Blogs from El Remate, Petén Region, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean

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Dear All Saludos! Greetings from air-conditioned luxury! Post-Hurricane Earl, I survived – lol! Well, there was no kind of doubt that I wouldn’t survive it, but it was an experience of a lifetime, definitely something to tick off my travel list, and deep down, I must admit, I was actually kind of hoping there’d be a hurricane while I was here (it is currently hurricane season in the Caribbean), just to see what one is like. Definitely an experience, and I will relate here, as well as why I’m so pleased to be enjoying air-conditioned luxury right now. So last off, I believe I wrote from deep in the depths of the Guatemalan jungle, down the Rio Dulce, towards the Caribbean coast around Livingston – there was no WiFi connection for my last night in the ... read more
Templo I
Humming Bird
Me, View from Templo IV


We are now in Guatemala, where we have been for almost a week. We’re staying in a shack overlooking a huge lake in the town of El Remate. It’s quite basic, Wifi is limited to non-existent, in fact we had no power at all on our first day, but the truth is it’s actually quite nice to get back to basics. Yesterday we visited the ruins of Tikal. According to the Guatemalans Tikal was first inhabited by the Mayans in 900 BC. I’m pretty sure it was inhabited long before this but I don’t want to argue, some of these people carry guns. Between me and you though, and I could be wrong (though I rarely am about these things) I’m pretty sure Tikal was once a rebel base used during the intergalactic war with the ... read more
Templo IV from the rainforest
Naughty Coati´s
Templo V


So after a mini bus back to Guatemala city, dropped in the eveing at a strange bus stop we boarded a coach to Flores. The bus wasnt as nice as the Mexico buses but it was ok. The bus left at 10pm and arrived in Flores at 6am. The journey was pretty uneventfull, except for a check stop at 4am to confiscate any fruit on board the bus? Very strangem as we didnt cross any borders. We arrived in Flores tired and were met by are taxi to take us to the small jungle town of El Remate. We had booked into a jungle lodge called Posada del Cerro. The place was pretty cool. A jungle hut with 3 walls the back was open to the jungle with a balcony on it. Fun by day but ... read more
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Geo: 17, -89.7No, it's not just an over-priced version of The Gap, it's actually a political science term! Do any search of it on the internet and once you filter through all the clothing ads, you'll find the origin of the derogatory term that's now somehow become a status symbol in the modern world of retail. There is much history behind the true meaning of the term, and Guatemala is considered one of the prime examples of a Banana Republic, a nation whose destiny was warped and distorted to benefit greedy imperialists. The idea seems ludicrous - how could a fruit company exporting Guatemalan bananas hold such power over a supposedly sovereign nation, manipulating not only Guatemala's economy, but also its government? As absurd as it may seem, the United Fruit Company did just that, boosting ... read more
Spider Monkeys ...
Tikal's Cute Coatimundis
Enjoying the Sunset


Yaxha Park today – (sounds like, ja shou). As many of you know, Clay studied the Maya in his undergraduate. He saw for the first time, today, Mayan ruins which have been unearthed. What a wonderful and fulfilling thing. Even I (Ann) have to admit that although ruins are not my thing, they are pretty cool. But let us start where all good stories must, at the beginning. This morning, we were to be picked up at our hotel at 8:30 a.m. so we made sure to get up and have breakfast and be at the appointed pick location. That location was actually way down a hill from the hotel and on the shore of a very stunningly beautiful lake. (See photos) At about 9:30, we determined that 8:30 was just a suggestion. (Remember, we are ... read more
Clay at the "front" of our hotel.
Creepy little red bug party!
Map of Yaxha.


Sorry we are a little behind... internet connections are taken for granted in the United States. Boy do we miss our 50mbps download speed!!! We will trying and make up the days today or tomorrow! We had a nice leisurely breakfast at the Casa Durante. It was a sort of black bean soup with tortillas and chicken in it. (Sounds like a great breakfast, no?) We were supposed to be picked up at 10a.m., but as usual, it was about 20 minutes later. (However, that is still relatively early for Guatemalan time.) There were other travelers on the bus already but we stopped to pick up more. In the end, there was a Spanish Couple, an Asian couple, new friends Pankaj and Laura, and two girls from Britain. Our first stop was a McDonald’s where the ... read more
Hummingbirds
One-way bridge for our bus
Ambulance.  :-<


Well, we are certainly making headway through the countries now, and have arrived in Guatemala. We got here again via Maya walk, Belize, who took us as far as the border, and then introduced us to the guys from Maya walk Guatemala, who took us from the boarder to the ruins of Tikal. Tikal was another huge Mayan city that is amazingly preserved, and is one of the most renowned sites in Central America. We had a guide with us from Maya Walk, who was again really helpful, and informative, and gave us plenty of facts and information about the ruins, which we couldn’t have got from our guide book. About 20 mins into our tour however, my trusty Havaianas Flip flops decided the climbing of ruins was too much strain for them, and inconveniently snapped ... read more
View of the canopy, and a couple of the temples from Temple 4
El Remate
Sunset, El Remate


Opposed to staying on the island of Flores I got off the bus, that had taken me on the mainly asphalt road from the Belizean border, at El Cruce where I shared a minivan with 2 Australian ladies to take us the last few kilometers to the town of El Remate. I was very lucky with my room at the Sunbreeze hotel where I was given the last available room at the back with lake views for just Q80. This lake, Lago Péten Itza is the second largest lake in Guatemala and very rich in wildlife. (such as crocodiles!) After dumping my bag and talking to the friendly owner Umberto I headed to the lake for a swim. Although the water is beautiful, christal clear water, the bodem of the lake is mostly grey clay, so ... read more
Proof I was there
Spider monkey @ Tikal
Lago péten Itza


8th of February already and this was the end of the Belize adventure. That morning, I was packing my bag and going to Guatemala – the country I was looking forward to the most out of the whole trip. Still on a high from the previous day's experience and following the Lonely Planet's advice (start early) I left at about 8am. I knew I had to get the bus to the border town of Benque, about 12km away from San Ignacio. From there it was 3km to the border (Bz$10 in a taxi). After that, I had to cross on foot and get a bus or colectivo on the Guatemalean side to carry on the journey to El Remate, a village about 20 miles from Tikal. The wait for the bus wasn't too long – maybe ... read more
El Remate
El Remate
El Remate


A Little Bit About Tikal The site on which the ancient city of Tikal stands was first settled by the Maya around 700 BC, and over the next 1600 years it grew to become the most dominant city in the Mayan world. At its peak it covered over 30 sq km and had a population of what is now estimated as 100,000 people. It started to collapse, along with most other lowland Maya civilisations around 900 AD. It was then 'rediscovered' in the 19th century and slowly excavated in stages, however there are still many many buildings here that have not been reclaimed from the jungle. At various times it was ruled by such colourfully named rulers as King Great Jaguar Paw, Lord Water, Moon Double Comb and Lord Chocolate (these are of course the names ... read more
The view from Temple 4
Temple 1 again
Some of the creatures we saw




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