A rough road romp through the hills above Lake Atitlán
Dist: 16 km; Date: 2016-2017
From the town of Sololá, which is the capital city of the Departamento (“State”) of the same name, leave the central plaza going east on a paved, secondary road. It’s a bit tricky to find the first time and Google Maps might mix you up by getting the one-way streets backwards but all other roads eventually dead-end except this one. Just outside of town, you encounter small farms along the hillsides, a distant waterfall, and some sinuous turns.
Once in the small village of San José Chacayá, make a left just after the evangelical church (a right will put you on the tarmac route to Santa Lucía Utatlán or the Interamerican Highway). This road passes through a grove of trees and then the tarmac suddenly ends. The next couple of kilometers are the most challenging where the slopes are steepest and rockiest. Keep an eye peeled for easy-to-miss lookouts to the lake. Soon you’re through the rough stuff and gliding through a shaded country road that ends all too soon at Santa Lucía Utatlán. Don’t be embarrassed to re-ride this off-road stretch a couple times to really get your fill!