Trek Xela to Lake Atitlan


Trek Xela to Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. It is a great experience to hike for three days through cloud forests with pines, rivers, creeks, ravines, corn fields, coffee plantations and small towns to watch an incredible sunrise over the famous Lago de Atitlán.

A three-day trek across the beauty of Guatemala. You will have an excellent opportunity to behold the treasures of the Guatemalan highlands and a closer look of how the indigenous communities still thrive in very isolated towns from Quetzaltenango to Xela to Lake Atitlan and finally San Pedro la Laguna.

Lake Atitlan

Mountain hike

Mayan Culture

Stunning volcanoes

Quick facts

Regular backpack weight: 10 kilograms

Maximum altitude: 3050 meters above sea level

Total trek length: 46 kilometers


Day 1. Trek in the highlands.

Description: An early transfer will take you from your hotel in Quetzaltenango to Cantel where the adventure starts. Walking uphill and climbing out of the Xela Valley, you will reach Chrisbel community where we will stay overnight. Today we will reach Alaska, the highest point of the hike at 3,050 meters above sea level. 

Here you will enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Lake Atitlan and many volcanoes, like San Pedro Volcano in San Pedro la Laguna, Atitlan, Toliman, Fuego, Acatenango, Agua, Santa Maria, Cerro Quemado, Tajumulco, Tacana and many more! 

The trip is moderately difficult as the hiking terrain will be rolling hills, as well as flat terrain in some parts. The walk/hike is part of the chain of mountains Madre Mountains, a beautiful and isolated part of Guatemala’s nature. During this day, hikers will eat meals with locals who will be cooking homemade food with tortillas made on a comal.

At the end of the day, you will also have the opportunity to take a bath in a temazcal, a traditional Maya sauna and relax by a homestay fire.

Hour by hour trek:

  • 8:00 a.m. A driver and your guide will pick you up from your hotel
  • 8:30 a.m. Begin ascending out of the Xela valley
  • 10:30 a.m.  Reach Alaska, the highest peak of the trek at 3050 meters above the sea level 
  • 11:30 a.m. Start descending into the cloud forest
  • 1:30 p.m. Lunch
  • 5:00 p.m. Arrive at the town centre of Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan
  • 5:30 p.m. Time to relax and take a Temescal, a Mayan sauna. 
  • 6:30 p.m. Dinner
Day 2. Santa Clara.

Description: The second day of this trek will start with an early breakfast, and then you will begin the descent for about 2 1/2 hours through natural surroundings with pine trees and coffee farms. Soon the most difficult part of the trek will come, 30 minutes of a very slippery route to finally arrive at small river. 

The group will reach Santa Clara La Laguna village where we will sleep overnight and eat a delicious home cooked dinner with an indigenous family. Today ends enjoying a campfire.

Hour by hour trek:

  • 7:00 a.m. Breakfast at a local restaurant
  • 8:00 a.m. Departure
  • 10:00 a.m. Arrive to Record Hill
  • 11:30 a.m. Visit the Ice Cream town of Tzucubal
  • 1:30 p.m. Lunch
  • 2:30 p.m. Descend to the seven river crossings
  • 4:10 p.m. Last ascend to the place known as “The Corn Field of Death”
  • 5:00 p.m. Arrive at your host-family in the town of Xiprian
  • 6:00 pm. Delicious home-cooked traditional dinner
  • 7:00 p.m. Bonfire
Day 3. Fascinating sunrise.

Description: The final day of this amazing 3-day trek from Xela to Lake Atitlan begins by waking up early to walk to the lookout, to watch the sunrise over the beautiful lake, while eating breakfast with the most amazing view. Once the sun is up and after enjoying the astonishing spectacle of the sunrise over the lake, you will descend through coffee groves into the villages and stop at a cooperative to rest and enjoy a cup of fresh local coffee. 

From there, we will take a ride to San Pedro where we can swim, eat lunch and await our bags at the waterside restaurant before saying goodbye to this unforgettable 3 day trek.

Hour by hour trek:

  • 4:30 a.m. Early morning to hike to the lookout of the mountain ‘The Nose of the Mayan’
  • 5:35 a.m. Arrive at the lookout, prepare breakfast, and contemplate the fascinating sunrise over lake Atitlan, its three imposing volcanoes, and astonishing mountains. 
  • 8:30 a.m. Go down to the through coffee plantations in the direction of the town San Juan La Laguna. 
  • 10:00 a.m. Once in San Juan La Laguna, we will have a hot cup of the best organic coffee in the world. 
  • 11:00 a.m. We will take a truck or car to the town of San Pedro La Laguna. 
  • 11:30 a.m. In San Pedro, we will have a traditional lunch, swim and relax. Your luggage will arrive today in San Pedro.


Expenses included

3 days & 2 nights

From $250 per guest

Private transportation for the transfer to the start point

Local certified onsite guides

 Equipment: all camping and cooking equipment

Food: two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners

 Boat transfers in Lake Atitlan

 Luggage transportation to Lake Atitlan


Not included: international flights, travel and cancellation insurance and other expenses than indicated.

travel advice

Things to bring and wear.

  1. Hiking boots or trekking shoes
  2. Large-capacity backpack (50L+) with rain cover
  3. One warm layer and/or windbreaker
  4. Rain jacket (May thru October)
  5. Breathable quick dry clothes for 3 days
  6. Personal toiletries and/or medications
  7. Camera, hat, sunglasses, insect repellent & sunscreen
  8. Extra wool socks
  9. Flashlight
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