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Bike Trip in Antigua

 

 

My friend Beat Brunschwiler at Maya Bike Tours in Antigua suggested I join a bike tour. He assured me that it was not a very strenuous trip. Despite having not ridden a bike for any distance of great significance in living memory, I accepted his challenge. With helmet, gloves and a comfortable mountain bike, off I went with a bevy of healthy young ladies from North America and Europe.

 

Riding a bike on Antigua’s cobblestone streets is not exactly easy on the posterior; nevertheless we were soon off the cobbles and onto local dirt roads, riding through villages so small I never knew of their existence. Each one sported beautiful little churches in varying states of decay (resulting from the devastating earthquakes of 1773).

 

When the road started climbing, I was forced to get off and walk, much to my chagrin: the guide was doing wheelies up this steep stretch!

 

We finally arrived at the spectacular convent of San Luis del Obisbo, with stunning views over Antigua and the Panchoy Valley. I asked the guide if we were continuing our climb, and he pointed up a steep earth street. I girded my loins and started walking my bike up the hill. Imagine my delight when moments later he caught up with me and told me that the “youngsters” had decided we had gone far enough “up,” and now they wanted to go “down.”

 

We now descended at breakneck speed through more villages to the town of Ciudad Vieja, and from there took the excellent highway to the fascinating Valhalla macadamia nut farm. This was a welcome spot to rest and soak up some facts about this remarkable project aimed at introducing the versatile Macadamia nut tree to Guatemala and its farmers. Onwards through San Miguel de las Dueñas to the weaving town of San Antonio Aguas Calientes. Another short uphill walk, and then all downhill and level through coffee plantations back to Antigua.

 

For someone as out of condition as I, I felt very good having completed the circuit. Was it worth taking the trip? Most definitely yes! This was a wonderful jaunt through a countryside that you can hardly conceive while whizzing by in a car. Too difficult? Not really! If I can do it, anyone can!



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