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Published: January 28th 2010
Santo Domingo Church
Notice the tent covering the ruins of the church. This church is hundreds of years old.
Greetings to all. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I am back on the boat now after spending 4 weeks in the U.S. during the holidays. I visited family and spent a few weeks working at the same clinics that I worked with during the summer.
We left Cartagena, Colombia in November and sailed about 860 miles to Roatan, Honduras. With good weather we could have made it in 6 days but we had contrary winds the 2nd half of the trip so it took us 8 days. Roatan in the Bay Islands is a scuba diving haven and normally has a thriving tourist business. Their tourism was down a bit while we were there due to the global economy plus the added burden of the political situation in Honduras. The tour operators told us that many people canceled their trips after the democratically elected president of Honduras was ousted by the military in mid 2009. They had another presidential election just before we left, so hopefully things will get back to normal and the tourists will flock to Roatan again.
On December 1st we entered the Rio Dulce (Sweet River) of Guatemala. We spent the first
Santo Domingo Convent & Monastery
The ruins have been converted into a hotel resort.
few nights anchored in Texan's Bay about 10 miles upriver, but eventually settled 20 miles upriver in the Marina District near the town of Fronteras. There is a large boating community here with a very active social life among the cruisers. I enjoyed 2 weeks in this area of paradise before going home to the U.S. for the holidays.
When I returned to Guatemala, Jimmy and I spent a week traveling inland in an area known as the Highlands. We stayed at a resort in Antigua, Guatemala, a picturesque town surrounded by three volcanoes. Antigua is a very popular place to learn Spanish with over 75 language schools in the area. It used to be the capital of Guatemala but the capital was moved to Guatemala City because of the frequency of earthquakes in Antigua. In fact we felt the earth tremble one morning while we were eating breakfast in a courtyard. It lasted maybe 15-20 seconds I suppose. We later found out that an earthquake had occurred and was centered approximately 105 km from Antigua.
One of the highlights was our trip up the Volcano Pacaya. This is an active volcano that is constantly flowing hot lava.
The busy square often has entertainers and vendors selling ice cream, etc.
We rode most of the way up on horseback (4 km) but traveled the last steep section on foot.
We also enjoyed a day trip to Chichicastenango where there is a very large indigenous market on Thursdays and Sundays. The Highlands are heavily populated by the indigenous Mayans. On our last day we went to Panajachel, a touristy town on the shores of Lake Atitlan.
We are back on the boat now and just got the boat back in the water earlier this week. Jimmy had the boat hauled out of the water while I was in the U.S. to have the bottom painted and a multitude of other maintenance tasks completed. We hope to head north to Belize early next week.
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