Rat Race | Guatemala Sea to Summit
Antigua, Guatemala 9 nights from £3,551

Rat Race | Guatemala Sea to Summit

Journey to the highest point of Central America through the jungle on bike and foot, across a land forged by the fire of volcanoes past and present.

  • 107 miles mountain biking
  • 34 miles trail running


Witness spewing lava

Witness spewing lava

One of the most dramatic sights on earth is yours to behold on an exclusive acclimatisation trek - the spewing lava of active volcano Acatenango.

Coffee farm camp

Coffee farm camp

Spend the night on a working Guatemalan coffee farm where a good cup o' Joe is never far away.

Central America's highest

Central America's highest

Stand victorious atop the highest mountain in Central America, the dormant Volcan Tajamulco, as the high point of your sea to summit adventure!


Set against a backdrop of ancient Mayan culture, this Guatemalan adventure starts from the sensational Antigua-de-Guatemala with its picture-postcard colourful period architecture and ringed by active volcanoes.

You'll come up-close and personal with one of the volcanoes early on, as you acclimatise with a trek up active Acatenango. The journey then heads to the coast, for a bike and foot assault from sea level all the way to the highest point of Central America – the dormant volcano Tajumulco, towering above the continental divide at a mighty 4200m.

Afterwards, for some well-earned 'R and R' the journey reaches the serene Lake Atitlan, another jewel in Guatemala’s crown. This is not only an outstanding physical journey to the high point of Central America, but also a travel experience into the beating heart of this warm, welcoming and mysterious country.


  • 30 November - 9 December 2024
  • 29 November - 8 December 2026

Adventure video

  • Forest
  • Solo
  • Couples

Ability level

If you love the thought of cycling through wild lands and erupting volcanoes then this mountain biking adventure is for you.

You will spend a number of fairly major back-to-back days on mountain bikes so you need to be a confident rider. It's not an overly technical ride for the most part but has steep elevation gains, and the humidity and heat of the jungle saps your energy much faster than in some temperate environments with similar terrain. Mountain bike familiarisation days in the UK are available.


You may travel at your own pace most of the time. There are some cut-offs however these are very generous and the team will always look to help you to achieve your goals in finishing this challenge, vs having to pull out. There are early starts to allow the very best possible window for route completion (and to benefit from the cool of the early day). However if you need to stop for whatever reason, the team is there for you. The absolute key is that you enjoy this amazing journey and that you do so within your own limits. 

On the mountain, you will be split into sub-groups with local guides, typically traveling at a pace similar to your own comfort level and ability. The sub-group may spread out, or you may all travel together based on weather and other factors on the ground. On the mountain, there are few options to turn back, although in an emergency, it can be arranged. It is very much a communal undertaking, and that expeditionary spirit will be alive and kicking on this trip!


This is a remote part of the world here and at all times, the team is vigilant to the fact that plans may need to be changed. If the weather comes in the group may need to be brought together as one and travel at close quarters.


You won't be staring at maps or navigational aids any more than you have to!

For the bike stage, instead of waymarking, you will be provided with a pre-programmed cycle-specific GPS device which will have the route bike uploaded. You will follow this ‘line’ and can use this as a back-up at all times. You may augment this with your own device – such as a GPS watch.

The route will show the stage start and finish locations of the course each day, plus also show you pit stop locations, so you know exactly how far you are from support. Don’t worry – you won’t get lost. But if you do – the support of highly experienced safety crew plus support vehicles is never very far away.

On the mountain, you will each be issued with a Garmin 66i navigational device to use as a back-up and you may also use your own GPS watch.


‘Gnarly, steep, cobbles’ would be the three words used to describe the terrain. Once the route departs sea level, it gradually ascends on a mixture of good roads, ancient-cobbled tracks, dirt roads and trails. The track and trail conditions are varied, and you should expect a bumpy ride for a lot of the bike stage. This is lung-busting riding in the heat of the jungle. Hard yacka it most certainly is.

For the mountain, it is all on a trail. On the lower stretches, this is a sustained 1:3, 1:4 gradient. Once higher on the volcano, it is volcano-shaped so gets steeper. The upper reaches of the mountain route, before the crater rim, are exceptionally steep – think 1:2. These are not hugely exposed as there is a lot of treeline cover, but expect to be scrambling a bit, with a pack, in the darkness of the early dawn on summit day. It is a 'punchy' trekking route but not the ‘main’ route so the group is likely to have the trail to itself.


Hotel accommodation is offered on a double or twin-room basis; although configurations may vary. If you are taking part on your own, you will be paired with other participant/s of the same sex in a shared room. In Antigua and Atitlan, single occupancy may be an option.

All accommodation is of a good, clean standard. Bathroom facilities could be shared or en-suite and in general, the style of accommodation is always in keeping with the vibe of the area, always cosy and comfortable.

In Antigua and Atitlan, the hotels are of tourist-grade quality. In the more remote villages and towns, you should expect more rustic and basic facilities.


All meals and Pit Stops are included as standard, at hotels and in camp, cooked up by the expert catering crew. You'll never be far from a good cup of coffee!

Kit list

A comprehensive list of mandatory and recommended kit is available.


  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

  • Bag transfer
  • Flights
  • Transfers

Meeting point

La Aurora International Airport
9 Avenida 14-75
Ciudad de Guatemala

You will be greeted at the airport by the team and transferred to the first hotel.

  • Hill
  • Forest
  • Beach
  • Minibus


  • Day 1 | Travel

    You will be collected from the airport and transferred to the hotel with time to look around the stunning old town followed by dinner as a group. If you're lucky, there may be a live show from the active volcanoes that surround Antigua, spewing red lava into the air while enjoying drinks from one of the rooftop bars in town. 

  • Day 2 | Acatenango (approx. 11 miles/18km)

    After an early breakfast and an introductory event welcome and briefing, transfer by bus to the trailhead for Acatenango. Spend the rest of the day trekking to the campsite, which is in clear sight of one of the most spectacular things you may ever see – an erupting live volcano, Volcán de Fuego. Whilst this is a superb outing, it is also an important part of acclimatisation.

    Erupting volcano
  • Day 3 | Volcano summit, drive to the coast (approx. 11 miles/18km)

    After an early start and a spectacular mountain sunrise, summit Acatenango and then descend the mountain to rejoin road transport. Head to the coast to arrive at the starting location for the Sea to Summit journey itself.

    Champerico is a charming little seaside town that is popular with Guatemalan visitors looking for a bit of sea and sand (black volcanic sand). You are well off the tourist track here though and not many international visitors make it to this area of the country.

  • Day 4 | Sea to summit begins! (approx. 46 miles/74km)

    Away from the coast, you are immersed fully into the Guatemalan countryside of subsistence agriculture, small settlements, houses and huts that pop up throughout the forests and fields of this coastal province. People are friendly and will be intrigued to see you on your bikes whizz through. The terrain begins quite flat but by the end of the day, it is decidedly more ‘lumpy!’ it is also very, very hot. Go steady as you have a long way to go, with several thousand metres of ascent ahead. Surfaces alternate between dirt tracks, ancient, cobbled roadways and some singletrack. There is a bit of tarmac and concrete-surfaced road mixed in through villages. Near Coatepeque in the foothills of the mountains of the Continental Divide, you will leave the road and descend down to a jungle river with a spot of ‘hike-a-bike’ required to ford the river – an exciting reminder of this wild terrain that you are traversing. 

    Jungle mountain biking
  • Day 5 | Wake up and smell the coffee (approx. 31.3 miles/50km) 

    The terrain has become pretty ‘chunky’ and you will be going up and down some serious hills, largely on cobble-stone roads and tracks of varying quality. It is a rugged landscape filled with agriculture of various sorts and a big part of that is the coffee plantations that surround you. Ultimately, after a sweaty day of toil on the bikes, including some refreshing stops to take in waterfalls, mountain streams and colourful communities, the team will reach Finca Alabama, high in the mountains and shrouded in mist at certain times of the day. The aroma of coffee beans hangs thick in the air as this is a major processing point for the coffee of the surrounding area. Bed down for the night within the grounds of the Finca and of course, a fresh cup of local Guatemalan Joe won’t be very far away. 

    One of the many waterfalls
  • Day 6 | Final day on the bikes - up, up and away! (approx. 18 miles/29km) 

    Deep now within the mountains of central Guatemala, the route continues to wind its way upwards, now starting to reveal Tajumulco itself looming large on the horizon. Continue another amazing and challenging day on the bikes, to reach the small town of San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta.

  • Day 7 | From bike to foot - Tajamulco beckons (approx. 11.7 miles/18.5km) 

    This is a really big day, there is no other way to describe it. You will ultimately end up at 3000m elevation high on the slopes of Tajumulco herself. This will involve a very early start, around 17km on the bikes (which doesn’t sound like much, but this is serious terrain with serious elevation gain). Ditching the bikes, you will tog up for the mountain and ascend around 1020m to reach camp, sitting around the 3000m contour. The going gets steeper and steeper as you approach camp and when you finally arrive, tents will be waiting for you, plus a freshly cooked local meal. The real business end of the adventure has begun, and one (very long and epic) final day awaits tomorrow!

    Tough trekking
  • Day 8 | The summit of Central America

    Rising in the early hours, you will ascend the remaining 1200m of vertical, through the dawn and up some incredibly steep slopes, to top out at the summit of Tajumulco and the high point of Central America. This truly is an epic mountain day, and the crowning glory of your endeavours is the reward of stunning views all the way down the Continental Divide, littered with dormant and active volcanoes along its length. Tajumulco is not a hugely climbed mountain by its regular route, but the route taken to the summit is virtually never traveled, so this is also a very special way to arrive here.

    From the summit, descend to the village of San Sebastiàn and enjoy a well-earned lunch and some beers, before setting off in the transport for Lake Atitlan for some very welcome R and R.

    Central American peaks
  • Day 9 | Return to Antigua

    After a leisurely morning enjoying the sensational scenery of Lake Atitlan, travel back to Antigua for further sightseeing and a final goodbye meal in town.

  • Day 10 | Travel

    Journey’s end. Transfer those who wish to go back to the International Airport at Guatemala City and bid fond farewells after a stunning adventure.

  • Accommodation
  • Equipment
  • Guides
  • Flights
  • Meals
  • Transfers
  • Bike transfers


  • Accommodation

    6 nights hotel or guesthouse and 3 nights camping.

  • Meals

    All meals included.

  • Transfers

    Airport transfers at the beginning and end.

  • Bag/gear transfers

    All overnight bag and gear transfers.

  • Guides and support

    Local Spanish-speaking crew and mountain guides, roadside Pit Stop support from support vehicles on the bike legs with all bag and bike logistics plus professional bike mechanics and full vehicular support throughout the bike stages.

  • Safety

    Professional safety staff with you all the way including PLUS medical provision by qualified medics and full evacuation planning. mountain guides, drivers, route safety staff and experts are on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.

  • Equipment

    GPS navigational aids including Garmin Edge bike navigation device and Garmin 66i mountain handheld GPS device will be provided.

  • Transfer policy

    Flexible event transfer policy up to 12 weeks before your departure.

  • Extras

    High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.

Bike and baggage transfers

Not Included

  • Mountain bikes are available to hire or you can provide your own.

Trip leader

Abbi is your leader for this adventure. She's a highly experienced Expeditions Manager with more than 10 years of exploring under her belt.

  • Carbon offset
  • Plastic bottle free

Environmental pledge

This adventure has made a firm commitment to really elevate its approach to a sustainable and environmentally aware way of working. Each activity has been assessed to improve its environmental impact, including:

  • race t-shirts to be collected at the event and not shipped across the world
  • wooden medals instead of metal
  • phasing out single-use plastics
  • local event catering
  • tighter recycling activities

This event is on track to achieve carbon-neutral in its day-to-day business activities and is making progress with carbon off-setting for worldwide travel, including ground-breaking ways to make a difference in some of the host locations.


16 and 17 year olds will be considered on an individual basis, if taking part with a responsible adult.

Instalment plan

eg. Pay £326.10 in 10 instalments.

Choose how many months you want to spread the cost over, totally interest free. There is no credit check required to use this facility. When you sign up to the instalment plan a recurring payment will be set up and your card will be debited on the same date each month.

Refund protect

Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance.




Antigua-De-Gutemala feels like you are walking around a painting; period architecture everywhere, volcanoes in the back garden, smiling locals, colourful outfits and great coffee. 

A place overlooking a country forged by fire in a spiritual, historical location rich in Mayan culture. Standing together as a team, taking it all in and completing the mountain together is a special moment, it is one that will stay with us all forever. A feeling that we hope to bring to others who want to take on the adventure. Abbi Naylor

Enquiries & bookings

If you have any questions or would like to check availability or make a booking, please provide a few details about you, your group size and any preferred dates. A member of the team will then get back to you or you can go ahead and book online.