Page 2 of We are the Foreigners Travel Blog Posts



After three long days of bus travel from Utila, we made it to Costa Rica. Initially, we thought we'd gloss over this beautiful country because it is more expensive than others in the region. However, we were lucky enough to have found a house sit for 2 1/2 weeks in Platanillo where we would look after a 5 month old puppy named Jack. We set this house sit up through a website called Trusted House Sitters which helps potential house sitters find accommodation in return for taking care of people's homes and (usually) animals while the homeowners are on holiday. Casey and Dan, the couple we were house sitting for, are a couple from the States who have been travelling for a few years and have settled down in Costa Rica with their rescue pup Jack. ... read more
Cost Rica Ridin'
What Did That Coconut Ever Do to You?


We finally had to leave Utopia and it only took 2 days to get to Utila by boat and shuttle. We were traveling with Jenny and Cindy who we met at Utopia. We had to stop overnight in Livingston on the way. It didn't seem like there was a lot to do in Livingston itself but the boat ride from Rio Dulce to Livingston was gorgeously green and lush. The second day of travel saw us taking a boat to Puerto Barrios at 6:30am to catch the shuttle to La Ceiba where we would take the ferry to Utila. That ferry was the rockiest boat we've ever been on so much so that Ashley now understands the true meaning of motion sickness. We didn't have a place to stay booked ahead of time but luckily for ... read more
A Couple of New Fish
Hawks Bill Turtle
Nurse Shark


Here's what we got ourselves into so far out in the middle of nowhere...The beautiful, quiet, friendly Utopia eco-hostel set on a cacao farm only 3km from caves we could go exploring and the greenish blue pools of cool water at Semuc Champey that we could swim in. Our first thought upon arrival was that we could stay here a very long time. In fact, we were only booked in for 3 nights originally but we booked in for a 4th straight away. We thought we'd stay in the dorm but the opportunity to sleep in hammocks presented itself and we couldn't pass it up. Being set on a cacao farm was the perfect excuse to go on a chocolate tour which started out on the farm with a look and taste of the raw cacao ... read more
In the Caves...
Death Defying Jump


From Antigua we decided to head up to Semuc Champey. We've heard it was beautiful and well worth the trip to the middle of nowhere. Since it was a long ride we planned to break it up with a stop at the Biotopo del Quetzal. We really wanted to use local transport instead of the tourist shuttles, but after talking with tourist info in Antigua we decided to take the shuttle for 125GTQ. It would have taken us all the way to Semuc Champey, but we still opted to hop out at the Biotopo and do a walk. We spent the 40GTQ each to go in at a nature reserve that had to have some hotel rooms in order to keep the land. Unfortunately they had no room for us, but we did have a room ... read more
The Drive


We got to Antigua knowing full well that we were getting there in time for Semana Santa, 'Holy Week' or the week of Easter. Being a very catholic part of the country it was a very important week and there were many things going on. We booked our hostel late and would have to leave Thursday, before all the big festivities since everyone (maybe their dog, and cats, and rats, and spiders too) would be coming to celebrate in the big city and there was no room in the inn. With little time in town we knew we should get a move on using the first day to orient ourselves. That night we had a chance to witness a procession, which is like a parade where the fraternity that is in charge of a certain saint ... read more
Museo/Hotel Santo Domingo
Antigua


We found food in San Pedro to be very reasonably priced. There are definitely a full range of prices to be had but we were very satisfied with the fare in the 30GTQ to 60GTQ price range, less for the street vendors. A couple of our favourite places were 'Idea Connections' (on the way to the Santiago dock) near our Spanish school where Ashley ate drool inducing pan au chocolates everyday during the school break, and 'd'Juice Girls' which made a huge variety of licuados, smoothies, and juices for on the cheap (and they were the size of a fishbowl). Friday nights we hit up Hostel Fe for quiz nights and for the week that we were in school we would partake in 'Conversation Club' at our school in the evenings for 45min. Spanish School was ... read more
Creepy Trees
One house
Our Spanish School


When we arrived in San Pedro we spent the first day relaxing and nursing our freshly blistered feet. We didn't have anything we needed to do, so we didn't. The second day we were excitedly waiting for Ryan who was making an impromptu trip to Guatemala for a visit. He'd been delayed and we didn't really have any way to contact him but we just wandered around town and found the Spanish school that we would be attending. All along the water front is very touristy: loads of restaurants, bars, and souvenir/textile shops. As we climbed the hill to the town centre you get a much more local vibe with the market and Catholic Church. Apparently the locals call the center of town 'San Pedro', while the water front and touristy area is referred to as ... read more


For some reason, we thought doing a 3 day hike from Xela to Lago Atitlan sounded like a great idea. The hike turned out to be amazing but that didn't stop us from wondering what the heck we were doing the night before it started. We went with a company called Quetzaltrekkers which is a non-profit organization. The guides are all volunteers and the money goes straight to providing basic needs and education for the street kids of Xela. We started our first day having a big breakfast prepared at the the QT office. Since we had slept in the 'hotel' that shares a door to the street we just had to wake up, take our gear downstairs, and eat. Our group was lead by guides, Matt, Joshi, and Ben and we left QT at 0730hrs ... read more
The Temescal
The So Called "Cornfield of Death"
We Made It!


While in Quetzaltenango (Xela) we weren't really sure what to do. It seemed like a good place to cross the border to, but we hadn't really done any research; and neither had anyone we traveled with. It was a city: big and busy. We wandered on our first day, as we often do, looking for interesting things: markets, Spanish schools, a hat for Dan. We had good luck on the first two, not so good on the last one. Upon recommendation from another traveler we looked into Celas Maya Spanish school and it seemed really good. Lots of activities in the afternoon to practice Spanish and get a better feel for Xela. They went on excursions to textile cooperatives, coffee plantations, the Fuentes Georginas (more below), and many other things you might not be able to ... read more


After San Cristobal we headed for our first border crossing in Central America. We'd heard some daunting things about going through the Guatemalan border and opted to take the shuttle service for MXN350 for door to door service. The shuttle picked us up at 0630hrs from the Iguana Hostel and drove around town picking up others for at least an hour before we got on the road. Stopping for breakfast at 0930hrs. We'd been reading a lot about the Mexican Tourism Tax and spent a lot of time trying to figure out if we'd paid it, and how to avoid paying it again. When we reached the Mexican immigration office one official came to our bus and told us that since it was busy in there (many shuttles were out front) to give all our papers ... read more




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