Blogs from Guatemala, Central America Caribbean - page 5


Up at 05:40 again, coffee, breakfast and off to the airport to fly to Guatemala City, then continue by van to Lake Atitlan. Airport was entertaining; they have a single lady physically checking bags before you even enter the airport, and she opens it up, feels around in 2 or 3 places and then hands it back to you. Funny as really, it’s so not useful for catching anything, but hey, easier then dealing with American airports! Then we checked in, wandered through security (with water and a fresh delicious coffee!) and waited for our flight. Random Thought of the day: Guatemalans do love their deep fried chicken! Every where you go there are shops, stands, street vendors (literally) in tiny villages selling deep fried breaded chicken. Sure there are not a shortage of chickens here ... read more
Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlan
SLR Image

I woke up early; but amazingly fell back asleep until almost 7 - which for me is no feat short of a miracle:-) Quick shower - I was packing up when I heard a rather shocking loud yelp from the bathroom and was torn between worrying and giggling! Turns out the hot water disappears very quickly (read: off instantly) and Larry got a very, very cold blast of water. Oops. So he warned me and I got in, rinsed myself down, turned the water off, soaped up, turned water back on, rinse, repeat! Kind of quirkiy doing it that way, but wasn’t the first, and won’t be my last for dealing with emotional showers. Ice cold blasts, even in the jungle are never fun! After breakfast we started our boat ride along the Rio Dulce in ... read more
Egret - but I could be making that up!
In motion, not bad for an iphone!
Castillo de San Felipe de Lara

Our Arrival The bus from Guatemala City dropped us at the bus station near the market. The town is a few minutes walk past the market stalls. Where We Stayed Hotel Posada Refugio II - Down a small street opposite the Terrace hostel on 3a Calle Poniente between Calzada Santa Lucia and 7a Avenue Norte. Q100 for a double room with private bathroom and hot showers. Kitchen available on the roof terrace. No internet but we picked up free wifi the whole time we were there. Try and get a room upstairs. Posado Vero - Down the other small street on Calle Poniente. Q80 for a room with shared bathroom. Really strong internet and a bit of a roof terrace with laundry sink. What We Did Walked around town looking at the many churches and ruins. ... read more

This is how we went from Santa Ana El Salvador to Antigua Guatemala on chicken buses for about $6.50. 1. Catch the 210 bus to Ahuachapan from the bus station in the market. We got on it at 6:45am as it was making its way through the market. It took until 7:00am to get out of the town. It cost 50 cents and arrived in Ahuachapan at 8am. 2. Catch a minibus to Las Chinamas border. The bus from Santa Ana drops you on the side of a road on the edge of town. Walk towards the main road in front of you. On the right are signs to the centre of town. Follow the signs and go right down a hill towards a 'Bomba' sign. There was a minibus 11a parked on the side of ... read more

Up on time, thanks to the morning birds at 05:00 - I personally would have been happy throwing a solid object at them, as *I* didn’t find them cute; but welcome to Central America! Had breakfast in broken Spanish and was told in fluent Spanish (yikes!) that our tour guide to Pacaya Volcano had phoned and was on his way. What I thought was Guatemalan time, he arrived at 08:30. Turns out that he thought we were meeting him at the office and I thought at the hotel. Bless him for not ignoring us and phoning the hotel! An hour and a half drive on a shockingly nice highway, until the last 5-10 km, then it was dirt road, embedded rocks and about 15-25kph going. the kind that makes you want to cry after an hour. ... read more
Pacaya Volcano Hike

Part 2 - after all it's a long journey with a lovely 6 hour layover in my fav airport:-) Back to the airport albeit briefly; still in Edmonton and I had purchased a new TSA lock as mine had died that morning. What I didn’t realize was the instructions were not on the cute little booklet that came with the lock (how silly of me to assume) but were on the original packaging. This cute elder couple saw me and quickly figured out my dilemma and started giggling with me. So true to Ned’s nature, I went back to the container that was fortunately recycling and praying that other people respected the same, stuck my arm inside and dug round for my instructions. I came up gleefully to the giggles of a few people, but i ... read more

YYYAAAYYYY!!! It's time for Ned to go on Vacation with a capital "V"! hastagvacation! Super excited, I feel like I haven't done a get down and dirty, hang with the locals on their mud floors, eat street meat, fresh fruit, end up with 'ahem' bathroom issues due to previously mentioned events; feel better and do it all over again! My last visit to the Central/South America continent (which is without question my fav) was in Dec 2010 when I did Chile, Argentina, and Easter Island. That was the trip that started this blog, truth be told, and I am beyond delighted to be here again, about to set foot on Spanish soil. My language skills may not be any better, but I will have a heap of fun trying!! Of course preparations for this trip were ... read more

One of the last places I visited in Guatemala was just about right in the center of the country and far from everything - the limestone pools at Semuc Champey. This would have been a great place to have a waterproof camera... US$ ≈ 7.7 Guatemalan quetzales (Q) ≈ 13 Mexican pesos (M$) Cobán Like most travelers, I merely passed through Cobán on the way from Guate to Lanquín and had to spend the night after a late arrival. Not much to see in town but nice vibe and friendly people. Very different from Antigua where I had left in the morning. Accommodation and food First looked at Hotel Central as it was on the way from the Monja Blanca bus stop to the center. Q80 for a single but it was full. Then looked at ... read more
Limestone Pools From the Mirador
Río Cahabón

Initially I hadn't planned to check out the massive market in Chichicastenango. It is held every Thursday and Sunday and I wasn't sure if either of those days would fit into my plan. It's possible to visit on a day trip from Antigua or Lake Atitlán as many shuttles offer the service - for a price. But because I summited Volcán Tajumulco much earlier than anticipated, I ended up with plenty of time. After an extra rest day in Xela I took off for Chichi the day before the market to spend the night in order to get an early viewing before the tour buses and shuttles arrived. A lot of stuff was set up Saturday afternoon in the market but I went back again at 7:30 in the morning. The expanse had doubled in size ... read more
Church Steps
In Front of the Church
Lots of Flower Vendors

Yesterday I completed the final objective of Central America's high points, Volcán Tajumulco in Guatemala. Even though it is the highest of the high points it was by no means the most difficult. Actually, it was quite easy once we got to the trailhead, a 2 hour o'dark-thirty drive from Xela. Most people do the trek as an overnighter with a camp very high close to the summit. That normally involves taking chicken buses to and from the trailhead, each way a 3½ hour trip. Moreover, it is purportedly very cold and windy at the camp making for an uncomfortable and sleepless night. One day round trip was the way to go and I was lucky one of the tour operators had such a trip going the day after I arrived in Xela. $US ≈ 7.7 ... read more
Volcán Tajumulco
Volcán Tacaná
Volcán Tajumulco

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