Mexico and Panajachel


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Published: March 23rd 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY

Total Distance: 0 miles / 0 kmMouse: 0,0

Central America

I flew into San José, Costa Rica then headed to Managua, Nicaragua. From there I passed through Honduras to Guatemala where I reached Xela for a stay. A brief trip to San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico for a ''visa run'' then back to San José via El Salvador

BrotherhoodBrotherhoodBrotherhood

Church at Chichicastenango. Some brotherhoods are responsible for guarding effigies like that of San Simón.
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Goodbye Xela





Double-click any photo for a larger version.

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.

From Mexico,
Panajachel, GuatemalaPanajachel, GuatemalaPanajachel, Guatemala

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 AtitlanLa Lago AtitlanLa 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.


Additional photos below
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MexicoMexico
Mexico

San Cristóbal de las Casas is Disneyland clean and popular with tourists.
Guasaule-Somotillo  Border CrossingGuasaule-Somotillo  Border Crossing
Guasaule-Somotillo Border Crossing

Waiting for a bus after walking across the Honduras-Nicaraguan border.
MayanMayan
Mayan

Most indigenous males wear T-shirts, etc but some men still wear traditional dress
Chichicastenango MarketChichicastenango Market
Chichicastenango Market

Even the banks are open on Sunday's market day.
Chichi Market DayChichi Market Day
Chichi Market Day

The market day is Sunday and the locals are either in church or selling something.
El Gran Hotel ImperialEl Gran Hotel Imperial
El Gran Hotel Imperial

You can always tell a classy hotel by the signs in the lobby. I especially like ¨No Whistling
Neurotics R UsNeurotics R Us
Neurotics R Us

Look for a chapter of Neurotics Anonymous coming to your town. Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 pm. Please use the back door.
Grave YardGrave Yard
Grave Yard

All cities have colourful grave yards. Lots of mausoleums in the richer sections.


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