Guatemala: hike around Nebaj (Cuchumatan Mountains)


Ok, I’m jumping the gun a bit with my backlog of posts I should be getting on top of, but here is an update that I really wanted to get up.

A few days ago we got back from a brilliant 3 days up in the Cuchumatan mountains around Nebaj in the province of Quiché, Guatemala.


Danielle & I headed of with our guide Asinto from Guias Ixil in Nebaj and spent 3 days hiking 40km up, down & around exploring the small Ixil Mayan communities whilst trying to get our heads around Asinto’s explanations in Spanish about the brutal Guatemalan civil war that he fought in.


The folks up in these parts, especially the women and children, came across as quite reserved/apprehensive at first. We couldn’t work out why, especially after having found that most people in Guatemala are quite open and up for a chat. Later we heard that there had been a few incidents of foreigners “adopting” children (basically stealing them) which ended up with some unfortunate tourists being murdered after picking up one family’s little kid whilst walking through one of the communities.


Also, I’d say that the civil war has left a lot of the indigenous people up here quite suspicious of strangers.

Most people are subsistence farmers as far as I could tell and fortunately for us we didn’t come across anyone who tried to sell us anything! There are chickens, roosters, turkeys, dogs, cats, pigs and all the baby versions of these running around the place.



The women by far have the most interesting garb – purple, green and yellow pom-pommed hair braids, huipiles (blouses/dresses) and rebozos (shawls).

Most of the dads & sons seem to leave in the morning for work in town, or farm, or head out into the forest to log trees and collect wood.

IMG_1958_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1996_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1913_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1805_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1748_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg

The first day was some of the best hiking because we ended up walking from a hot sunny day up in to a thick fog on top of a mountain. It was beautiful.


The second night we stayed with a family and ended up putting on a bit of show to about 20 kids who had gathered around staring at Danielle and I through the kitchen door.
What to do? I showed them how to make fart sounds with their arm pits, and we exchanged different whistling techniques and sound fx. It was one of the best cultural exchanges I have had! 🙂



There seems to be a rather massive evangelical church presence up here too.
Both nights we tried to buy a beer or 2 and ended up having to go to the edge of each community to find the one family who sold alcohol. It was a little weird, but a lot of fun to be one of the outcasts drinking in the little watering hole.
With so many people living in cramped wooden houses with dirt floors I couldn’t see how it was ok for there to be so many reasonably sized churches built out of concrete/cinder blocks that had hard floors and electricity (to power the “jam session” that was blasted over the PA across the whole town & valley).
I have no idea what the medical facilities are like up there but we saw/met a lot of people with bad coughs and kids that didn’t look too healthy (one family had 3 kids who were all covered in what looked like hives, red eyes and sniffling noses). I felt really sorry for these little guys (especially when one of them nearly poked his eye out whilst trying to climb a tree).
It just seemed that the little money that is up there is kind of going into the wrong places (but i ain’t judgin’!).


Our time up in the mountains was fantastic and I’d really suggest to anyone who is going near Nebaj to take a few days and go explore!

The Photos

IMG_1697_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1731_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1739_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1740_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1744_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1748_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1754_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1765_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1768_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1770_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1774_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1775_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1778_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1781_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1783_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1784_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1793_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1799_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1800_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1801_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1805_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1806_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1807_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1808_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1812_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1822_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1828_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1832_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1833_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1836_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1838_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1840_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1841_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1842_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1843_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1845_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1847_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1848_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1849_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1852_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1853_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1861_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1865_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1868_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1869_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1873_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1874_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1876_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1883_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1893_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1896_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1900_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1901_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1902_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1903_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1907_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1908_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1909_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1913_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1915_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1916_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1920_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1923_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1925_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1926_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1928_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1932_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1935_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1942_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1943_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1944_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1945_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1952_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1953_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1954_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1956_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1958_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1960_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1962_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1963_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1965_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1966_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1967_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1968_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1969_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1970_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1971_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1972_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1975_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1982_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1984_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1987_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1991_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1992_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1993_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_1996_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_2001_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_2002_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_2009_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_2012_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg IMG_2013_Nebaj_Guatemala.jpg

The Route

View Larger Map

GPS track file (GPX)

2 thoughts on “Guatemala: hike around Nebaj (Cuchumatan Mountains)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.