Greeting: e’b’a’ (soft hey, harder Bah) (use this greeting when passing someone on the road)
Response to e’b’a’: eo (pronounced like the English letters “a” and “o”)
Thank you: tiox chawe (tee-oshe cha-way)
Good morning: saqarik (sock-a-reek)
Good afternoon: xeq’ij (sheque-ih) (the ‘q’ is pronounced in the bottom of the throat)
Good evening: xoq’a’ab’ (show-qua-up) (again, the ‘q’ is pronounced in the bottom of the throat)
Description: This waterfall is a short walk from Pasac (Clean Land) just past the town center of Xejuyup (Below the Mountains). The river bed stands out sharply from its green surroundings due to the numerous, rotund, sun-bleached boulders that beautifully contrast the leafy green environment. The waterfall itself cascades over a sharp cliff and forms a series of pools among the boulders flowing down to join the Río Mazá (Big River) below Xejuyup.
Directions: Walk down to Xejuyup and follow the road straight through the town center, after crossing a stream that flows across the road you will come to a bridge that crosses the Río Extendido. Cross the bridge then follow the footpath on the left upstream to the waterfall.
Distance: 45 minute walk from the Roots & Wings guest house.
Lik’ilik ha: Leek-e-Leek-Ha
Description: This pleasant hike is easy to do on your own – no guide required – and the fast flowing and clear waters of this river make it a perfect place to pass a hot afternoon. During the holidays, including Christmas and the New Year, this river is a popular place for locals to enjoy a picnic and swim. Cross the bridge and follow the footpath up to the top of the ridge to get a breathtaking view of the river and to see the Fields of Maxán at the top of the ridge. On the walk to this river you will pass through Coffee Fields of Pasac and the Natural Springs that provide water to five of the villages below.
Directions: Head straight up hill from the Roots & Wings guest house, eventually the path will join with a road, continue straight/left following the road directly to the river.
Distance: 1 hour 15 minutes walk from the Roots & Wings guest house.
Recommendations: On the return trip follow the road to the Cemetery of Pasac for a change of scenery. To get there, instead of turning right at the foot path to go downhill, follow the road straight (this is where the foot path and the road met when you were on your way up). If you follow this road straight, it will intersect with another road. Turn right and follow it downhill, keeping to the right. The Pasac cemetery will be on the right hand side. Enter the cemetery and follow the well worn path through the upper side of the cemetery. This path will drop you off just uphill of Roots & Wings.
Maxán: Ma–san (maxán is the green leaf used by the locals to wrap tamales in before cooking)
Description: This sacred site is well visited by locals who come to pray, leaving behind candles, burnt offerings, and flowers. The walls of this small cave are thickly coated with black soot from all the offerings burned inside. You can enter this larger cave, on hands and knees, but you may want to bring a light. It is said that people enter to pray in the depths of the cave, but we don’t know how far back it goes or what you will find inside. Just a little further down the hill to the valley floor is a smaller version of the cave that is lined with green moss instead of black soot. The valley floor there is heavily carpeted with green plants and moss interspersed with banana trees creating a serene oasis of green. Finding this location would be tricky on your own because of the many unmarked trails that cut through the groves of plantain and banana trees.
Directions: Guide required. Head downhill from Roots & Wings, pass the town center, and turn right on the first road passing by the school of Pasac and its soccer fields. Follow the road downhill to the center of Xojolá (Dirty River), turn left in the center and continue downhill straight to the school of Caserío Yoxaja (Twin Rivers). The trail begins along the right side of the school.
Distance: 45 minute walk from the Roots & Wings guest house.
Recommendations: Arrange to meet a guide at the school in Caserío Yoxaja.
Camb’ ana Abaj: Camp-an-abah (a as in Apple, raspy J sound)
Description: The winding road up the mountains, passing through multiple pueblos including Pacanal 1 (Leaves of Bijou), Pacanal 2, and Chuituj (On Top of Temascal), is impressive enough with its breathtaking views of the countryside. Once you arrive in Pasaquiyuyup you will walk between the large leaves of maxán plants before beginning the steep descent to the valley floor. The footpath is steep, slippery, and at times very narrow but it is well worth it to see the most impressive waterfalls in Sololá. The main waterfalls cascade down over three different falls leaving clear pools of water and forming a fine mist in the sky above. On the opposite side of the valley a smaller waterfall trickles down a mossy rock face to the pool below. According to the locals there is a shelf above this smaller waterfall that people can climb to, but the climb would be steep and very slippery. Putting the waterfalls aside, the valley alone is worth the trip; surrounded by green trees and plants that lead up into the misty sky above.
Directions: A guide will be necessary to direct you to the trail head. Drive from Pasac north, passing through Pacanal 1, Pacanal 2, Chuituj until you arrive in Pasaquijuyup.
Distance: 1 hour ride in pick-up followed by 20 minute hike down to the falls.
Recommendations: Pack a lunch; you’ll want to spend some time here. Walking back from Pasaquijuyup to Pasac would allow you to enjoy the scenery, but it would take a while so pack extra food and water.
Description: Take a short stroll to the town center to see how coffee beans are cleaned and roasted at the local coffee cooperative, then visit the store to purchase some.
Directions: In the town center of Pasac the cooperative is located on the other side of the Catholic Church from Roots and Wings guest house. The cooperative’s store is located close by on the town square.
Distance: 3 minute walk from the Roots & Wings guest house.
Description: At the top it is easy to see why this volcano summit has been a sacred site for centuries. In the summer butterflies flit lightly through the sunlight, hummingbirds zip by, and the large scavenger birds glide around the peak (pilotes). There are beautiful views from all sides; from one side you can see Xejuyup and Pasac, and from the other side you can see the communities of Guineales, Panquiney, and Señaba. The level peak lends itself well to those who want to pitch a tent and spend the night. It’s not uncommon to encounter people praying here; some even spend two or three days on the peak in prayer. On the road be sure to stop and admire the waterfalls and rock faces that are visible from Pasac.
Directions: Guide to trailhead needed. Pass through the center of Xejuyup and turn right following the road down the hill to cross the River Mazá. After crossing the river turn left to follow the road uphill to the trailhead.
Distance: 30 minute drive followed by a 30 minute hike. Walking all the way back to Pasac takes about 2 hrs.
Recommendations: Take a taxi up to the trailhead and then on the return trip walk back, taking a short detour to see Caserio Maxanija (10 min) and the Fields of Berro, an herb that grows only in flowing water. Instead of going down to the Río Mazá, follow the road to the left which will take you right to Caserío Maxanija.
Description: As the only hot spring in the area, this concrete pool is a popular place to soak. It takes a while to get there but the trip is rewarding for its views of the larger Río Nahualate and the surrounding mountains and valleys. Around the hot spring are many other natural springs trickling down to a creek that joins the river below.
Directions: You will need a guide to find the start of the trail. The trail starts where the road to Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, doubles back and begins a much steeper climb. If the road were to continue straight it would take you right to the hot spring. Walk to Xejuyup, take bus to Santo Tomás, in Santo Tomás walk down past the park and turn right (look for the tall pale green tower) to take a mini-van/bus to Guineales. From Guineales take a truck or bus to Xoljuyup, from Xoljuyup head to San Miguelito. San Miguelito is a very small town and easy to miss so you’ll have to ask to be let off there ahead of time. From San Miguelito you walk the rest of the way.
Distance: 2 hrs by bus or 40 min by car, followed by a 1hr 40 min walk.
Recommendations: It would be a good idea to take a local guide if you are not confident with your communication skills due to the number of bus transfers you’ll have to make. The trail itself leads you from the road straight to the hot spring, the only tricky part is to find the start of the trail.
Description: Hike through coffee plants shaded by trees to get to the top of this peak. The peak is flat and lacking of vegetation, almost as though a fire cleared the land. The views of the surrounding area are gorgeous and include a great view of 7 Grados (7 Steps), a large volcano.
Directions: Walk or take a bus from Xejuyup to Chuisanto Tomás (Above the Munícipio de Santo Tomás). Follow the road between the school of Chuisanto Tomás and its playground to Caserío Xexac. From there you will need a guide to direct you to the trailhead.
Distance: 1 hour from the school in Caserío Chuisanto Tomás to the peak (45 minutes from Caserío Xexac) or about 1 hr 45 min walk from Pasac.
Recommendations: Guide Recommended