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  • Mountain Biking the Rural Back Roads: The back roads and dirt paths of rural Guatemala are perfect for fat tire explorations. Whether you choose to take a ridge ride between small villages or a more technically challenging ascent or descent of a volcano, there is something for all ability levels. Old Town Outfitters (tel. 502/5399-0440; www.adventureguatemala.com) is my favorite operator, and has excellent guides and equipment, and a wide range of tours and trips.
  • Climbing an Active Volcano: Guatemala's mountainous terrain is predominantly volcanic, and many of these volcanoes are still active. There's nothing as primal as climbing the flanks of an active volcano or peering down into an erupting crater. Both of these experiences are possible on a climb to the summit of Pacaya volcano. Many tours take you close enough to actually feel the heat of fresh lava. Once Pacaya's whetted your appetite, there are numerous other volcanoes here to scale, including Santa María, Tajumulco, Agua, and Acatenango.
  • Swinging through the Treetops on a Canopy Tour: Zip-trekking is becoming all the rage, and offers a different way to experience the rich wonders of the tropical rainforest. If you visit Tikal, don't miss the opportunity to take a trip with the Canopy Tour Tikal (tel. 502/7926-4270; www.canopytikal.com). Alternately, there's a new canopy tour at the Reserva Natural Atitlán (tel. 502/7762-2565. www.atitlanreserva.com).
  • Exploring the Underworld: Many of Guatemala's volcanic mountains are riddled with caves. The ancient Maya considered caves holy sites that served as passageways to the next world. The caves of Lanquin and Candelaria are popular tourist destinations, but my favorite cave adventure is a tour into the depths of Kan' Ba. This cave has a small river running through it, and the spelunking here is a mix of hiking, wading, and swimming. The entrance to the cave is a large opening where the river exits and forms a gentle jungle waterfall.
  • Rafting on the Cahabón River: The Alta Verapaz region is rapidly becoming the center of Guatemala's growing adventure-tourism industry, and the raging rapids of the Cahabón River are part of the reason. After it exits the natural marvel of Semuc Champey, the Cahabón has both class III and class IV sections that are perfect for white-water rafting. Single-day adventures and multiday tours are available. Contact Aventuras Turísticas (tel. 502/7951-4213; www.aventurasturisticas.com).
  • Landing a Marlin or Sailfish: Although a relative newcomer to the world of international offshore game fishing, Guatemala is creating quite a buzz. The waters off Guatemala's Pacific coast are excellent for sportfishing year-round, and big game fish are being hauled in at a record pace. If you want to reel 'em in, contact Parlama Sport Fishing (tel. 502/5704-4254 or 7832-2578; www.parlama.com), or one of the dedicated fishing lodges located around Iztapa.
  • Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.