Blogs from Guatemala, Central America Caribbean

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Antigua Guatemala is the place where every visitor heads for at some stage on their trip to Guatemala. For this reason we were a bit wary of going there, but we booked anurl=https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/24201941?check_in=2024-01-24&check_out=2024-01-27&guests=1&adults=2&s=25&unique_share_id=79981e93-c9f9-4f8a-80d1-2a426ac31bad&fbclid=IwAR29QlJ65CEDwvowbOgI0vn4rCx63OlfNN4aWjYMAFH2QEUpeS4OxQ0Iugw&source_impression_id=p3_1707578583_rYLOQunsRpHUNH3C Air B&B so we were away from most of the action which suited us. Luckily we were located just a block away from where the bus dropped us off, and right opposite the office where my sunglasses would just arrive in the nick of time!! We enjoyed our time just wandering the picturesque cobbled streets. For us there was no need for excursions to climb a volcano or anything... read more
Antigua Guatemala
Fuego
Antigua Guatemala


In Quetzaltenango (thankfully also called Xela) we found a little piece of heaven. The url=https://www.booking.com/hotel/gt/mucha-arte-hostal.en-gb.html?aid=1769628&sid=ef6f4c27fb07edaed3e690c1da73a6ed&dest_id=4663539;dest_type=hotel;dist=0;group_adults=2;group_children=0;hapos=1;hpos=1;no_rooms=1;req_adults=2;req_children=0;room1=A%2CA;sb_price_type=total;sr_order=popularity;srepoch=1707319144;srpvid=a7946bb00e440187;type=total;ucfs=1&#hotelTmplHotel Muchá was set in an old colonial courtyarded house and it was just stunning. We could easily have stayed for a lot longer than the three nights we did! It was really cheap, for what it was, and breakfast was excellent too. The staff were super friendly (but the receptionist needs to learn to smile!) and when my sunglasses arrived after we had left,they posted them... read more
Demonstration of creating beautiful textiles
Mayan relic
The main church in San Andres Xecul


We were happy with our choice of taking an Uber from Guatemala City to Panajachel on Lake Atitlán. It was pretty speedy - a little too speedy at times - and got us to our hotel at check-in time with military precision! The url=https://www.booking.com/hotel/gt/posada-gutierrez.en-gb.html?aid=1769628&sid=ef6f4c27fb07edaed3e690c1da73a6edHotel Posada Gutierrez was a short walk out of town which we preferred as we had read that the bars could get quite lively. It was a bit expensive for what it was but we were generally satisfied with the place. Breakfast was good and there was always access to filtered water for our bottles. Walking down Calle Santander can be a bit hectic. That's where the loud bars are, and believe me they are loud! There are also some great restaurants there, offering pretty good value for decent quality meals. The street ... read more
Incredible sunset
Great murals
They had a graffiti paint shop!


We decided to return to Central America this year and travelled with Iberia from Alicante (via Madrid) to Guatemala City. We didn't really know what to expect so we booked a little comfort to start the trip with three nights in the Barceló Hotel. Although it's only a couple of kilometres from the airport, we arrived at rush hour and even in an Uber (booked thanks to the patchy WiFi at the airport) the journey took half an hour or so. The traffic was quite something and I'm not sure we had really anticipated being in a cab and drinking in the city's fumes so soon after our arrival. The hotel was nice but a bit off the backpacker scene that would probably provide most of the rest of our accommodation. Breakfast was, as you would ... read more
Plaza España
14 Grados Micro-brewery
Touristy Market


While I was in the capital, my friend Carolyn was in Tikal, and then we continued our journey together to Antigua. This is a lovely old town, Unesco World Heritage site, and for a reason. There are so many beautiful buildings from 16th to 19th century with distinct architectural features, which our tour guide explained in detail (highly recommend Nelson from Guruwalk!). It used to be the capital, but after a major earthquake in 1773, the capital was moved to today's site. And when you look around, you'll see at least 3 volcanoes, one of which was very active, with smoke blowing up every day (but far enough from the city). We spent three days enjoying many, many lovely cafes, restaurants, various museums, including Museo de Cacao (ok, it's touristy, but it was a fun hour ... read more
Cathedral
Palace
Plaza Mayor


Road to Panajachel is not for the faint of heart, or those suffering from motion sickness. After surviving 3 hours of winding roads in a mini-bus, the gorgeous lake Atitlan presented itself. Panajachel (or Pana - tourists' way to pronounce it) is a pit-stop for everyone traveling to other villages around the lake. It is a touristy stop-over with a few streets and lakeshore lined up with restaurants and market stalls selling anything that, even remotely, tourists can think is "made in Guatemala", though much is not. Nevertheless, we had a nice (Regis) hotel with stone hot tubs in a lush garden, which, along with a relaxing massage, rejuvenated us completely. One thing stood out and that was our dinner at an Uruguayan restaurant, Guajimbo - I highly recommend it: delicious churrasco stake, good wine, and ... read more
Lake Atitlan from boat
From the boat
From the boat


What a lovely village! It's the only place where they won't sell land to outsiders, which makes it very authentic. It's an artsy place, which you notice as soon as you're off the boat, walking uphill on a narrow street with colourful stuff hanging above you. There are many murals, art galleries and art stores, and local handmade products such as traditional medicines, cosmetics, clothing, chocolates, etc. We visited a women's weaving co-op (Asociacion De Mujeres En Colores Botanico)where local women use old-style backstrap weaving techniques and natural colours to make traditional huipils (shirts) and other clothing, tablecloths, pillowcases (got one!), hair ribbon band (Carolyn got one!), and more. Then we had a nice (big) lunch at Alma De Colores, which is a project (including restaurant) that supports and hires people with disabilities. And finally, we ... read more
Umbrella street
Marimba
Coffee shop


Ah San Marcos! The adventure continued with the boat, and our suitcases on top it, and us fearing they would end up in the deepest lake in South America. They didn't, but we were all quite wet from the lake and rain when we arrived in San Marcos. Little did we know that worse is yet to come. Our accommodation was wonderfully authentic and unique. Our host Terry is an amazing woman. Her first question was whether we were there for the festival, a week-long event when all the locals descend on this village to celebrate, eat, drink, and be merry with lots of pyrotechnics. Which is when we realized the cause of very loud marimba music. But even louder was the sound of fireworks ricocheting against the mountain doubling the volume. But that's not all, ... read more
Our room
Open kitchen
Drying clothes


Ten days in Guatemala is just enough to get a glimpse into the history, culture, people, and customs of this beautiful country. First few days of the trip I spent alone in Guatemala City, which I really enjoyed. It's a very large and growing city with wide boulevards, bustling markets, and some amazing historic buildings. I took a city tour, which gave me a great overview and a chance to ask many questions, try some delicious food that the guide recommended (otherwise I wouldn't have known), take 360-pictures from top of a downtown building with a great restaurant, and see a parade (it was a week after Easter). Later on, I walked around zone 10 and found a very nice area with lots of restaurants and a great book store, where I got to buy a ... read more
Piece of Berlin wall
Iglesia Yurrita
Government buildings


It's been 7 weeks already? The first week was so new and time crept along. As we acclimated ourselves to the area, created new routines, time sped up and it's already time to return to the US. How did we end up in Guatemala for Spanish Immersion classes? While I was camping in Massachusetts, I met a lovely couple from Eastern Canada. They were planning a trip to Antigua for Spanish Immersion School. I was filled with questions for them. Once they fed my curiosity, I called Don who was midway of his biking trip and asked if he was interested. I received a HUGE yes! Within a couple days the tickets were bought and we were enrolled for school. I hope that sharing our travel experience will entice someone else to jump out there and ... read more
Central Park
Central Park
Convento la Recoleccion




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