Volcanoes, Coffee & Colourful Lagoons: Rest Days On The ‘Ancient Cities’ Section Of The Ruta Maya
While cycling the 1260 km through Guatemala, Belize and Mexico on the – Ancient Cities – section of the 2023 Ruta Maya, the riders will be treated to 5 well-deserved rest days. Each one offers them a number of opportunities to explore both the natural and cultural highlights of the region.
Spaces are currently available for both this section and the full tour.
Just one short riding day after beginning this section in Antigua, Guatemala, known for its gorgeous colonial architecture, the cyclists will spin down into the bustling town of Panajachel. It is located on the shores of Lake Atitlán, widely considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. This immense crater lake, 1500 m above sea level, is surrounded by 3 volcanoes whose slopes are covered in verdant forests. From Panajachel the riders can hike around the lake, catch a boat to any number of Mayan villages, or simply wander through the town, checking out the local textiles and handicrafts for sale on the main street. In the evening they can enjoy a cold drink at one of the town’s many restaurants and soak in the incredible view over the lake.
Santa Anna Verapaz
When the riders pull into their next rest day in the small city of Santa Anna Verapaz, they will have just completed 2 of the most intense days on the entire Ruta Maya, cycling through a remote and mountainous region of central Guatemala. Although the participants may wish to simply lie by the hotel pool and recover, they can also explore the surrounding area which is known for its coffee plantations. There are also a number of waterparks in the city to cool off in. About 10 km north Santa Anna Verapaz, they will find Orquigonia, a beautiful orchid farm that the cyclists can explore on a guided forest walk that will allow them to discover some of the world’s rarest miniature orchids.
The riders will enjoy a memorable rest day in Tikal, staying in a lodge that is situated within the National Park itself, making visiting the ruins incredibly easy. This truly is a unique site. UNESCO points out that, “Tikal National Park is one of the few World Heritage properties inscribed according to both natural and cultural criteria for its extraordinary biodiversity and archaeological importance. It comprises 57,600 hectares of wetlands, savannah, tropical broadleaf and palm forests with thousands of architectural and artistic remains of the Mayan civilization.” The cyclists should be sure to arise before dawn on their rest day to catch the incredible sunrise from the top of Temple IV, at 70 m the highest pyramid in the park.
San Pedro Island
Having crossed into Belize, the riders will take a break in San Pedro, a beach town beautifully situated on the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. It is known for its incredible white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. San Pedro is also close to the Belize Barrier Reef and riders can opt to take a tour out to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley to snorkel or scuba dive and explore the incredible marine life including sharks, eels, parrotfish and stingrays. The town’s streets are dotted with delicious seafood restaurants and charming beach bars. The atmosphere here is very laid-back and the riders will find themselves hanging out at the end of the day, drink in hand, enjoying one of the island’s incredible sunsets.
The last rest day on this section will take place in Bacalar, Mexico. Located just across the border from Belize, this town is surrounded by dense tropical rainforest and is situated on Lake Bacalar, more commonly known as the Lagoon of Seven Colours. Largely blue, turquoise and indigo, the colours shift and change during the day. The lake is very clean and supports a large population of fish and birds. The riders should be sure to take a dip in the gorgeous waters to cool off. Bacalar also boast a Piracy Museum which is contained in an old Spanish fort, Fuerte de San Felipe, and just a few kilometres to the south of town, the cyclists can explore one of Mexico’s famous cenotes, Cenote Azul.
This incredible cycling adventure will take riders across Central America, from Costa Rica through Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and on into...