Updated: Sep 16
The ascent (3h) of the Indian Nose (Nariz Maya), Lake Atitlan, Guatemala without a guide. DIY! Prices and informations.
This little trek is one of the most popular on Lake Atitlan, and although my boyfriend and my roommate had lived around the lake for 10 years, they had never climbed it. The activity has been planned for almost a week and everything is working as expected. We are the 4 people from the Anarchist Base Camp (our house) and 3 girls from the Perros Libres (a dog shelter), of course, they each have a dog to take care of and we also bring our friend Rupert.
Surprisingly, despite all this nice gang we leave at the scheduled time to take the boat from Tzununa to San Juan. We had to negotiate the price because it's a festive weekend (Semana Santa) and the boat drivers try to make a dishonest money, but we are not fooled. It's usually 10Q per person for that distance and we manage to get it for 15; we thought that since we bring so many dogs that it was reasonable.
Arrived in San Juan, it is very lively, people are happy. You must first head to the Kiaq'Aiswaan watchtower. Coming out of the lancha (boat), at the top of the hill, turn right and follow the street to the end. At some point you will be forced to turn left, then you will come to the street ''Salida de San Juan la Laguna''; turn right (follow signs that say “Guatemala City”). You can also take a tuk tuk but for this short distance (20 minutes walk) I don't think it's worth it.
The price for the watchtower as well as for entering the Indian Nose trail is the same. For foreigners it's Q30 per person (otherwise it's Q20). There are free public toilets to the left of the ticket office.
Nariz Maya rises to about 2200 m (7217 ft). Depending on your speed of ascent of course, it will take you about 2 to 3 hours to go up and about 1 hour to go down. The path is well beaten, but I still advise you to use the ''All Trails'' application, because at one point or 2, we used it to make sure we took the right path (no indications really on the road apart from 1 white arrow painted on a rock XD).
We found the climb to be very reasonable. We did a little roundabout how people found it difficult out of 10 and the difficulty ratings ranged from 4/10 to 6/10. Everyone had a smile and I enjoyed my experience of trekking with animals.
My only negative point would be that when you get to the top of the mountain, it's private land, and the owner decides the price he wants to charge (depending, it seems, on his mood and if he likes your face or not). It ranged from 70Q to 125Q (we asked other people how much they paid)! Obviously we found it was really taking advantage of the good people (also, hadn't we already paid our entrance to the mountain?) and went down a little lower without giving a penny more and where this was not his ground; which practically equates to the same incredible view of Lake Atitlan and surrounding areas. I was still able to take a picture before he came to ask us to pay!