Motorcycle Diary

Local market of Santa María de Jesús

There is something undeniably cool about motorbikes, cobbled streets and rock and roll. Combine all three and you have one of the most exhilarating ways to explore La Antigua Guatemala: driving through the pueblos of Sacatepéquez, on the back of a trike, with the Rolling Stones blaring from the speakers.

CATours has been specializing in creating tailor-made motorbike tours of Antigua and beyond since 1999, offering adventurous travelers everything from driving up volcanoes to overnight beach trips and excursions to Lake Atitlán.

I started my adventure at the company’s own Motocafe with a strong cup of coffee and a quick briefing of the morning’s itinerary from CATours’ owner Dave Drudge. I was to be chief passenger for the day on the newest addition to the company’s fleet of 13 motorbikes: a fierce-looking, two-person, orange trike. Perfect for those who aren’t brave enough to take the handlebars themselves, or who simply want to focus on the beautiful vistas rather than the passing traffic, the three-wheel bike gives you the luxury of being chauffeur driven by one of CATours’ instructors, leaving you free to snap away at the stunning scenery you pass.

Englishman Drudge bought the rare bike over eBay two years ago and spent 10 days driving it down to Guatemala from West Virginia. “It’s great for those who are in Antigua and want to do something impulsive like a motorbike tour, but are perhaps a little afraid of driving themselves,” says Drudge, who has been riding motorbikes since he was 15 years old and has taught thousands of people in Guatemala how to do the same.

We set off from 6a calle oriente to Antigua’s indigenous surrounding villages, meandering along open roads against the backdrop of Volcán Agua, accompanied by a 1960s rock soundtrack. After about 15 minutes we reached Santa María de Jesús, nestled in the foothills of the volcano, and stopped off to explore village life and purchase some fruit in the local market. The next part of our journey took us out past children playing on sidewalks and women doing their laundry in the village’s central pila, and onto the cobbled streets of nearby San Juan del Obispo—where I tried (and failed) to knead discs of hot chocolate at a small family business. Our third dismount was in the colorful calles of San Pedro las Huertas, where we visited a church and an indoor market before heading back to Antigua through the dusty back streets of Guatemala’s famous cowboy-boot making village, Pastores.

The unique thing about CATours is that here you are the one in charge—driving yourself to destinations like Amatitlán, Lake Atitlán and Monte Rico, stopping off when you want and for how long you want. Without another tourist in view you can gain a rich insight into Guatemala “off the beaten track” on the back of a trike, a Yamaha 175 DT or a Honda 200 CTX.

Whether you are a novice requiring a couple of beginner lessons or an experienced professional, pop into CATours on 6a calle oriente, Antigua, to arrange your next adventure, or check online at The CATours’ team organizes half-day, full-day or even fortnight tours to destinations as far afield as Costa Rica and Panama. What better way to explore the region than with you at the handlebars?

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