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“Awesome organisation to hike with!”
Review of Quetzaltrekkers

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Santiaguito day trek
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Quetzaltrekkers is the only all non-profit, all volunteer-run trekking organization in Guatemala. Whether you're scaling a towering volcano or going from highland village to highland village, participating in our treks is a truly unique experience. 100% of our profits support a local school and dormitory for children living in Quetzaltenango.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Lockers / storage
Reviewed April 15, 2013

I did the hike to Lago Atitlan with Quetzaltrekkers and it was fantastic! The price is very reasonable, especially when you consider that the trek is all inclusive - you don't have to pay extra for food, water or gear rental. I liked the accommodations on both nights and I liked the connections/history QT has with the communities through we which we hiked.

And of course, knowing that all the guides are volunteers and so 100% of the profit from my payment goes to support a school and orphanage is a great feeling. A very noble cause and a big thanks to the guides who worked hard to make the trip awesome!

Definitely recommended to hike with QT if you hike from Xela!

Thank Pete B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 11, 2013

I managed to do almost all the Quetzaltrekker hikes during my time in Xela. The Santa Maria full moon hike (that's the beautiful volcano in Xela's back yard), the two day trip to the top of Tajumulco (tallest volcano in Central America), the three day hike from Xela to Lake Atitlan (the most beautiful lake in the world! really!), and even the six day trek from Nebaj to Todos Santos (stunning, and ever changing, scenery in a very remote section of the Cuchumatanes) . All of the treks were completely different, with different guides, but they were all excellent outdoor experiences (at amazingly low prices). The guides themselves are all volunteers, but have a lot of trekking experience in other parts of the world before they arrive in Xela. One is even working on his doctorate by studying the Quetzaltrekkers - so he interviewed me (but promised to give me a different name in his thesis, so I won't have to worry about going to prison ... ;-) ... yet). Highly recommended if you enjoy the outdoors, and want to see slices of the real Guatemala.

1  Thank saashacone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013 via mobile

My partner and I had a wonderful time with Quetzaltrekkers on the hike to TJ. The volunteers were all very helpful and awesome people, from when we first went to the office through the end of the hike. The meals they cooked were also surprisingly hearty. It's not super cheap, of course, but I would definitely recommend them to anyone not on a really strict budget.

1  Thank Michael M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

We just finished using Quetzaltrekkers out of Quetzaltanango (Xela) for a trek from Nebaj to Todos Santos in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Excellent trek!!

There were 10 of us, three families. There were 6 adults, 3 16-17 year girls and a 14 year old boy. We choose the trek because we wanted to get into the country side away from the primary tourist attractions. It was a physically challenging hike for us carrying the pack sacks, the daily vertical gains, the kilometres hiked and the very basic living conditions. The guides (Ben and Bailey) were great in considering how to make the trek work for us and making some on-the-fly changes so it all worked out well.

We knew before we went that the hike would be physical challenge for some of our group - actually for all of us! Although we had done some training and prep before, we still weren't ready for the weight in the packs we had to carry. After some discussion with Ben and Bailey we agreed to do Day 1 hiking and then see if we would have to use a back up plan that Ben quickly devised before we set out. And during Day 1 we said we wanted to do the back up plan, which was to use mules to carry some of our packs. So for Days 2 and 3 Ben organized mules to do the heavy carrying - and that was a huge factor in allowing several of us in particular to enjoy the trek to the full!

The trek itself was excellent. We went into rural areas staying in small villages, some of them only accessible by non-motorized means. We went from farms and forests into the altiplano and back down again, across a river and up to over 3800 metres. We all loved the scenery that varied during each day and a chance to see in passing how rural Guatemalans live.

I found Quetzaltrekkers as an organization to be very impressive. It has been going since around 1995, staffed and driven by volunteers. They are very inexpensive and the profits go towards supporting a school in Xela and getting kids there off the streets. Our guides did a great job and made the trek a big success from our perspective.

There is room for improvement in our view (hence 4 stars vs 5) relating to the toilet facilities and to some degree the sleeping accommodation. We expected pit toilets, however the one on the 2nd night hiking at Margarito's was tough to take (too low to even stand and filthy, so very hard for the ladies in particular) and the next one at Geronimo's barely OK. Running water toilets are not an option in these villages, however it would be a real positive if the toilets at these two places could be improved. The other aspect is that the cement floor on the first night hiking was hard and cold for our old bodies, the next 2 nights not a lot better. We had sleeping pads, however we would have looked into taking the higher end inflatable ones if we had known we would be sleeping on a cement floor and wooden planks. It would have improved our nights substantially.

Still most of our memories are strong and positive. Some specific highlights of the actual trek:
-breakfast as the sun rises after hiking for a couple of hours (and the breakfasts were very good!);
-arriving into the broken limestones of the altiplano;
-seeing some of the scattered family villages with sheep and small growing plots in the altiplano;
-each village we hiked through;
-hearing Geronimo's story of the guerilla's and army brutalizing his village - the hard history of the area is part of its heritage unfortunately;
-enjoying the cheese from a farm just outside of Acul;
- the view from La Torre at over 3800 metres.

As a final note the teenagers all did fine and had an excellent time.

To summarize - a trek that has many dimensions making it a pretty intense experience for all of us. Our 3 families have already enjoyed talking over the trek and looking at the many photos we took.

3  Thank Mark791
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2013

Such an amazing company.

The tours they offer are worth so much more than the low prices they offer it for you almost feel bad taking them as it's all for charity!

A fantastic, professional organization who will provide you will all the gear & clothing you need for overnight hikes.

I did the 2 night Tajumulco hike, which is the highest point in Central America & it was one of the best things I did in all of Central America.

Do it; You won't regret it!

2  Thank AussieDizzle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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