The best way to see and experience the various attractions and activities around Cobán is by organized tour. While it's possible to do so via public transportation or in your own vehicle, this can be a tricky way to go for many visitors, as it's confusing, and the route is not well marked. It's much easier and hassle-free to go on a tour. Most of the tours are small-scale operations that are reasonably priced. The guides know the area, and many of the organized tours combine two or more attractions or activities into a single day, which would be fairly impossible to do via public transportation. The best local tour operator is Aventuras Turísticas (tel. 502/7951-4213; www.aventurasturisticas.com). These folks offer a wide range of tour options from half-day city tours and white-water rafting to bird-watching and guided visits to all of the attractions listed in this chapter. Rafting trips on the Cahabón River -- which has class III and class IV rapids -- are available out of Cobán for 1 or more days. In addition, they can arrange multiday trips to some farther-flung regions, including the Petén and Caribbean coast. Most day tours cost Q225 to Q375 ($30-$50/£15-£25) per person per day, and include lunch, transportation, and entrance fees. Prices may vary according to group size. The tour desk at the Casa D'Acuña (tel. 502/7951-0482) is also very good, and can organize just about any tour or adventure in the region.
In addition to the tour operators mentioned above, Proyecto Ecológico Quetzal (tel. 502/7952-1047; www.ecoquetzal.org) is a nonprofit, non-governmental initiative working to promote ecologically, socially, and culturally sensitive tourism in the Alta Verapaz region. They offer a number of different multiday tour options that will get you close to the people and ecosystems of this rich region. These are also the best folks to contact if you want to spot a resplendent quetzal in the wild.
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.