GUATEMALA Panajachel to the Beach at El Paredón
Ride around the lake, descend to the coast, and white-knuckle through sand to a surf camp
Dist: ≈210 km; Date: Mar 2017
Take a scenic, clockwise ride around Lake Atitlán passing through the towns of San Andrés Semetabaj and San Lucas Tolimán. Just outside Santiago Atitlán near the southernmost tip of the lake, veer left for a descending, corkscrew ride out of the mountains to Chicacao. The road is newly paved at the time of writing, which means there are still several off-tarmac stretches to keep things interesting. From there, continue south and then east on the CA2 past Cocales. At the Siquinala junction with Highway 2, go south past La Democracia. Just south of Ceiba Amelia, branch left onto a broad gravel road and continue south until you reach the coast. Before you reach Juan Gaviota Marina del Sur take the spur to the right. Quickly the tarmac disappears and, if you’re riding a large displacement bike, you’ll want to reduce your tire pressure for the 12 kilometers of sand to Paredon Surf House.
Note: For an easier final approach, don’t veer onto the gravel below Ceiba Amelia. Instead, continue on Highway 2 to the coast at Sipacate and load your bike onto a lancha (motor boat) to cross the river. Once across the river, it’s maybe half a kilometer of sand to the Surf House. Alternatively, follow this route in reverse for a more relaxed departure at the end of your stay.