hours a day at a relatively fast pace and with few short breaks over several days.
    • You can handle steep, technical climbs up to 800 vertical metres (2,625 ft) in a day.
    • You exercise on average 13-15 hours per week (including riding/being active).

    click here for more information on skill and fitness ratings

    Level 7

    • You can ride up to 6 hours a day at a relatively fast pace and with few short breaks over several days.
    • You can handle steep, technical climbs up to 800 vertical metres (2,625 ft) in a day.
    • You exercise on average 13-15 hours per week (including riding/being active).

    click here for more information on skill and fitness ratings

  • DEPOSIT

    $479 CADLIFETIME DEPOSITS
  • RIDE TYPE

    Singletrack

    RIDE TYPES

    • SINGLETRACK:for experienced mountain bikers
    • EXPLORER:for beginner mountain bikers
    • BRING-YOUR-PARTNER:for experienced mountain bikers and their non-MTB-ing partners
    • WOMEN'S:skills camps and Rides for women only
  • DURATION

    8 days
  • DATES

    Dec.-MarchSEE ALL DATES
  • CULTURE LEVEL

    Out there

    Level Out there

    • On our 'Out There' Rides, you'll experience unfamiliar situations such as foreign languages, foreign cultures/cultural experiences, remote areas, and other experiences that push you out of your comfort zone.
    • These Rides are great for adventurous types that are looking for something different. If you'd prefer something a little less exotic, try our 'Familiar' or 'Adventurous' Rides.

    Level Out there

    • On our 'Out There' Rides, you'll experience unfamiliar situations such as foreign languages, foreign cultures/cultural experiences, remote areas, and other experiences that push you out of your comfort zone.
    • These Rides are great for adventurous types that are looking for something different. If you'd prefer something a little less exotic, try our 'Familiar' or 'Adventurous' Rides.

WHY RIDE WITH US?

  • Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Guaranteed Departures
  • Lifetime Deposits
  • Risk-Free Booking Window
  • Travel Concierge

Check out our Peace of Mind Policies

Day 1: Arrive Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua

We'll meet at Guatemala airport and transfer you to the beautiful colonial city of Antigua. You'll have the rest of the day to explore this historical city, with cobblestone streets and citizens dressed in colourful Mayan clothing. Tonight, we'll stay overnight in the Posada San Sebastian hotel, a charming hotel owned by a Mayan family, with antiques adorning the walls and bedrooms. We'll have a meet and greet dinner tonight in one of the local restaurants, where you can meet your guides and the rest of the group!

Day 2: Antigua mountain biking, visits to local farms

We'll meet you at your hotel in the morning for breakfast and a pre-trip safety meeting. After our meeting, we'll hop on the bikes and head up to the base of Volcan Agua for our first taste of the local singletrack. Our first ride takes us on technical trails through Mayan farmland, with spectacular views of the valley below. After the ride, we'll head to a local Macadamia nut farm for lunch. After a hearty lunch, we'll head to a local coffee finca to see how coffee is grown and sample a cup or two of the delicious local brew. Tonight, we'll have dinner in one of Antigua's many amazing restaurants.

Total distance: 28km | Altitude gain: 350m | Altitude loss: 350m

Day 3: Antigua to Parramos, Maya Pedal & San Andres de Itzapa

After breakfast at our hotel, we'll head out on bikes to a nearby village, where we'll start the climb to Parramos. The ride takes us alongside volcanoes and through avocado plantations with an exciting singletrack ride to the Posada de mi Abuelo, where we will stop for lunch. After lunch, we'll ride to the nearby community of San Andres de Itzapa. We'll also visit an innovative bike project called Maya Pedal, that provides refurbished bikes to Mayan communities in need (also subject to the shop being open). Tonight, we'll stay and dine at the family-owned Posada de mi Abuela.

Total distance: 38km | Altitude gain: 1552m | Altitude loss: 1283m

Day 4: Lago de Atitlan, Santa Catarina ride

Today's ride could very well be one of the most stunning rides in the world. After breakfast at the Posada de mi Abuela, we'll head out for a short but beautiful ride around the lodge, then hop in the van to get to our starting point at a spectacular viewpoint over Lago de Atitlan (Lake Atitlan). This sapphire-blue lake ringed by volcanoes is among the world's prettiest lakes - our ride takes us on a beautiful singletrack trail above the lake before descending through cornfields and narrow alleys in Santa Catarina de Palopo. The van will be waiting for us to take us to our boat ride to the otherworldy Casa del Mundo ("Guatemala's most magical hotel" - Lonely Planet), a boat-accessed hotel built into the side of a cliff. After dinner, we'll soak our muscles in a wood-fired hot tub under the stars.

Total distance: 25km | Altitude gain: 800m | Altitude loss: 875m

Day 5: Kayaking and Hiking on Lago de Atitlan

This magical lake is worthy of another day, so we'll set out from the Casa del Mundo after breakfast in kayaks, for a relaxing 2-hour paddle (along with swimming and cliff jumping) to the village of San Marcos. In San Marcos, we'll stop for coffee, then begin the 2-hour hike back to the hotel. Our hike takes us through several traditional Mayan villages, alongside the shore of the lake. We'll be back in time for lunch and a relaxing afternoon at the hotel. 

Total distance: 12km | Altitude gain: 817m | Altitude loss: 817m

Day 6: Slickrock ride, Panajachel and transfer to Antigua

We'll hop in the boat back to Panajachel after breakfast, then drive up to the top of a local mountain to start the demanding slickrock trail - a challenging singletrack ride with many exposed rock sections. When we finish, we'll hop in the van for the 2-hour drive back to Antigua, checking back in to our rooms at the Posada San Sebastian.

Total distance: 28km  Altitude gain: 760m | Altitude loss: 1836m

Day 7: Cielo Grande (Big Sky) trail

This is one of the top rides in Central America - an all-day epic around Antigua traversing multiple bio-zones: jungle, volcano, farmland. The ride starts with a quick van shuttle out of town followed by a steep 1-hour climb to the summit. From the summit, the ride traverses in the Antigua Valley before dropping spectacularly down into Antigua. Finally, we'll get to visit a school in El Hato and, as part of our Responsible Riding mandate, a portion of your trip cost will go towards purchasing school supplies for this very school (more information about the project and school can be found here). In the evening, we'll celebrate an incredible week at one of Antigua's local restaurants and a few drinks at a famous local tequila bar!

Total distance: 17km | Altitude gain: 955m | Altitude loss: 951m

Day 8: Farewell and transfer to Guatemala airport

Shuttles depart every hour for Guatemala City and the airport for your flight back home.

n.b. if you wish to extend your trip, we have a couple of options:

1) day hike on Volcan Pacaya: a spectacular day hike on an active volcano, where you can view flowing rivers of lava.
2) 2-day trip to Tikal ruins: visit Tikal, the most impressive of all the Mayan ruins (including the massive Temple of the Jaguar), deep in the heart of the Yucatan jungle. Includes flight, hotels and guides.

  • 7 nights accommodation in local lodges and hotels
  • 5 days of mountain biking on singletrack trails
  • day of kayaking and hiking on Lake Atitlan (kayak included)
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and 2 dinners
  • 2 local, English-speaking guides
  • Visits to local farms and cultural attractions
  • Airport Transfers

Arrival and Departure Airport

You should fly into and out of Guatemala City International Airport (GUA). Please see the schedule page for the exact pickup and dropoff times for your particular trip. You can, if wanted or necessary, arrive earlier, and we will arrange a pickup for you.

Pickup & Drop-off Information

We offer a free airport pickup service from the Guatemala City airport to your hotel in Antigua (about 1 hour). Please notify us in advance of your flight number and arrival time by filling out our online pre-Ride webform. A representative of the shuttle company will be waiting outside of the arrivals area with a sign in his/her hand to show you to your shuttle.

n.b. airport pickup service on day 1 of the trip, or the day before, is included in the trip price (e.g. if the trip starts on Dec. 17, then pickup is included on Dec. 16 or 17). If you are arriving earlier, then the price for the shuttle is $30/p.p. Please notify our office if you need to book a non-scheduled shuttle.

The trip ends in Antigua on the afternoon of day 7. We offer free airport dropoff service to Guatemala airport the next day (day 8), at any time. Shuttles after day 8 cost $30/p.p.

Extending your trip

We have a few excellent options for extending your trip. These can be booked online when making your original booking or can be added to your booking at any time:

  1. A day hike on Volcan Pacaya, an active volcano outside of Antigua. The hike departs at 2 pm, and you will be on the lava field at sunset to take advantage of the best light for viewing the amazing rivers of lava. Includes hotel, transportation, guides, and breakfast. Price: $175 Cdn/person.
  2. 2-day trip to Tikal: Visit the most impressive of all the Mayan ruins, deep in the heart of the Yucatan jungle. This 2-day trip includes: Transport to/from Antigua and Guatemala City before/after trip; Round-trip flight from Guatemala City to Flores/Tikal; Transport to/from Flores Airport into Tikal Park; Single night accommodation at hotel WITHIN Tikal Park (*breakfast included); Guided Tour of Tikal ruins on Day 01 (*lunch included); (*park entrance fees not included*). Price: $750 Cdn/person.
  3. Extra biking in the Antigua area: ride more of the incredible singletrack in the Antigua area. Price includes hotel, breakfast and lunch, and guides. Price: $175 Cdn/person.

You can book extra nights at our hotel in Antigua, the Posada de San Sebastian, by sending them an email or calling them at +502-7832-2621.

If you want information on other places to visit and things to see in Guatemala please visit the Guatemala Tourism website or contact our office.

Flights

We do not book international flights for our clients. Please contact your local travel agent for information on booking flights for this trip.

Travelling with your bike

Pika Packworks bag

If you've never traveled with your bike, don't worry - it's much easier than you think! If you don't have a case for your bike, then you can pick up a cardboard travel box for your bike at your local store. Some stores will also pack your bike up for you for a fee.

Alternately, if you are planning on traveling with your bike more than just this one time, we sell travel bags for bikes, handmade by Pikapackworks. These travel bags are specially made for bikes and can often go on flights without having to pay the extra charges incurred by cardboard boxes or hard cases. The bags cost $395, including shipping withing North America. Click here for more information on our bags.

Bike Rentals

We offer Kona Caldera, CinderCone and OneTwenty Deluxe mountain bikes for rent. Price is $300 Cdn for the duration of the trip. This can be booked online when making your booking, or added afterwards.

What type of bike should you bring?

We recommend you bring a solid all-mountain bike with you on this trip, with at least 4-5" of travel, and no heavier than 30 pounds since there are several long climbs. A bike with at least 2 rings up front is recommended.

Tools to bring

  • multitool (preferably with chainbreaker)
  • tire levers
  • small bottle of chain lube
  • tire pump
  • suspension pump

Spare parts for your bike

Although there are some parts available locally, we recommend you bring the following parts with you to Guatemala to avoid problems in case of breakdown or broken parts:

  • rear derailleur hanger (at least 1, preferably 2)
  • front and rear brake pads
  • extra chain if your chain is more than 6 months old
  • 4 tubes
  • 2 extra spokes

N.B. If you are renting a bike, the above is not necessary (with the exception of a few spare tubes).

Weather and Clothing

The weather in the Guatemalan lowlands can be quite warm, with highs between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. Antigua can get cool at night, so we recommend you bring long pants and a jacket for the evenings.

Although rain is rare in the winter months, it isn't unheard of, so we recommend you bring some sort of rain gear or shell.

Packing List

  • comfortable clothes for riding, such as biking jerseys and padded shorts. 3+ sets are ideal, 2 are a must.
  • helmet
  • bike gloves (2 sets ideal)
  • lightweight, weather-resistant outerwear for riding in inclement weather.
  • warm clothing such as sweaters and fleece jackets and pants for nighttime.
  • sunglasses/eye protection for sunny and/or muddy days.
  • hydration system that can carry at least 2 litres (bottles and/or hydration pack)
  • toiletries i.e. toothbrush, shampoo, soap
  • towel
  • camera
  • sunscreen and insect repellent

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our tours. We recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our tour (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances) or in the unlikely event that our tour must be cancelled.

You can purchase discounted comprehensive insurance from our partners at bikeflights.com via our insurance page.

Passports & Visas

All travelers require a valid passport (with a minimum of 6 months validity). Citizens of some countries will also require a visa. For more information, visit the World Travel Guide website.

Emergency Contacts

If you need to contact us in an emergency, you can reach us during office hours at the following numbers:

Dialing within North America: 1 (888) 423-7849
Dialing outside of North America: +1 (647) 999-7955

If you feel that you need to contact us outside of office hours, our Guatemala operations manager Matt Hartell can be contacted at +502-5399-0440.

If you do not receive an immediate answer when calling the above numbers, please leave us a detailed message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Food

We take care to select restaurants that are well-regarded for their cleanliness, in order to avoid food-borne illness. We also supply you with bottled water for drinking for the duration of your trip. However, there is always some risk of contracting a food-borne illness when traveling in a developing country. We recommend you exercise caution when purchasing food, and avoid unwashed fruit and vegetables and improperly cooked meals.

Vaccination Requirements

Certain vaccinations are required for Guatemala. In general, you will require typhoid, Hepatitis A, yellow fever, measles/mumps/rubella, and tetanus vaccinations for this trip. Malaria pills are not required. Please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website for more information, and visit your doctor or local travel clinic for the most accurate, up to date information.

Fitness Requirements

You should have a high level of fitness and be able to bike for up to five hours a day in order to fully enjoy the spectacular scenery and riding on this trip. This is one of our most challenging Rides, and you need to be prepared.

We recommend you train in advance in order to get the most out of this trip. If you are interested, our coaches Heather and Jason have developped a solid Pre-Ride Training Program to get you at your optimal fitness level. To learn more about this unique training program, click here.

Safety & Security

Guatemala is a safe country, however certain precautions should be followed, as with all foreign travel. To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, travelers checks and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.

Meals

On this trip, all breakfasts and lunches, as well as some dinners, are included in the trip price. Other dinners are taken in local restaurants. You should budget $10-15 CAD per meal (depending on the quality of restaurants you choose).

Other expenses

Other expenses include souvenirs, alcoholic beverages, and optional activities such as massage. The best way to pay for these services is to withdraw money from an ATM in Guatemala - you can withdraw local money (Guatemalan Quetzales) and will usually be charged the best rate by your bank at home. n.b.: the ATMs in Antigua are sometimes down for a day or two at a time, so we recommend you bring some US dollars or traveler's cheques with you just in case you can't withdraw from the bank machine at first.

Local Money

The local currency is the Quetzal. Check here for current exchange rates.

Tipping

Gratuities of 5-15% are common in Guatemala. We encourage you to tip your guides if you feel you have received excellent service and have had an enjoyable trip. A typical gratuity $20 - $100 per guide.

Our Guarantee

We're so sure you'll have an amazing time on this trip that we're offering a satisfaction guarantee. View more information about our guarantee.

Name Bio My 'Sacred Ride'

Oseas Acietuna
One of our newest weapons in the arsenal, this young buck can do it all, and do it faster than about anyone else out there! Whether on the rock or on the trail he’ll show you how to get it done. Try to catch him on the trail… I dare ya![more] It would have to be the Slickrock trail of Lake Atitlan

Arnold Najera
Arnold returned to his native Guatemala after living in Israel, and has been working as a guide for us since. He sure knows how to ride a bike over anything, and is our star striker on the football pitch. The Cielo Grande epic

Welber Jimenez
A true work horse. The one thing that you will always remember about being on the trail with Welber is his ear to ear infectious smile. This guy seriously knows the nooks and crannies of the Guatemalan backcountry. Huehuetenango - it's just so damn amazing!

Matt Hartell
From the foothills of North Carolina, Matt moved to Antigua, Guatemala as a way to escape the cubicles of his previous US work life. He's been riding his bike on awesome Guatemalan singletrack since 1998 and hasn’t looked back since. The trails in my backyard in Antigua!

Below you will find some of the videos for this Ride. Please keep in mind that some of these videos may have been recorded by our guides and the speeds they are riding at aren't necessarily indicative of the speeds you'll be riding at!

Volcan Agua, Guatemala
Volcan Pacaya Hike
On the Cardamom Trail
Guatemala Helmet Cam
Ruta de Maya Dec. 2011
Ruta De Maya (every trail) - Mar 2012
Ruta de Maya Nov. 2013
RIDE ADD-ONS
Ride enhancements (MTB rentals, single rooms, etc...)
ADD-ON PRICE
Single Room Upgrade$400.00 CAD
Full-suspension Mountain Bike Rental$300.00 CAD
Front-Suspension Mountain Bike Rental$250.00 CAD
1-hour post-ride massage$100.00 CAD
Trip extensions (extra hotel nights + packages)
ADD-ON PRICE
Extra post-Ride hotel nights (single)$75.00 CAD
Extra pre-Ride hotel nights (double)$100.00 CAD
Extra pre-Ride hotel nights (single)$75.00 CAD
Extra post-Ride hotel nights (double)$100.00 CAD
Volcan Pacaya day hike$175.00 CAD
Tikal 2-day trip extension$750.00 CAD
Extra day biking in Antigua$175.00 CAD
El Zur bike park extension$200.00 CAD
Merchandise (t-shirts, jerseys, jackets, bike bags, etc...)
ADD-ON PRICE
Sacred Rides jersey (XC)$65.00 CAD
Sacred Rides riding jacket$70.00 CAD
Sacred Rides T-shirt (men's)$25.00 CAD
Sacred Rides t-shirt (women's)$25.00 CAD
Other
ADD-ON PRICE
Donation to Bikes Without Borders$20.00 CAD

Book Your Spot!

To book your spot on this Ride, click on one of the Booking links below to put down your deposit. The deposit is fully refundable for 14 days after booking, giving you 2 weeks to sort out flights, vacation time, etc... and not have someone else take your spot(s)!


All departures are guaranteed to run - we'll never cancel a trip due to low numbers!

And we're so certain that you'll have the experience of a lifetime on this Ride that we back it with our Ride Guarantee!

Why do we require an application?

Our application process is in response to two of the most common questions our Riders have prior to booking a trip with us:

1) Am I skilled/fit enough to participate in this Ride?

2) Will the other people on my Ride be skilled/fit enough?

Ensuring that you - and the other Riders on your Ride - are a good fit for the Ride selected is of paramount importance to us. We want to help you pick the Ride that's perfect for you, and ensure that everyone booked on a Ride is on the right Ride for them. That's why we want to know a bit more about you - your mountain biking history, where you ride, how often, etc... - before we take your money.

We review every application and if, based on your responses, we think you're a good fit, we'll approve your application and you'll receive a link to place a deposit. If we think you might not be a good fit (either too skilled or not skilled enough for the Ride you chose), then we'll give you a call to discuss your preferences in greater detail.

Please note: our application process isn't about excluding anyone, or making anyone feel like they're not 'good enough' to participate in one of our Rides. It's about ensuring that you end up on the right Ride for you, with people of similar skill, fitness and riding preferences. In the end this ends up being a much better experience for everyone.

2014
Start Date Pickup Location & Time End Date Dropoff Location & Time Price Deposit Booking Private?
Saturday, November 1, 2014 Guatemala City airport, anytime Saturday, November 8, 2014 Guatemala City airport, anytime 2,395.00 CAD 420.00 CAD Apply Now! 
Saturday, December 27, 2014 Guatemala City airport, anytime Saturday, January 3, 2015 Guatemala City airport, anytime 2,395.00 CAD 420.00 CAD Apply Now! 
2015
Start Date Pickup Location & Time End Date Dropoff Location & Time Price Deposit Booking Private?
Saturday, February 14, 2015 Guatemala City airport, anytime Saturday, February 21, 2015 Guatemala City airport, anytime 2,395.00 CAD 420.00 CAD Apply Now! 
Saturday, April 4, 2015 Guatemala City airport, anytime Saturday, April 11, 2015 Guatemala City airport, anytime 2,395.00 CAD 479.00 CAD Apply Now! 
Sunday, December 27, 2015 Guatemala City airport, anytime Sunday, January 3, 2016 Guatemala City airport, anytime 2,395.00 CAD 479.00 CAD Apply Now! 
"#1 MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR COMPANY ON EARTH"

National Geographic Adventure

"BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE OUTFITTER"

-OUTSIDE MAGAZINE 2014