Blogs from Western Highlands, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean - page 4


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

As nice as the lake is we still decided that we were getting too settled in our Atitlan ways and felt the need to re-experience life at sea level. We hired Lee, our host, to run us over to the Pacific coast for a two night road trip. Lee is a certified guide and has lived here for the past nine years with his wife, Elaine. We boated over to Pana where Lee keeps his ride, filled the tank for $3 a gallon and vibrated westward over pot-hole riddled roads. We stopped just above the lake near San Lucas Atitlan to catch the spectacular view of the volcanoes and lake-shore. An old man, sitting on a shady bench, told us some local facts in exchange for a few coins. Two dogs dozed under a bush. It ... read more
Takalik Resort
Riding To Takalik
Our Guide Bernardo With KJ and Lee At Takalik

Our little bus twists and turns through the hills of Los Altos for a couple of hours. The drive is interesting but not spectacular. But then Lake Atitlan appears below us, blue and sparkling with a backdrop of cone-shaped volcanoes. Beautiful. The road drops steeply down to Panajachel, the large village on the lake shore where we are to stay. From the shore the scene is just as impressive, the cone of Volcano San Pedro standing across the lake, wreathed in cloud in an otherwise cloudless sky. The sun sets, obligingly, over the lake. Spectacular. As we watch it fade away, we order our first fajitas of the trip. It is a great way to end the day. We spend the next day on the lake, visiting four of the villages that dot its shore. Some ... read more
Traditional dress
San Pedro volcano

11/01/15 Via Antigua naar San pedro La Laguna- Lago Atitlan. Ondertussen zijn we 30 januari, een dikke 3 weken geleden dat ik nog een update gedaan heb van mijn blog en eigenlijk simpelweg niets geschreven in de laatste 3 weken. Reden? 3 weken intensieve Spaanse les = geen energie, of misschien eerder te veel energie om terug aan een bureau te gaan zitten in de namiddag of avond! Man, ben ik blij dat ik niet meer hele dagen op de schoolbanken moet zitten. De eerste week nam ik les in San Pedro in een klein schooltje " Flor del Maiz", bloem van mais.. de rode draad wat het leven betreft voor de vele Maya dorpen, tortillas..maismaismais... Rondom de steden en dorpen heb je enorme maisvelden en koffieplantages.. overal eigenlijk in Guatemala. Fantastisch sfeertje, een zes tal ... read more
"Indian Nose
..Indian Nose

When the eight Indian women and their chicken got on the boat in San Marcos the water was already within a foot of the gunwales. We hugged the coast barging south through the chop towards San Pedro. The women, sitting in a huddle in the bow, laughed non-stop. Their mouths opened wide with every chicken punchline they tossed out. Their teeth were rimmed in 24 Karat gold like little tabernacle doors. The white hen rested calmly in a blue plastic milk crate pondering its future. We're on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. We stuck Atitlan at the end of our trip when we decided to fore-go Patagonia until next year if we can last that long. We had long thought about Guatemala but I guess we put it off because it wasn't a 12-hour flight away. It's ... read more
Lake Atitlan
Our First Ride In
Toliman and San Pedro Volcanoes

I traveled to Guatemala with my 6 month old, Matthew, and my parents for my friend's wedding. Andrew was supposed to come, but ended up in the ER sick with strep throat among other things the day before the trip. Lex and John had rented the hotel Panza Verde, which is a small but amazingly beautiful hotel in Antigua. The rooms were incredible, and I'm gradually starting to come over to the dark side and prefer places like this as opposed to hostels. I'm also in my 30's with a baby, too, so as much as I don't want to admit it, maybe my life is changing a bit. Anyway, Matthew has a passport, and we will see the world, even with a baby. After checking in, we wandered around town, took a quick trip through ... read more

We took a shuttle from San Cristobal back to Guatemala stopping at Panajachel on the shores of Lake Atitlan. We had organised a bike tour online prior to arriving as we thought this would be a good way to see some of the different communities around the lake. By the time we arrived we had not received a confirmation of the time or meeting place even though we had paid a deposit. They had asked where we were staying we thought they must be picking us up, but in the morning when no one arrived we phoned the office to be told we were supposed to be there half an hour ago. We took a tuk tuk to the shop as quickly as we could and were given bikes before heading off to catch a chicken ... read more
Chichicastenango market
Atitlan Nature Reserve
Lake Atitlan

Geo: 14.6367, -90.5383Good to be home.I am so thankful that Jim lefthis computer here in Guatemala, which led me to hand deliver the computer toUruguay, which led me to fly back to the US, and finally get to meet littleLucy and spend 4 nights/3 days in Indiana.I had a great time playing with the kids.... read more

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