La Torre Hike Summit

Sierra de los Cuchumatanes Mountains Hike to La Torre Peak

In Guatemala, Hiking by Erik @ DIY Travel HQLeave a Comment

Hiking in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountains will take you across the highest non-volcanic range in Central America. Find out how to hike to the La Torre peak without a guide!

Sierra de los Cuchumatanes Mountains

There are many tall peaks in Central America, but the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountains in Guatemala are the highest non-volcanic range. Despite the elevation, getting to La Torre peak is very easy and generally straightforward.

The peak of La Torre in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountains is located in La Ventosa, and an easy half-day trip from Todos Santos Cuchumatan, Guatemala.

We recommend strolling along the main road in La Ventosa, in addition to climbing La Torre, to enjoy the scenery and presence of village residents. Click on a link below for a specific interest.

Find more inspiration in one of the Guatemala guide books below!

How to Get to La Ventosa

The easiest way to reach La Torre in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountains is by public transportation to La Ventosa where the path originates.

Transportation runs frequently between Todos Santos Cuchumatan and Huetenango. Grab a microbus or chicken bus headed towards La Ventosa (Q10, 30 minutes), and ask to get off there.

Todos Santos Cuchumatan Microbus
Microbuses for La Ventosa stop next to the taxi stand in Todos Santos Cuchumatan.

La Torre Hike

When you arrive in La Ventosa, find Iglesia Evangelica Bautista as this will be your starting point for hiking La Torre in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountains.

La Torre Start of Hike at Iglesia Evangelica Bautista
Let the church ‘show you the way’.

Follow the winding road up multiple switchbacks until it essentially ends. When there is a fork in the road, veer right instead of turning towards the antennas.

Road to La Torre on Hike from La Ventosa
This view is from above. Follow the initial road and veer right, away from the antennas.

We followed Maps.me in the beginning, but the road is much easier. It doesn’t have to cut through people’s property in La Ventosa, Guatemala.

La Torre Hiking Through Backyards with Maps me
Follow the road, and not the Maps.me trail as you literally weave between houses before taking the road anyway.

Along the way, you will pass grazing pastures, and fields of gold before starting to get a bird’s eye view of the valley.

La Torre Hiking Through Fields of Gold
La Torre has everything you could want from an easy climb to panoramic views.

Hiking Path

The real hiking trail starts once the drivable portion of the road ends, and becomes narrower and rockier. Stick to the worn path as you hike up towards Sierra de los Cuchumatanes peak, La Torre.

Hiking La Torre End of Road and Beginning of Trail
The trail gets smaller and smaller from here.

There will be some sections where you have to pass through trees, but the next important step isn’t until there is a clearing.

La Torre Hike Shrub Trees
Make your way through the shrub forest.

Once you reach an open clearing, with the sounds of locals chopping trees down in the distance, you can choose between two routes.

Hike La Torre Grassy Opening Before Peak
Turn left and climb directly to the peak, or circle around to the road to La Torre.

If you’re hiking in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountains, the ultimate destination is the antenna station on the top of the hill, or La Torre.

Hiking La Torre Peak Antenna
This view of the antenna is from the opposite side. You should still be able to see the antenna from the path.

The fastest and most direct route is to hike up the hill on your left. Otherwise, you can follow the base of the hill around, and turn left up the road up when you reach it.

La Torre Road to Somewhere
If you circle around, turn left at this road. Otherwise, it doesn’t lead you anywhere useful.

At the top of La Torre, enjoy the views of jagged rock formations and the valley below. It took us 90 minutes to hike up La Torre from Iglesia Evangelica Bautista.

The elevation change was approximately 450 meters since La Ventosa sits around 3,400 meters above sea level. The return is the same way you hiked up.

Hike La Torre Craggy Peak
Enjoy the view from Central America’s highest non-volcanic point.

On the way down, we noticed several trees that were skinned. The only explanation we could come up with was that local villagers used the slabs of curved bark as back braces for carrying wood on their backs.

Hiking La Torre Chopped Tree Bark
Listen to the sounds of men cutting down trees in the distance.

Planning a Sierra de los Cuchumatanes Mountains Hike

Hiking La Torre may be straightforward, but planning is still required for an enjoyable climb. Consider using the free app Maps.me as a back-up in case you get lost. You also need to consider the following:

  • Weather
  • Departure Time
  • Safety
  • Food
La Torre Hike Lizard
There are not many people to ask directions on the hike to La Torre, and I don’t think this lizard is talking.

Weather

The weather for hiking in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountains is notorious for being cloudy, rainy, and foggy worst of all.

If the forecast calls for rain or the sky is cloudy upon departure, postpone your hike for another day. You will not see anything at best, and you may get lost in inclement weather at worst.

Bring a waterproof jacket, and plastic bag for your camera just in case.

Hiking La Torre View La Ventosa and Valley
Weather changes rapidly at La Torre. Watch the clouds approach from every direction.

Departure Time

Plan on leaving Todos Santos Cuchumatan no later than 8 am in order to hike in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountains and return before noon.

This is usually the latest you can enjoy clear skies. Departing earlier gives you a better chance of blue skies upon hiking up to the summit of La Torre.

La Torre Hike Above the Clouds
It may be blue skies in the early morning, but the clouds quickly roll-in.

Safety

We have not heard any issues regarding safety on hiking in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountains. The area is less touristy so bandits prefer other areas. However, things change quickly in Guatemala so check first.

Hiking La Torre Level Grassy Stretch
As a precaution, hike in groups and back-up your pictures before hiking La Torre.

Do not be alarmed by locals with machetes and axes. They are everyday tools for cutting down trees, and the reason there is a path in the first place.

Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Guatemala. We’ve been using World Nomads for over 10 years. It’s the best-value provider we’ve found but there are other important things to consider. Check out our post and find out which of our claims were successful or denied.

Food

You can grab cookies (Q1.5 / $0.20) and sandwiches (Q6 / $0.80) at the Panaderia Jimenez bakery across from the church before departing Todos Santos Cuchumatan for La Ventosa and La Torre.

Todos Santos Cuchumatan Friendly Men in Traditional Clothing
Panaderia Jimenez is up the red staircase behind these Todosanteros.

Exploring La Ventosa, Guatemala

La Ventosa, Guatemala is located near the highest peak of Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountains, and is a great Maya-Mam village to explore.

The places that we love tend to be simple in nature, and the people and environment create longer lasting memories than the best museum in the world.

Perhaps our inner most desire is to remove the burdens of electronics, and return to a simpler time. Find out what we saw in just two hours exploring La Ventosa.

Exploring La Ventosa Farming Fields
There is something about physical labor that gives you a sense of accomplishment, and helps you sleep at night.

You don’t have to go very far from the main towns to get away from everything, when you already are away from everything. La Ventosa is located between Huehuetenango and Todos Santos Cuchumatan, but far removed from both. Our walk was just along the main road linking both.

Todos Santos Cuchumatan to Huehuetenango Road in La Ventosa
Get off the tourist trail, and discover a different side of Guatemala.

La Ventosa, Guatemala Locals

From the landscape, it is possible to tell that the residents make their living off the land. Sheep grazed on the pastures, vegetables grew in the fields, and the men collected firewood. There was even one family having a picnic as they watched over their sheep.

Exploring La Ventosa Family Picnic while Sheparding Sheep
I’m not sure which is better: watching grass grow, or sheep eat it? Might as well have a picnic.

Children along the road would run to the edges of their property, yell hola, smile, and wave. Their smiles were contagious, and it was fun to see their excitement.

Whenever I tried to take a picture they would disappear, only to return again once the camera was away. The only proof that they were there was a boarded-up building that the kids used as a chalkboard for their drawing and writing.

Exploring La Ventosa Children's Drawings on House
La Ventosa ‘graffiti’ on the side of a building.

There was one family that chased me down in order to take their picture. They were hoping that I would be returning, and could print a copy for them.

I tried to arrange emailing them, but they didn’t even have an email address. Electronics and the internet had no effect on their daily lives.

Their main concern was making ends meet, working the land, and selling at the markets. I hope this picture finds them one day.

Exploring La Ventosa Family Posing
I hope this family finds this picture one day.

Maya Mam Chujs

Several houses had visible chujs, a traditional sauna for the Maya-Mam people in the Guatemala Highlands.

One might think it was a cellar to keep things cold, but the temperature is already chilly at 3,400 meters above sea level.

Exploring La Ventosa Chuj
If you get the chance while in the Guatemala Highlands, try the chuj traditional sauna.

Weaving Traditional Clothing

Another common sight were women weaving colorful fabric that would be made into traditional clothing. The process is very time consuming, but each generation of women helps from the elderly down to children. That is how the area has maintained such a strong sense of tradition.

Exploring La Ventosa Weaving Traditional Clothes Fabric
Everything is done by hand, and not much has changed over the years for the locals of La Ventosa.

Landscape

One of the more striking aspects to La Ventosa was the landscape, and how the local flora was used to accent houses and roads. As you can imagine, it is quite rocky upon the plateau of the Sierra de los Cuchumatan mountains.

Fields were filled with small boulders, and larger ones lined the edge of properties. Backyards were cut short on the north side by steep, rocky terrain.

Exploring La Ventosa House and Rock Formation
La Ventosa feels like Southwest China with remote villages, rock formations, wooden houses and mist in the air.

Despite having a ban on hard liquor, flowering agave were abundant.

Exploring La Ventosa Agave in Bloom
We didn’t realize the bright yellow flowers on ‘sticks’ we saw were flowering agave plants.

They used the succulents to secure the soil along the sides of roads, and as landscaping on top of stone walls.

Exploring La Ventosa Agave Along Side of Road
Exploring La Ventosa Agave Wall
I’m not sure the roots won’t tear the wall down as the plants grow.

Animals

A remote village wouldn’t be complete without animals. The most threatening were the turkeys. We tried to get closer to one for a better picture, but he started charging at us.

Exploring La Ventosa Turkey
That’s one tough turkey!

We watched two others either fighting or mating, but couldn’t tell which one. Regardless, it was still fun to see one balance on a wire fence while peacocking given his size.

Exploring La Ventosa Turkey Staring Contest
One way or another this turkey is expressing his love for another.

We didn’t see any chickens, but the hens had houses built for them throughout La Ventosa, Guatemala.

Exploring La Ventosa Elevated Hen House
Step right up ma’am. Your room is on the second floor.

Grazing sheep were a very common sight, and several young boys were seen shepherding a flock. Their tool of the trade were not dogs or horses, but rather a whip that got the sheep riled up.

Exploring La Ventosa Grazing Sheep
You need to tie the sheep down, or else they might become skittish and run into the middle of traffic.

We usually associate pigs eating scraps and being dirty animals, but both pigs we saw were grazing just like all the other animals. I’m sure they would have loved to be untied, and left to forage through the vegetable gardens though.

Exploring La Ventosa Pig Grazing
Who knew pigs eat grass too?!

Our exploration of La Ventosa came to an abrupt end when the fog rolled in, and the Maya Mam village disappeared before our eyes. Perhaps it was all just an illusion, but we hope you enjoyed exploring La Ventosa as much as us.

Exploring La Ventosa Fogs Rolling In
La Ventosa was covered in a layer of fog in just a matter of minutes.

***The Final Word – If you are in Todos Santos Cuchumatan and the weather is nice, there is no reason not to go hiking in the Cuchumatanes Mountains. Your total cost will be only Q20 for transportation if you go without a tour. ***

What’s the highest elevation you have climbed?

Visited in August 2016
Updated February 2020

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