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Old 01-02-2013, 02:17 PM   #1
Catours OP
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What 2 Moto Guides Do With A Week Off: Guatemala

As the titles says, we are two motorcycle tour guides at CATours in Antigua, Guatemala. We had the week off between Christmas and New Year's, of course we took off to explore the lesser known spots in this awesome country. If you like enduro style riding, this is one of the best routes I could imagine in Guatemala. We got a few suggestions from fellow inmates here in Guatemala - GuateRider and RichSuz, besides that we just took a map and figured it out along the way.

The riders:

Me (Chris), southern boy from GA with 3 years of guiding in Guatemala under his belt. Riding a 2007 Yamaha TTR250.



"Frenchy" (David), our guide from Quebec, riding his 2007 Suzuki DR200. By the way, he found out his mono shock was shot just before this trip. We priced one in the capital and Suzuki wants Q5,000 (~$650), what the f*#K. I found one on ebay for $50 and he decided to continue on the trip anyways, while it was in transit down here. Ever ridden on just the spring, Frenchy can tell you more.



The area:

We run a lot of trips out of Antigua to popular tourist destinations, mostly around the black circles - see below. We decided to check out a new area, NW from Antigua, crossing through the HueHue, Quiche, and Alta Verapaz regions - red circle.

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Guatemala Motorcycle Adventures!

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Old 01-02-2013, 04:19 PM   #2
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Guatemala is squeezed between 4 different countries so you don't hear to much about it.
Looking forward to your report and pics
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:26 PM   #3
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awesome. i spent 3 weeks traveling around Guat. and looking forward to your RR. we did Flores/Tikal, Rio Dulce, Atitlan/Pana/San Pedro, Chicicastenango and Antiqua.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:33 PM   #4
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Great!
Guatemala is one of my favorite countries and I am also thinking of buying a DR200.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:25 PM   #5
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what part of GA are you from?
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:46 PM   #6
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Chapinlandia

Good luck on the trip. I lived in El Remate for 2 years and rented out my 200cc yumbo's when I was there. I did many tours around Lago Itza, and ruin trips up to Yaxha and Nakum. Incredible riding up there and a nice place to camp. I recommend the smaller bikes as you can take them anywhere. Also go to Uaxactun, 25 km passed Tikal. I swear I saw a jaguar on the trip back to Remate. Do a trip of the lake and stop at La Lancha, Francis Ford Coppola's slum. Any questions let me know, also if you're hiring.
Cheers
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:04 PM   #7
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Dang!!!

You guys should have called! I wanna to!
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:58 AM   #8
Catours OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie98 View Post
what part of GA are you from?
Grew up in Savannah and then lived in Atlanta for about 12 years between school and work.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:00 AM   #9
Catours OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catracho View Post
Good luck on the trip. I lived in El Remate for 2 years and rented out my 200cc yumbo's when I was there. I did many tours around Lago Itza, and ruin trips up to Yaxha and Nakum. Incredible riding up there and a nice place to camp. I recommend the smaller bikes as you can take them anywhere. Also go to Uaxactun, 25 km passed Tikal. I swear I saw a jaguar on the trip back to Remate. Do a trip of the lake and stop at La Lancha, Francis Ford Coppola's slum. Any questions let me know, also if you're hiring.
Cheers
How long ago were you renting bikes? I've been here 3 years but CATours has been around since about '99... hadn't heard anything about rentals up there. How'd the Yumbos hold up? Had a friend buy one to ride to Costa Rica with me last year and it was a POS, but I kind of figured that from the beginning.

Last time I was up in Peten, I did the lap around Lago Itza - not a bad ride. Good rope swing near Flores!
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Cal View Post
Great!
Guatemala is one of my favorite countries and I am also thinking of buying a DR200.
Where do you want to buy it? There are a lot down here and I think Frenchy will be selling in the next few months.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:25 AM   #11
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I was in El Remate from 09 to last year, before then I was in Copan Ruins for 3 years. I actually was impressed with the Yumbos. I bought them new in San Pedro Sula, Honduras for about $1300. They of course are not the quality of Japanese bikes, but with enough duct tape, string and wire they will hold together. I had over 12000miles on them, no issues at all.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:25 AM   #12
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Day 1: Antigua to Lanquin

Day 1, Christmas Eve. We got an early start and hit the road at 6am from Antigua with Lanquin (Semuc Champey) as our destination. Here was the general plan:



About 30 minutes into the ride we knew that leaving that early was a questionable decision, too damn cold that early in the morning. We stopped just before San Raymundo to warm up a bit and let the sun show itself.


Just after San Raymundo we started hitting a great dirt road that twisted along the Rio Motagua. I knew the bridge in La Canoa had washed out a few years back but we decided to check out this route anyways and take our chances.



So about 100 kms into the day, we find our first obstacle.. Rio Motagua. I'll let the videos and pictures tell the story:



Here you can see the original bridge pillars and where it sits now, a few hundred feet down the river!




Frenchy went first with his DR200


then I came across


Of course we found this guy after we both crossed... apparently he heard from some of our local audience that the crazy gringos were crossing on their motos and he showed up with his "barge" to offer his services. The locals lay their bikes on the side and let him take them across, I like our way better!





From their we continued on to Salama and then checked out a great 27 km dirt pass that wound up the mountain and then back down the other side to Pantin. A much better option than the tarmac round about way if you ask me. We only saw one car during the whole pass, beautiful views up there. This is where you pop out, on the highway heading to Coban.


Frenchy is known for his flats and he didn't disapoint on day 1. Just outside of Coban we were using our skills once again. Nothing two guides can't handle, back on the road in 30 minutes.


great views in Alta Verapaz


We made it to Lanquin in the afternoon and went to my favorit lodge, El Retiro. This was a great place to spend Christmas Eve and the next morning becuase I knew there would be lots of travelers and a good time to be had. They are known for their all you can eat buffet dinners, perfect for the moto traveler. We stuffed our faces and then taught all the Europeans how to play flip cup... just your average Christmas holiday.


Day 1 Stats:

- Q53 gas in Salama
- Q68 food
- Q100 room
- Q75 beer
TOTAL: Q296, ~$38

268 kms, 7ish hours riding
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:05 PM   #13
coors
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im in

Im in i already like this report

Ohh thats true i was part of the trip

I can tell you i was glad not to have a bigger bike for once, To do this ride without a rear shock would have been difficult on a bigger bike.

Still went well, best ride of my life, guatemala has so much to offer to riders

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Old 01-04-2013, 08:36 AM   #14
Catours OP
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Lanquin - Semuc Champey

For those of you that aren't familiar with Guatemala, or Lanquin more specifically - this should be near the top of your places to see if you come to Guatemala. It is a natural wonder that combines amazing rivers, waterfalls, caves, rope swings, tubing, and of course great mountain riding! We passed through this time so we could continue to unknown spots but I'm going to give you some pictures from past rides we've done to this area.

view from the mirador down to the cascading Semuc pools


awesome swimming spots


cliff jumps


rope swings


and great dirt roads all around the area


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Old 01-04-2013, 09:29 AM   #15
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For those of you that aren't familiar with Guatemala, or Lanquin more specifically - this should be near the top of your places to see if you come to Guatemala. It is a natural wonder that combines amazing rivers, waterfalls, caves, rope swings, tubing, and of course great mountain riding!
+1 riding and swimming at Semuc Champey is fantastic!! One of many memories of my visits to Guatemala
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