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Guatemala

Curious what backpackers do in Guatemala? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • We set off in the pouring rain to the border. We didn't have to unload our bags this time which was good. Have a look at some of the weird items which are banned.
    Driving over the border was like driving through a car wash!

    Stopped by a nice lake for lunch then off to the camping site where we are spending the night. I am fantasizing about a 5 star hotel!

    Next its three hours walking through the Tikal mayan ruins. Fantastic! Its in the jungle with few tourists and the ruins are impressive. And true tropical weather as you can see. Loving the amish look!

    Then after the worst nachos of my life we went
    to our tents. Hot sweaty and covered in sunscreen and mosquito repellent we went to bed in our clothes. Me of course am using my pop up mosquito net for the first time in a tent in the dark as my camera battery is nearly flat! I sort of get it up and that will have to do!

    A very uncomfortable night on a thin mat with questionable sheets.
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  • Camping in an old tent with holes in it in mosquito land. No thanks!

    The mist in the early morning was nice though.

    But the shower block wasn't used by anyone!

    But disaster I can't get the pop up mosquito net back into the tiny circle!! Everyone in the group tries. Even the swiss guy who can solve a rubiks cube in under a minute can't solve it. So it has to go in the bus as a fairly large circle. And yes I did watch the you tube instruction on how to fold it and thought I got this! Wrong! Once I get wi fi I will have to watch it again closely!!

    We drive through the country side to our next destination Rio Dulce which is set on a lake.

    The country side on the way is beautiful but there was alot of poverty and people living in one room timber shacks.

    On the way we stop at Flores which is a lovely little town on a tiny island.

    Then we stop in Rio Dulce to have lunch and stock up on food as the jungle retreat only has the one restaurant. The main street is crazy with heavy traffic and lots of people walking down the fairly narrow road. Very easy to get run over and a van reverses into us giving us a scare.

    I do quite well and manage to get some yoghurt bread avocados tomatoes bananas and a bag of sliced mango. Then I find a place that does smoothies so with alot of sign language I get the best banano and fresno (banana and strawberry) smoothie. They must have sweet tooths here as she offered to put a tablespoon of sugar in!

    Then with the huge mosquito net we get on a boat and get to our jungle retreat on the river. Its heaven.
    I am a real site with the mosquito net!

    My room is gorgeous and we have an outdoor lounge area facing the jungle and a shared bathroom and there are only two of us in the little house like structure.

    Rest of the afternoon spent relaxing and had a nice dinner with the group in the restaurant which overlooks the river.

    Mosquito net put to use and an early night.
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  • The day started with one of these situations I will never fully understand. I wanted to take a bus from Lanquin to Rio Dulce from where I would then take a boat to Livingston on the caribbean coast.
    I had already bought my ticket for the bus in Flores. I was a little worried as I had heard that sometimes tickets bought elsewhere are not accepted. But when the hostel called the travel agency in Flores to confirm the date of my departure (I had bought an open ticket) they said everything should be fine.
    So the pick up truck brought us from the hostel into town where all the shuttle busses with different destinations were waiting. I found the bus to Rio Dulce and showed my ticket to the driver. But he said he couldn't accept this ticket. I told him to please call the number on the ticket as they could probably confirm that the ticket was valid. But he only asked "Where do you wanna go?" "Rio Dulce." "Which hostel did you stay?" "Zephyr Lodge, but I bought the ticket in Flores. Please call that number." "No, it's the wrong ticket!" (and of course all this was in spanish).
    Another guy showed up and I had the same conversation over and over again. When the bus driver finally called the travel agency there were already 4 people there telling me I had the wrong ticket. And they still asked me every now and then where I wanted to go. Seriously? Still Rio Dulce.
    After the bus driver had spoken to the travel agency he made 2 more phone calls. All the while even more guys walked by asking me where I wanted to go, telling me I had the wrong ticket.
    But suddenly after a few minutes the bus driver put down his phone saying "esta bien!". He took my ticket, put me on the bus and suddenly everything was fine.

    The bus drive to Rio Dulce took about 5 hours. The first 4 hours over really bumpy gravel roads. The streets in Guatemala are definitely the worst I've seen so far. Never felt such an relief when we finally reached the paved road.

    But the journey from Rio Dulce to Livingston made up for everything. We got to Rio Dulce just in time that I could hop on the public lancha (small boats who work like collectivos) to Livingston. These boats make a few stops in between and give you a few informations about the area. Finally the sun came out again and it was a really nice tour. The river ends in the ocean and I was back to the Caribbean.
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  • Nice sleep in, then down to the retreat's restaurant which is right next to the lake.
    We haven't had wi fi for a while so caught up on my emails and did abit of banking. The connection was very patchy though and came and went.

    Its a lovely place.

    After my homemade brunch/lunch (check out the knife they gave me) we walked into town 20 minutes each way. The heat the heat! We are all dripping.

    I get some orange drink which tastes like tang for energy - the water just wasn't cutting it.
    We walk around abit make a few purchases and I get another smoothie from the same place and we head back.

    Then we watched the you tube video a dozen times and managed to get the net back into a circle! Not easy and it took two of us!

    Finally relaxed in the restaurant by the lake. The meals are western prices but without the western quality.

    Most of the photos are on my camera so here is what I have of the retreat. My room, the shared verandah and bathroom, my lunch, the view and a random boat!
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  • We had the choice of leaving at 6am followed by an 8 hour drive or leave later followed by a 12 hour drive. Alot of roadwork makes the journey slow.

    A no brainer there and we left at 6am.

    Lovely and peaceful on the lake at dawn.

    We stopped at a dreadful place for breakfast - overpriced and not very appealing. The people who ate the food were the tour guide and the bus driver.
    I pulled out my groceries and most of the others had bread chips or crackers! They did have ok smoothies which are generally available everywhere in Guatamala and are great in the hot weather.

    Then a tyre blew so there is the shadow of me taking a photo of the view. One of the aussie girls said she could change the tyre - good on her - I wouldn't gave a clue.

    Every truck and car beeped at us!

    We drove through Guatemala City. Crazy traffic, lots of barbed wire protecting homes and businesses, gated communities with guards, businesses with guards - a good city to drive through I think. Photo three was a drive by photo of the suburbs.

    We reached Antigua and our hotel is a charming colonial building with lots of courtyards and a roof terrace which overlooks the city.

    We walk around town and its gorgeous. Lots of great cafes, bars and restaurants. Beautiful pastel coloured buildings. Not many street vendors so we end up in this hole in the wall place (photo five) where two ederly women cook the food. You walk through a small shop (photo six) and go out to the back. Its like being in their home.

    You can see the traditional Guatemalan meal we had for $5 and we all had two avocados each and loads of bread and tortillas. It was excellent and what a bargain.
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  • Up into the mountains today to a town called Chichicastenango which has a large market and a very colourful cemetary. Loved wandering around the markets taking photos.

    Bought a little hand made material cat which spoke to me - had to bargain hard though! Her name is Guatsup!

    Had my smoothie for the day in a cute cafe.

    Then onto our homestay in the village of San Jorge La Laguna overlooking Lake Atitlan. My room is pretty large. We share a toilet and a cold trickle of a shower with the family. There is a kitchen and two other bedrooms one which is used as a homestay room as well. So the family must sleep in one room when a homestay is on. See the various photos of the home including my colourful bed!

    Then there is a central courtyard which is partly covered.

    We had a traditional Guatemalan meal with the family with a very bad soapie on the tv in the background.

    We were told to bring gifts for the family - food shampoo pots etc. Anything as the families don't have much. I took soap and shampoo. Others took pineapples, corn, muffins. I should have got some pencils or pens for the kids as well.

    There were two kids - the boy was fascinated with my padlock on my case. The little girl was curious about everything so I showed her the photos and videos I had on my phone - including Minnie Mai dancing and skipping which she loved. She also loved the dolphin and sea lion photos.

    The whole tour group got dressed up in traditional clothing supplied by our families. Then we went to the town centre to hang out. We also went to part of a church service where a band played!

    Dinner was pretty good and filling. Early night as no internet and nothing to do. Our home had these crazy christmas lights in the courtyard which played the same christmas tune so in the ear plugs went!
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  • In Panajachel today which is right on Lake Atitlan. Its quite beautiful as you stare at the lake with the three volcanoes surrounding it.

    We decide to go to two villages on the lake. You never know when the public boat goes as they wait for passengers so we negotiate for a private boat. God what a drama - it takes ages as they quote you ridiculous prices which you wouldn't pay in any western country. Finally we get an acceptable price $16 each for two villages spending an hour and a half in each with a half hour boat ride there and back.

    The villages are great - the first one San Pedro has a very busy main street with a market and sits at the base of Pedro volcano. The second one San Marcos is a small village with views towards the volcanoes. Its got a very hippy bryon bay feel with lots of massage and yoga places and some very cute cafes with a chilled out jungle vibe.

    After checking out San Marcos I decide to get a crepe at the only restaurant on the lake in this village. I paid abit more but the views was sensational! And it had wi fi. The others went and had bigger lunches at one of the jungle cafes and then crepes at one of the hip cafes. But give me a water and I am in heaven!

    Then we had the roughest ride I have ever had in a boat! We were laughing and screaming at the same time!!

    A walk around town looking at the shops. I saw these really ugly bead lizards which I wanted for the christmas tree but when they start at $65 when its worth $15 western price I just can't be bothered with the haggling. It was hideous but I will go to bed dreaming about it!

    Back to the hotel for a rest then we hit the street for dinner. I get some chicken and salad on little tortillas and the others got hotdogs with four different sauces which were put on before and after the hotdog went in then they were piled with cabbage!

    Exhausted hot and dusty and looking forward to my shower. But my room is right off the lobby and directly in line with the entry from the street so its very noisy.

    Good grief go to have my shower and its cold! Not good enough - I paid enough for a hot shower in a hotel. So I dry off get dressed and approach reception. A guy comes in and fiddles with the shower head and the water is warm. So I think I will give this a go. Mistake its still to cold to be comfortable. By this stage the floor is wet and filthy from the dusty shoes of the shower fixit guy.

    After two days without a shower and covered in sweat grim dust suncreen and mosquito repellent I need a hot shower. So I dry off again get dressed and out I go.

    This time they tell me the hot showers are on the third floor! So why is anyone on the tour given a room without a hot shower. Plus my room is small windowless and very stuffy.

    Anyway they offer to change my room but I can't be bothered packing up all my stuff. So up I go to the third floor with my wash bag. The room is about five times the size of mine and has a lounge area. Too tired to care - I just want my shower.

    Now going to bed refreshed!

    Please note the laser like spear piecing my head and destroying my hair!
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  • The faces say it all!

    First food photo was dinner and next is breakfast.

    Me in my traditional attire. There are alo of pretty gruesome photos on my camera!

    Is my forehead beginning to take over my face?

  • Buenos what ?!
    Trotz 1A Spanischkenntnissen ging es für eine Nacht in eine Gastfamilie. Kennenlernen durften wir
    Opa Giuliano , Oma Lola, eins der 7 Kinder + Ehemann + 4 jährigen Sohn Elfi
    Kims Spanischreste(Guatemalabesuch vor 5 Jahren) und das Glück,dass unser Gastvater ein bisschen Englisch konnte, waren unsere Rettung.
    Obwohl ich sogar ziemlich viel verstehen konnte - Si,abuela Lola, ich hab verstanden als du zu Kim sagtest,dass ich kein Spanisch kann :D !

    Nach der 'Hausführung' blieb trzdm die Frage, hat er gesagt nur warmes Duschwasser oder kein warmes Duschwasser ?! ⬅ WARME Dusche morgens um 6 war des Rätsels Lösung :)
    Tortillas selber gemacht, Lola ein paar handgemachte Sachen als Geschenke abgekauft, Bilder unserer Familien gezeigt, zu unserm Glück ruhige Nacht gehabt, super leckere Panqueque + Obst zum Frühstück gefuttert und leider schon wieder Zeit Adios zu sagen

    Meine neuen Spanisch skills: ich bin anscheinend "veinte" Jahre alt | abuela - Oma | ¡Mucho Gusto! - Freut mich. | la luz - Licht | frio - frieren
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  • Obwohl gestern Abend der letzte mit der ganzen Gruppe war, ging's für uns um 12 ins Bett und um 5.30 Uhr schon wieder raus. Wir machen schließlich keine Weltreise um nur Sauf- und Partygewohnheiten der Länder kennenzulernen... also, zusammen mit unserer Italienerin Irene -> ab auf den Pacaya (Guatemala)
    - ca 7km pro Weg (97% davon geht's relativ steil bergauf/bergab)
    - 2552m hoch, leider darf man aber nicht so weit hoch
    mehr Infos: http://www.reiseweltatlas.de/pacaya.html

    "Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm" - ich war tatsächlich schon lange nicht mehr, vor 11Uhr morgens so produktiv

    - Auf einen der aktivsten Vulkane der Welt klettern (sogar ohne körperliche Schäden !) ☑
    - Marshmallows über einem aktiven Vulkan rösten ☑

    (Die Bilder sind übrigens alle unbearbeitet ! )
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Guatemala, Guatemala, Guwatemala, ጉዋቲማላ, جواتيمالا, Qvatemala, Гватэмала, Гватемала, Gwatemala, গোয়াতিমালা, གྷོ་ཊེ་མ་ལ།, Gvatemala, Guatemala nutome, Γουατεμάλα, Gvatemalo, گواتمالا, Gwaatemalaa, Goatemala, Guatamala, ગ્વાટેમાલા, Gwatamala, גווטמלה, गोतेदाला, Գվատեմալա, グアテマラ, გვატემალა, ហ្គាតេម៉ាឡា, ಗ್ವಾಟೆಮಾಲಾ, 과테말라, گواتیمالا, Gwatémala, ກົວເຕມາລາ, Ngwatemala, Goatemalà, ഗ്വാട്ടിമാലാ, ग्वाटेमाला, ဂွာတီမာလာ, Cuauhtemallan, ଗୁଏତମାଲା, ګواتمالا, Watimala, Guatêmälä, Guwaatamaala, குவாத்தாமாலா, గ్వాటిమాల, Гуатемала, ประเทศกัวเตมาลา, Kuatamala, گۋاتېمالا, Ґватемала, گواٹے مالا, Gvatemalän, Orílẹ́ède Guatemala, 危地马拉, i-Guatemala