30th July 2019
The world’s trekking capital is probably Peru, and especially the highlands around Machu Picchu. There are more challenging climbs in other countries, and plenty of popular walks all around the world, but highland organized trekking with camping is dominated by the gorgeous Andes mountains of Peru. We offer many of those treks in Peru and love them, but I have often wondered why Guatemala – a country that also has amazing indigenous cultures, beautiful mountains and archaeological sites – has virtually none.
If Machu Picchu in Peru dominates the archaeological landscape in South America, the equivalent in Central America is no doubt Guatemala’s ancient Mayan city of Tikal. However, Tikal is located near sea level, surrounded by rain forest. We can trek there, but views are limited, rain and bugs persistent… It is an interesting but grimy slog.
For those interested in active cultural hiking, a new trekking route has finally been developed in this interesting country, and Wild Frontiers is happy to present Glamping in Guatemala – an amazing four-day trek through the Guatemalan highlands. This unforgettable trek passes through rural settlements with ancient ways of life, around towering volcanoes, rustic farmlands and lush cloud forest. It is a trek into the past and a simpler way of life, without sacrificing the nightly comforts of the modern world.
Our Maya trek starts just outside of ancient city of La Antigua, one of the most beautiful Spanish colonial cities in the Americas, and finishes on the shores of the deep azure Lake Atitlán, one of Guatemala’s most precious bodies of water. But the trek is not really about architecture or water. It is about people – the great cultures of Guatemala, where 21 different Mayan languages are still spoken. The cultural diversity of Guatemala is its greatest quality and learning about this living treasure is not easy. Many visitors to the country are whisked from market to village to historic sites and are only afforded a passing glimpse of these proud people who have protected their culture for 500 years.
Hiking in the Guatemala highlands is the only way to really understand the essence of its people, their way of life, and what really matters to them. For most of us, this opportunity has just failed to exist until now. With this glamping trip, our guests will hike deep into the countryside on country paths, through forests and farmland, greeting people along the way and visiting local communities, learning about local coffee production and a women’s weaving cooperative. It is a challenging hike. Though only covering an average of 10 km (just over 6 miles) per day, there are considerable elevation changes with valleys below 1,800 m (6,000 feet) and summits as high as 2,700 m (9,000 feet).
The rewards are even higher with stunning views of surrounding mountains, deep valleys and volcanic ranges. And after a good physical hike the simple pleasures of a great meal, some wine or beer and a good bed are much appreciated. Though glamping might sound like a vaguely obnoxious oxymoron of glamour and camping, it really means comfortable camping, getting a good night’s rest to get the most out of the next day. Our crew is waiting for you after each day’s hike with a fully set up camp that features large waterproof canvas tents equipped with queen beds, down blankets and pillows. Our trekking truck has a portable hot water shower, sink and toilet and fresh bath towels and a charging station for your electronic gear.
There is no better way to experience the natural and cultural beauty of Guatemala than on our private glamping trips. There are no set departures. Each trek is set up especially for your visit. We invite you to trek Central America with us in Guatemala.