March 6, 2009

Get off the tourist path : Hiking in Nebaj

Nebaj in a small town in the Cuchumatanes mountains in the northwest of Guatemala and situated in the Ixil Triangle. Last December, I organized a hiking trip there with friends.

Our Guide Nicolas was a man in his fifties and a local farmer speaking Ixil and Spanish. Our first stop was the village of Xeo to have lunch with a family.  Their only access is by foot or horse. For lunch we had a soup with some noddles, an egg and some tortillas. That would be our main food for the next 2 days. We soon understood why the guide office told us to bring some extra food !  We continued climbing the hill to the village of Vicalama where we spent  the night. It was a 3 hour hike on a dusty track with a limited view as it was very cloudy and froggy. 

We came upon a local house, with two rooms, one serving as bedroom and living room and one for the kitchen where they cook on a fire lighted in the middle of the room. Being at 2800 meters, the cold arrived as soon as the night fell, and we were happy to warm ourselves.  The latrine was in the back of the garden in a small hut. For dinner we had a soup of frijoles and tortillas. We all slept in the same room, two per beds with the guide on the floor. Well, we wanted some adventure, didn’t we ? I hardly slept because of the cold. We were then up at 5 :30 am to start our second day of hiking.

We left to go to Cotzol, another village a two-hour hike away. We hiked up to 3000 meters, to have a nice view on the valley. Then the rain started and followed us almost the rest of the trek. We had breakfast in Cotzol. I’ll let you guess what we eat ! A soup with noddles and an egg, with tortillas off course ! The last 3 hours were the hardest. Climbing up the mountain on a muddy trail, in the rain, with nothing in the stomach (the breakfast was far behind). We arrived in Nebaj wet and muddy but we did it !! 37 kilometres in 2 days, not bad. 

Want to hike around Nebaj ? check the Ixil Guides website

To see my pictures check my album

No comments: