The opportunities for hikes around Nebaj are virtually limitless. Two of the nicest hikes are to the villages of Acul  and Cocop. One of the easiest hikes is along green pastures and meadows to some nearby waterfalls known as Las Cataratas, about 20 meters (60 feet) high.
There are also several sites that are sacred to the Mayans where you might witness ceremonies, though their locations are not well known and it’s best to go with a guide.
There are several multiday hikes offered by a number of outfitters that afford you the opportunity to really get off the beaten path. These include a fantastic three-day hike over the Cuchumatanes mountain range to the village of Todos Santos Cuchumatán , hikes across highland plateaus dotted with meadows and lagoons, and two- or three-day treks to the remote villages of Xeo and San Juan Cotzal .
Another nearby attraction of sorts is an old military landing strip still pockmarked with bomb holes that was a settlement for displaced war victims. Found four kilometers west of town, it’s also known by its Ixil name Ak’txumb’al, meaning “New Mentality,” certainly as a way of adding insult to injury by its military creators.
Because of the remoteness of most of the locales mentioned here, as well as the chance to contribute directly to the well-being of local inhabitants, guides are strongly recommended. Among the local outfitters is Guías Ixiles (3a Calle Zona 1, tel. 5311-9100, www.nebaj.com/ixilguides.htm ), housed inside El Descanso, which offers hikes to all of the above-mentioned locales. A share of the proceeds goes to finance community projects.
Next door, Pablo’s Tours (tel. 5416-8674) offers hikes to nearby waterfalls, a river cave near a magnificently pristine blue river, horseback riding ($5 per hour), and multiday hiking from Nebaj to Todos Santos.
Quetzaltenango-based Quetzaltrekkers (Diagonal 12 8-37 Zona 1, inside Casa Argentinas, Quetzaltenango, tel. 7765-5895, www.quetzaltrekkers.com ) is another recommended outfitter for the Nebaj–Todos Santos trek, with proceeds being donated to fund projects benefiting Quetzaltenango’s street children. The six-day trip ($150) leaves from Quetzaltenango, though it might be possible to meet up with a group if you already happen to be in Nebaj. Trips leave every other Wednesday.
If you prefer to hike without a guide, pick up a copy of the very useful Trekking en la Región Ixil guide ($2) from Guías Ixiles.