We woke up at 3am to start our little adventure. Two Americans, a New Zealander, a French woman, and a Swissman armed with flashlights and water were about to hike up a steep Guatemalan mountainside for 2 hours in the dark.
Our mission: Climb La Nariz de Indio (The Indian’s Nose) to watch the sunrise over Lake Atitlan and Volcano San Pedro. You can see our objective in the photo above. The sharp point that looks like the nose of a face looking towards the sky.
We chose to go without a guide, so first we had to find the entrance to the trail. After a little difficulty (turn left at the statue of Jesus, not right) we found it. The trail was steep, and the peak is 7342 ft. tall. About halfway up, I got this early morning shot of the lake and the surrounding towns. You can see a hint of the sun starting to come up in the distance.
The town with the green-tinted streetlights is San Pedro, the one with the orange tinted lights is San Juan. There is a fierce rivalry between the two, and it obviously extends even to their utility providers.
Finally around 6am we reached the top, after scrambling up some steep wooden steps/ladders that had been put in. To our surprise there was a local man waiting up there. He was the gatekeeper of La Nariz. If we wanted to go down the other side of the mountain to the town of Santa Clara, we’d each have to pay a $20 Quetzales fee.
We really didn’t want to go back down the same way we came up, so after paying the man we were on our way to a totally new town none of us had been to before. Along the way we passed steep mountainside corn fields, and random piles of old clothes.
After wandering into the sleepy town of Santa Clara, we jumped in the back of a colectivo pickup truck for the ride back to San Pedro la Laguna. This was a wild and bumpy ride down the mountainside past farmers walking to work, men with giant bundles of firewood on their backs, and over streams that crossed the road.
We entered the town of San Pablo, in the photo above, before ending at our final destination. The pickup truck you see in that photo is similar to the one we were riding in. About 12 people packed in the bed of the truck, standing up, and holding onto the bars. Quite an upper-body workout and roller-coaster ride. Also a great way to end our morning.
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Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.
Book Your Flight
Book cheap flights on Skyscanner, my favorite airline search engine to find deals. Also read my tips for how I find the cheapest flights.
Rent A Car
Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.
Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent local apartments on Airbnb ($35 discount!). Read my post for tips on booking cheap hotels.
Protect Your Trip
Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.
READ MORE GUATEMALA TRAVEL TIPS
I hope you enjoyed my story about hiking La Nariz de Indio before sunrise! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next: