This is Guatemalan trekking at its best. The Western Mayan Highlands Trail follows ancient trade routes that once connected the Mayan civilizations of Lake Atitlan to those of Quetzaltenango. Much of this walk is above 10,000 feet (3,000 m), providing phenomenal views of 15 different volcanoes. Watch the sunset over Lake Atitlan, and finish your hike with a dip in the Fuentes Georginas hot springs.

Highlights

  • Retrace centuries-old Mayan trade routes
  • Enjoy views of 15 Guatemalan volcanoes
  • Hike the Seven Crosses Trail
  • Relax in Fuentes Georginas hot springs 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Hike to Xeabaj Camping
Day 2 Seven Crosses Trail Camping
Day 3 Zunil Summit and Feuntes Georgina hot springs  
 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Hike to Xeabaj

Hike the beautiful grassy trails into Xeabaj

On the first morning, you will be shuttled to the trailhead, off the Pan-American Highway above Lake Atitlan.  From here, you will retrace centuries-old Mayan trade routes. Hike through deep ravines and river canyons, past Mayan ceremonial sites, and up through the remote Mayan communities of the Western Highlands. Camp on a narrow ridge in the abandoned village of Xeabaj (which means ‘under the rock’) and enjoy stellar views of the surrounding mountains and valleys in every direction.

Hiking distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)

Day 2: Seven Crosses trail

View from the Zunil campsite of string of volcanoes 

Today you will follow the Siete Cruces (Seven Crosses) trail. The trail traverses the top of a spectacular ridgeline leading to Pico Zunil. It starts with a tough climb up to about 8,850 feet (2,700 m) through lush flora. Take a break at the top and soak up the incredible views and surreal landscape. After lunch, climb up to the trail on the ridge at 10,000 feet (3,000 m). This ridge offers some of Guatemala’s most impressive views of the Ring of Fire – 15 volcanoes stretching from the Salvadoran border all the way across to Mexico. Tonight you will camp on a ridge overlooking the Almolonga Valley on one side and the volcanoes surrounding Guatemala’s 2nd largest city Quetzaltenango (Xela) on the other.

Hiking distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)

Day 3: Zunil summit and Feuntes Georginas hot springs

Thermal waters of the Fuentes Georginas hot springs

A sunrise breakfast and coffee prepares us for our last push across the ridge, summiting Pico Zunil after a 1.5-hour hike. Continue down the winding 5,900-foot (1,800 m) descent through a tropical cloud forest, to the therapeutic thermal waters of Fuentes Georginas. Drop your pack, don your swim trunks, and soak your tired legs in the thermal pools while enjoying an ice cold drink. After your soak, travel by private transport back to Panajachel.

Hiking distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)