Quetzaltrekkers: Xela to Atitlan

Quetzaltrekkers is a fantastic organization and this was an amazing trek. The guides are all volunteers and they donate all of their proceeds to a local school. They were also super friendly; they arranged our transportation from Guatemala and also accommodated us when our shuttle was late to the pre-trip meeting. Everything (camping gear, food, housing) is included in the trek price of 750 quetzales. Over the 3 days we ate delicious food, saw beautiful landscapes, and met many wonderful people. Also, there’s a sauna and smoothies and some of the best trail mix ever! If you have time and are reasonably fit, do not hesitate. Just go! Words can’t demonstrate how beautiful everything on the hike was so I’ll try to do it with pictures.

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first views of the countryside after the slightly strenuous first portion of the hike

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a friendly farmer along the trail

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landscape changed again, now we are surrounded by mountains

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also sheep. lots of sheep.

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and then cloud forest

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our host for the first night, Faustina, generously lets a bunch of smelly trekkers sleep in her compound

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landscape on the second day

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local children are mildly amused by the weekly pack of gringos that walk through their village

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he’s smiling because he just set off a bunch of fireworks.

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we get up early on the last day to see the sunrise. Needless to say, we were a bit early…

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but.. no complaints

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the trek ends at Lake Atitlan where you get a cup of coffee at La Voz Coffee and then lunch at El Fondadero in San Pedro

Some sidenotes: We stayed at Casa Renaissance in Xela before the trek, which we really liked. The private rooms are $25/night and there are shared showers and it’s very close to the town square. Another convenient option is Casa Argentina, where the Quetzaltrekkers headquarters is located.

If you are interested in doing a coffee tour at the lake, as we were, La Voz Coffee Plantation will happily give you one for an extra 75 quetzales. You can arrange this when you arrive at the plantation. Note that the tours are in Spanish unless you pre-arrange one in English.

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