Posts tagged 'Guatemala'
The next stop in my whirlwind tour of the northern parts of Guatemala was the Rio Dulce. I got a bus (an actual comfortable coach style bus with reclining seats and everything), that left an hour late at Flores, but still somehow got me to Rio Dulce early. I didn't think this was possible in Guatemala so it was a very welcome surprise!
After Semuc Champey I headed to Flores, the city closest to Tikal. It was another long minibus day, 11 hours on the bus, but at least this time I got a single seat near the door without one in front of it, so I had plenty of legroom and nobody taking up the space where my shoulders go. I stayed the night in a hotel where I was the only guest. I really don't think the travel agent made much effort to get me in somewhere cheap as I had to walk past a few different hostels to get there. I made good use of the air conditioning at least!
After Rachel and I parted ways, I had 10 days left before my flight to the USA and I still hadn't been to Semuc Champey, Tikal or the Rio Dulce, so I enlisted the help of a local travel agent to sort out all the shuttles and buses, places for me to stay, and tours, to make sure I could fit in all that I wanted to see and do and still make it back down to Guatemala City in time for my flight.
After finishing up in Xela for the second time, Rachel and I headed back to Lake Atitlan. I'd wanted to go back and do more yoga in San Marcos and some very novel scuba diving in the lake itself, and she had enrolled for another week of Spanish lessons and weaving in San Juan.
The second time around in Xela I was actually pre-enrolled to head back to Celas Maya and this time I'd opted to stay in a home stay family. The difference in living standard between this one and all my previous ones was astounding. They had a computer, a flat screen TV, a real washing machine, and even a marine fish tank in the living room. These people were definitely a lot more well off than previous families.
At the end of our week in Xela, Rachel, Sarah and I headed back to Antigua. Sarah had to fly home from Guatemala City in a few days time, and I was happy to go back and share the amazing ruins with them and explore a few more.
We arrived in Quetzaltenango, or Xela (pronounced sha-la) as pretty much every refers to it, quite late on a Sunday afternoon. Travelling in my usual manner, I showed up without having pre-organised my enrolment at the school, or a place to stay.
After leaving San Pedro, I made the long and arduous journey across the lake, braving the calm freshwater sea couped up in a little boat for all of 10 minutes, finally arriving at the hippy shores of San Marco La Laguna.
Next stop for me was Antigua Guatemala, the original capital of Guatemala until they got sick of all the earthquakes knocking it over every few decades. It's a very beautiful city, littered with ruins of majestic old ruins of buildings that the government doesn't have enough funds to do preservation works to, so most of them are fenced off without so much as a plaque to say what it was.