The Indian Nose (or Nariz del Indio) is a hike to a viewpoint overlooking Lake Atitlan, commonly ascended for fantastic sunrises and views of nearby volcano’s. This guide will help you work out the details for you or your group.
All tour agencies seem to offer this tour, especially in San Pedro which is a great point to do the tour from (being in better proximity to the start of the hike in comparison to other towns such as Panajachel). And whilst the hike can be done by yourself, the start can be hard to find, especially at 4:30am in the morning when you want to find the summit for sunrise.
The tour in San Pedro should cost no more than 100GTQ (we were quoted this at many places). You will have an early start at around 3:30am, in order to take a shuttle or a bus up to the start point and be at the viewpoint in time to see the sun come up.
Meeting at 3:30, you will be led either to a shuttle bus, or in our case the chicken bus which leaves San Pedro at the ungodly hour of 4am! Packed in with locals heading to Xela and to work, we wound our way up into the hills, passing through the town of San Pablo up towards Santa Clara.
Eventually you are dropped off on the side of the road, and your guide begins to lead you up through farmland on the side of hills. We hiked up for around 25-30 minutes, taking in smaller viewpoints along the way that our guide pointed out. Once reaching the top, we found around 20 people eagerly awaiting the suns arrival, sitting around a small fire.
We were next supplied with cups of coffee and traditional sweet bread as a small breakfast snack, and to keep warm in the dark. As we arrived at around 5:45, we had to wait until almost 6:30 for the sun to peak its head above the distant volcano’s and hills. In the meantime, we were witness to Volcan Acatenango smoking away, with short bursts of red lava also visible on the horizon.
The sun eventually came, providing one of the most beautiful sunrises (or sunsets) we had ever seen (and we’ve seen a few in our time!). Having a clear day definitely made the sight even better, and well worth the money spent to go up.
Completing our coffee and snacks, we then made our way back down to the start of the hike and jumped onto a colectivo that took us back to San Pedro. All in all it was a fantastic start to the day and something that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. We highly recommend it!
What You Need:
– Warm clothes- it is cold up there whilst you wait for the sun to come up, and you only hike for a short time (so that won’t keep you warm for long)
– Hiking shoes- yes it’s a short hike but these are still necessary
– Camera- many people used GoPro’s to do a time lapse, but bring what you have and get some great shots!
– Water- 1 litre should be sufficient for the short trip
– Head torch- comes in very handy in the dark
– 100GTQ- to pre-pay for the tour the day before you go
– A small tip- for your guide
To Do Indian Nose Without a Tour:
Like we’ve said, it would be difficult to know where to hike without the tour guide around (especially in the dark). However, if you can follow another tour group, you could easily do this tour for only the price of transport.
Catch the 4am chicken bus (heading to Xela) from the top of the market in San Pedro. Once you have gotten to the top of the hills and are heading towards Santa Clara, wait until the other gringos on the bus get off, and then follow them.
An app such as maps.me should also be able to help in providing directions. For example, the screenshot below shows the hike and viewpoint on the map.