Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala - Photo Epic

Feb 20, 2016
by Nicolas Switalski  



Prelude

A few weeks ago, Sam from the Bikelogistics/Transition Bikes team told me to save up a few days at the end of January since they had a surprise for all of the team and wanted me to tag along too - he was quite secretive about this and no further explanation was given. It was to be the first trip of the year for the Bikelogistiscs team and all of its members were invited as a way start the year in a positive fashion, and what better way than to travel to an unknown destination with bikes, fun and beer in mind.

I had been to Guatemala a few years ago and although I would have never considered this place as a mountain biking destination, after a quick stint on Google I found out that this was not a new idea, and everything sounded quite exciting from then on.

Guatemala has an important border with Mexico in the southern part of the country, and when Sam explained this new adventure to us, everything sounded even more interesting. The plan was to cross the border by bike in a town near Tapachula (Mexico) and have a car pick us up just on the other side and take us all the way to Antigua which was five hours away. This would be our home base for a few days where a local guide would take care of our trail needs from there on.

At first this sounded insane, but then details were explained that all the crew was to be gathered up a few days before just hours from that border for a bike event, so this would be the easiest and most unique way to start the adventure. Crossing the border by car would be a bit more complicated as border authorities would inquire about a foreign car and the additional paperwork could delay everything in this country were the law is not always as straight as one thinks. Instead, crossing with our bags and bikes would mean that as Mexicans our ID’s would be enough to cross the border and stay in Guatemala for 15-days. So hoping none of the Guatemalan authorities would inquire into the bikes' value or provenance, we crossed the border as inadvertently as six blonde “gringos” with loud coloured bikes could do, and hope for the best… The rest, well, everything turned out epic and the story is as it is in the images below...

Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala




The Team




Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
We were all quite skeptical as to what kind of trails Guatemala could offer and we had traveled without any expectations, but just from day one, the first trail blew our minds and things just kept getting better...




Antigua, Guatemala




Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Antigua is an awesome town; extremely beautiful and the people are friendly, and the food rather special, not to mention the Gallo beer - a favourite of the trip




Atitlan Lake




Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala




Fun in the Dunes!




Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala
Singletrack and Beers in Guatemala

Views: 4,800    Faves: 12    Comments: 2


Special thanks to Jorge and Clau from Bazar de Bicicletas Chiapas for the awesome hospitality and for putting this epic trip together for us, it wouldn't have been possible without them!

RIDERS: Samuel Díaz, Stephan Sproll, Daniel Zamora, Mauricio de Avila and Edgar Gomez.


MENTIONS: @nswitalski / @TransitionBikeCompany / @deityusa / @DVOSuspension / @evocsports / @bikelogistics


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68 Comments

  • + 42
 You know it's an adventure trip when there is a photo of a mule
  • + 20
 My grandfather owns a mule. Does that means his life is an adventure?
  • + 3
 Dont be a jackass
  • + 29
 Nah, I'd rather sit behind my desk.
  • + 14
 Yup, with air conditioning room and unlimited internet access. Bet they can't facebook easily like we do.
  • + 18
 Pinkbike should give away one of these trips.
  • + 8
 Great idea! I'll reach out pinkbike to make the give away with my trip company
  • + 9
 Amazing pics Nico. Just know that my yoga services are available to you and the Bike Logistics team when you go on your next trip! A x
  • + 4
 Please join us on our next trip!
  • + 1
 @yoga15app You're not up at Yoga Forest/Lake Atitlan are you? My wife is there right now
  • + 2
 No way @Backdoor! I know the area well but I'm actually in Mexico at the moment. I did my yoga teacher training on the lake.
  • + 6
 From active volcanoes to lake Atitlan to one of the best beers in the world "Gallo Nuestra Cerveza", this country has so much to offer to all you folks out there seeking for an awesome Central american adventure. Lots of mountains, lots of trails and lots of culture to be discovered in this beautiful country!! Viva Guate!!
  • + 3
 Looks like a pretty cool adventure something I would like to do one day. I have to ask, did you guys feel safe there with your $6000 bikes? No disrespect to Guatemala, but I've heard it has one of the highest crime rates in South America. Honest question.
  • + 3
 Completely safe
  • + 9
 You mean Central America.
  • + 1
 Well I didn't notice any marauding drunk hockey fans or errant moose in lumberjack shirts
  • + 1
 I went around the country for a month, about at the same time these guys were there actually! I felt "safe" everywhere. Use common sense when traveling and it will be ok.
Most of that high crime rate reputation holds to Guatemala City (avoid the red buses at all cost) and you'd better not walk alone around Lake Atitlan. That's about it.
  • + 1
 There have been robberies on some well known trails by local bikers. If you plan to visit here you just need to avoid those and you'll be fine.
  • + 7
 Great photos. Interesting to hear how others view your backyard...
  • + 2
 Antigua is one world's top destinations!! Absolutely gorgeous city with astonishing surroundings and load of things to do. Hiking up Fuego volcano while it is exploding its life may be the most insane thing I have ever done!
Also a few nice bike rides around with spectacular views. However, it is not a great biking destination; not yet. Not much local riders to build a serious network but it may change as foreigners are moving in...
  • + 3
 Fun to see so many of my favorite trails, like El Precipicio, the Santa Cat trail and others. There is so much great riding in Guatemala, nice raw stuff. Great to see more and more people discovering some of our gems!
  • + 3
 Excellent choice of trials. La Pinada and Precipicio are great as well as the Lake adventure. The beer is also something to enjoy in Antigua. Everybody is welcome to visit Guatemala and ride the great trials it has to offer.
  • + 5
 Nico, las fotos son una obra maestra!!!!!
  • + 4
 Guatemala is a heck of a MTB destination. Most of the good stuff is not even in the places they visited...
  • + 3
 Which are those?? I'm going back soon.
  • + 4
 There is amazing riding in the western highlands. Quetzaltenango has terrific trails and all day epics surrounded by active volcanoes and spectacular views of the valley. Send me a PM and I can send you links to my rides out there and introduce you to the right people to show you around. I was born and raised there, and visit yearly. Last year, I hiked up Santa Maria volcano and did the a first descent of it... walked a large portion of it as the trail was pretty beaten up...
  • + 1
 Hey man Im actually trying to make summer trip .I'll send you something .
  • + 4
 This is so sweet, I was at that arch on a missions trip years ago! Looking at the mountains an thinking about biking.
  • + 3
 Nice sir
  • + 1
 Man, I lived in Antigua for a while about 15 years ago. Spent a lot of time there in the city square and also travelled to Lake Atitlan and Monterrico on the coast. These pictures make me miss the place and want to go back with a bike next time. Great pics!
  • + 2
 Nico, estoy sorprendido con tus fotos! me encantan, que colores tan lindos, son como de colección. Hacia tiempo no veía fotos que me tuvieran un buen rato observándolas!
  • + 3
 Bienvenidos !!!

Grandes fotos.. Casi reconocí todos los senderos donde pasaron, !!

Guatemala, siempre les espera !
  • + 2
 I lived in Guatemala for two years, spent a few months in Antigua too, no bike though. I'd love to return and do this!
  • + 2
 Went to Antigua for my honeymoon. Just an amazing place to be. This article and the photos blew my mind. Very well done!
  • + 2
 What an amazing place, been there couple of years ago and would love to go back with my bike. Grat people and a great vibe!
  • + 2
 I think it's mostly the capital city that gives it a bad name. You would be pretty safe in these places as long as your not pedalling around at night
  • + 4
 Soundtrack?
  • + 4
 Beautiful photos !
  • + 2
 My Home country!!! Nice to see it get some recognition.
  • + 1
 Didn't pinkbike do an article on oldtown outfitters? Another adventure touring operation in Guatemala.
  • + 1
 All of you are wellcome in Antigua! I am happy to know that People from outside comes to ride here! =)
  • + 2
 These are my favorite features on PB.
  • + 2
 Third photo,hipster bike caged in the local nick.
  • + 2
 That kept the 'epic' in photo epic. Nicely done.
  • + 1
 que mal se la pasan boys! buenas fotos nico, prepara el lente para mascota!
  • + 3
 Gorgeus photos
  • + 2
 Amazing photos ! What a blast !
  • + 2
 Stunning. Such a great photo epic. Thank you.
  • + 2
 Amazing photo epic very nice
  • + 1
 I recently went to Guatemala and wondered about its biking potential, seems you guys found it for sure!!!
  • + 1
 This trips was SO MUCH FUN,!
  • + 2
 God this seems fun!
  • + 1
 That def looks like the tastiest buffet ever! epic riding
  • + 0
 You had me at Beer but I left with an Epic case of the trots. Dope AF lurved this piece.
  • + 1
 Beautiful pictures, great article, one of the worst soundtrack e v e r..
  • + 1
 This Hyundai Tucson behind the pillar looks dangerous!
  • + 1
 wow great pictures and video
  • + 1
 De poca madre, grandes fotos!
  • + 1
 Fotasas Nico!
  • + 1
 I love Antigua!
  • - 1
 First photo,pretty sure theyre standard hipster summer uniforms.
  • - 1
 Good luck lol, bring em back alive!
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