Published: March 23rd 2007March 23rd 2007
Church at Chichicastenango. Some brotherhoods are responsible for guarding effigies like that of San Simón.
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I had to cross the border and stay in Mexico for 3 days to get a visa renewal for Guatemala. It used to be that you could hop across any Nicaraguan/ Honduras/El Salvador or Guatemalan frontier when your 90 days were up but last year they amalgamated the visa so you can only spend 90 days total in the four countries.
Lot of people get caught and fined because they think they´re ok when they enter a new country.
When you enter Mexico by land you get a tourist card which states on it that you must pay $23 at a bank before you can leave. I went to the bank the day before I was leaving but the teller said it had to be before 2 pm so I went to the border, handed the form to the immigration fellow, he looked at it, looked at my passport, looked at me and waved me through. Talking to other people, some had to pay and others were waved through with no explanation. Loose that card and you´ll definitely have to pay.
The town of Panajachel used to be a hippy haven now it caters very much to tourists.
I just wanted to hurry back to a place which felt more comfortable.
It took 12 hours by various buses to reach Panajachel, Guatemala . The easy way is to catch a shuttle which is a minivan packed with foreigners for three times the price.
A couple of hours from Panajachel is the famous Sunday Chichi Market.
Matt, a friend from Xela, was there so we met up.
In Guatemala City I tried to change the date of my flight for the third time but they told me that although there was no charge to change the date, the ticket price had increased by $200. So now I was in a hurry to get back to San José, Costa Rica via El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua .
The Tica Bus goes through each country, actually from Mexico to Panama, without having to change buses but I had some places I wanted to stop and visit, besides I like the regular bus atmosphere. Nicaragua charges $7 to enter the country and $2 to leave. Guatemala charges $2 to enter. Often the other borders will try to charge you an arbritrary fee which goes into their pocket but I
La Lago Atitlan
Panajachel is a jumping off point to cross the lake and visit the small towns surrounding it.
found that if I asked for a receipt they looked puzzled then when I insisted they waved me through, often while rolling their eyes.
I went back to El Gran Hotel Imperial in San José, Costa Rica and then the next day I caught my flight to Ecuador, South America.
An approximate map of my travel in Central America can be seen by double clicking the ¨View Route Map¨in the upper left-hand corner.
There are more photos below