Blogs from Lanquín, Verapaz Region, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean

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After nearly a week spent chilling out by the lake in El Remate and Steve fantasising about being in Star Wars, we headed off on a bus to the town of Lanquin. El Remate is a lovely, quiet little town on the road to the ruins at Tikal. We stayed in a very basic hostel next to the lake that had its own jetty to swim from and sunbathe on. The water was clear and warm so we spend a good couple of days doing nothing. Steve had some jungle to explore so he was happy. To get to Lanquin we booked a shuttle bus that was advertised as taking 8 hours but this was a bit optimistic. The shuttles in Guatemala pick you up from your hostel which means that it spends an hour driving ... read more
The lookout over Semuc Champey
Semuc Champey
The Quetzal bird


This morning, I ordered my first "tipico," the typical breakfast in Guatemala. It consists of eggs, refried black beans, queso fresco, tortillas, and plantains- so delicious! Then, we hung around reading in the hammocks. Later on, we explored the town. I found a woman selling homemade Mayan clothing and bought a beautiful teal top. Cultural Notes -They say you can tell what region a Mayan woman is from based on her top. Since it is hot and humid in Lanquin, the women wear thiner, lace tops (over another shirt); in the cooler city, the cloth is thicker and made with multicolored patterns.... read more


Goodbye, Flores- hello, winding, mountain roads. Today, we took a nine hour bus trip on a shuttle to our next destination. Although the ride was scenic, it was quite bumpy. We encountered numerous speed bumps, as there are many villages interspersed throughout the mountains. Women climb the steep roads on a cliff with their market goods, and children play nearby, so speedbumps were placed all along the route for the villagers safety. I am glad they are all safe, but it sure made for a crazy ride. Our shuttle stopped in Coban for lunch at McDonalds. Of all places, I'm sure he thought, Ï bet these Americans would love some McDonalds!" I wasn't too happy, but it ended up being a great cultural learning opportunity. Right when we walked in, I saw a crowd of people ... read more
View from the Road
Happy Meal


Since it's always a guess when I'll have a good internet connection down here and whether I'll actually be able to get a blog entry up, I've maintained a journal in which I've kept track of the trip and from that I plan to continue this blog online. That being said, the first line I wrote in my journal after arriving at our hostel in Lanquin may have been a little exaggerated, but was, “I'm pretty happy right now that I'm not dead, have not been robbed, nor assaulted in the last 24 hours.” The trip was my first experience of how variable Central American travel can be, and I have no doubt that there will be more like it and worse. Leaving San Pedro, we took an 8 am shuttle to Lanquin. In reality, our ... read more
Horror Dorm


David here... The bus journey to Coban was surprisingly comfortable with not too many people on board, with a stop on the way where we had a very nice chicken sandwich. We arrived in Coban early in the afternoon and checked out a few hotels before staying at the Posada de Don Pedro which had clean enough rooms, shared bathrooms but a nice garden area to sit in. It was here that I noticed that the bag I use daily had been slit while we were traveling either from Guatemala City or the previous day when the buses we were on were particularly busy. Fortunately as the bag had our pac-safe in it, the slit they had made was too small for anything to be pulled out, so we lost nothing. After a quick patch up ... read more
Lanquin View from our hotel
Lanquin - Dog and Shop
Lanquin scenery

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After two weeks on and around Lake Atitlan I was keen to continue my travels, I headed north into the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala which offers some of the finest examples of natural limestone features in the world, I have spent the past week either wallowing in tropical lagoons or exploring huge underground cave systems. Lanquìn and around A days travelling took me north to the small town of Lanquìn and were it not for the picture perfect Zephyr Lodge the place would hardly be worth a mention, perched atop a narrow ridge above a meandering river, the lodge is an idyllic backpacker retreat and affords amazing valley views from practically any hammock you chose to plonk yourself in. It was also an ideal jumping off spot for a day at Semuc Champey. I opted ... read more
Zephyr Lodge
K'Anba Caves
K'Anba Caves


Slept in a bit today. Finished up the pics. Ate a couple of tacos in flour tortillas, which was different & goodbye Flores, with lighter backpacks after our expensive & heavy package was sent (primarily due to the conch shell Geoff found in Mexico on the beach). Tuk tuk'd to Santa Ilena & got to the bus station. Again, herded by 3-5 guys surrounding out tuk tuk. Geoff said, "guys let us at least get out, give us a minute." They backed up about 1/2 inch so that was nice. We were herded into the oficina where we were told it would cost us 300 Quetzal to get to the city of Coban & that bus didn't leave for 2 hours & wouldn't get us to Lanquin which is where we'd like to end up tonight ... read more
Crossing the river to Sayaxche
The boat


So we arrived at Lanquin after an interesting journey through the mountains on a gravel road after the paving ran out and the humidity just got higher and higher...by time we reached our hostel (El Retiro) we were ready for a swim. We booked a room and headed for the river at the bottom of the hostel to cool down. The hostel was great - a complete change to what we had been used to - cobañas with thatched roofs on stilts with hammocks outside - jungle around and a fast flowing river at the bottom - it was bliss! 10 mins after getting in the water we were asked if we fancied some tubing down the river...of course we did...it was exactly what was required! We jumped in the back of a truck with our ... read more


Keep on moving In Quetzaltenango I met a guy from Switzerland and we walked around the city the same afternoon. One of the most interesting places was the marked. With so many stalls with food, shoes and clothes. In the evening we met two English girls and we went to an Indian restaurant. I was surprised there even was one. The food was delicious and it was fun to talk about travelling. The next day I went by bus to Huehuetenango. Every time on the bus it is so much fun to look around what’s happening and look at the beautiful landscape passing by. Besides that it feels good to travel and to be on the move, not staying a minute to long at the same place. Being joyful in a rotten place When I arrived ... read more
Inside the caves of Lanquin
Jumping of the bridge or not?
Semuc Champey


Nachdem wir uns nach langer Zeit von Antigua loesen konnten. Ist unsere Reise nach Lanquin weiter gegangen. Hier sind wir wieder in einem kleine Paradies gelandet. Gestern haben wir einen Ausflug nach Semuc Champey gemacht und dort eine Hoehle besichtigt. (fast) nur mit Kerzenlicht ausgeruestet sind wir gewatet, geklettert, gesprungen und haben die unglaubliche Hoehle erforscht. Am Nachmittag haben wir dann einen wunderschoenen Aussichtspunkt erklommen und uns danach das entspannende baden verdient. Morgen geht es voraussichtlich schon nach Rio dulce weiter. Fotos muessen noch etwas warten, werden dann aber um so toller...jippie... Die Schweinegrippe hat es noch nicht bis nach Guatemala geschafft....die (teils fraglichen) Informationen allerdings schon. Klar ist auf jeden Fall, dass ich meinen uebrigen Mexicanischen Pesos, welche ich gerne mit anderen Travellern getauscht haette, jetzt ... read more
Semuc Champey
Livia
Nina




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