1 0 Posts with the tag: Guatemala
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The Highlands of Guatemala

Posted by on March 15th, 2012 3 Comments

February 27 2012 DSC 7684 548x316 The Highlands of Guatemala

Lago de Atitlan in Guatemala, often dubbed the prettiest lake in the world, certainly took our breath away. The lake itself sits in the massive crater of an ancient volcano, and many more volcanoes fill the views across the water. A smattering of small, unique villages packed with tourists, ex-pats, and indigenous Mayan peoples ring the shores of this amazing body of water.

We woke in our hotel room eager to hit up a restaurant for breakfast, one of our favourite meals to eat twice. We were enthusiastic because Panajachel, like many tourist towns, caters to travellers with tastes for foods from all over the world. Most of the time we are drawn to the local food, but when the scent of cinnamon rolls, pancakes and strong coffee hit our olfactory nerves, we grabbed a seat at a trendy cafe. This marked our first breakfast, which, while very good in taste, was a little small in portion and a little large in price for cyclists on a budget. So we sought out another restaurant where we enjoyed healthier portions of beans and tortillas and hotcakes and eggs. Our appetites finally tamed, we returned to the hotel to do some chores like laundry, bike maintenance and running out for groceries. Walking back, we passed one of the many travel agencies that run shuttles to nearby cities – including one to Antigua, which we planned to visit in a few days. We had been toying with braving the hills to Antigua on our bikes, or once again hopping a chicken bus to get there, but after comparing prices and services (the shuttle would pick us and our gear up from our hotel and drop us off at our camping spot in Antigua) we opted for the shuttle instead. If anything, it was a chance to experience another form of transit.

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Potholes, Chicken Buses and Lanchas, Oh My!

Posted by on March 11th, 2012 3 Comments

How can I attempt to claim an experience in a country I only spent nine days in? Certainly our time in Guatemala flew by, with new experiences around every corner and so much left undiscovered that we are thoroughly enticed to return again in the future. We could easily spend two months in this country and not get bored.

February 26 2012 DSC 7616 548x253 Potholes, Chicken Buses and Lanchas, Oh My!

Lago de Atitlan at dusk.

Our first full day in Guatemala we travelled from Coatepaque to Mazatenango on rough, wide roads dotted with potholes, dancing with enormous trucks overloaded with sugar cane and seemingly endless quantities of ‘chicken buses.’ These amazing vehicles are colourfully decorated, totally pimped out old American school buses living a full second life down here in Central America. Instead of being used solely for school-based travel, down here, they form the base of many people’s daily, local, and long-distance transportation needs.

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Crossing Borders

Posted by on March 4th, 2012 6 Comments

While taking a few simple pedal strokes from one state or country into the next may not change the scenery at all, to a long distance bicycle tourist, it marks a major milestone and sense of accomplishment – as well as a new burst excitement and energy for the trip as a whole. We felt this when we crossed the Mississippi in the first month of our trip, when we reached the Pacific Coast in the Fall, when we crossed into Mexico near Christmas – and even more so entering Guatemala, our first Central American country, a few days ago.

February 15 2012 DSC 7405 548x232 Crossing Borders

We had been counting down the days until the Guatemalan border throughout our last week in Mexico. We cruised through our last day in the state of Oaxaca, heading towards the state of Chiapas over flat roads and through fields of wind farms – both of which are usually a clear indication of one of our worst enemies – strong headwinds. But not on this day! Fortunately for us, the windmills stood still as we rode by at a healthy 25km per hour, covering the distance from Juchitan to Zanatepec in record time. Here we were warmly greeted by Warmshowers hosts Rodrigo and Lupita and their two young sons Ethan (3) and Mateo (1). The four of them took us around their town that evening – Eden and Harper especially loved the children’s activities in the Centro such as a trampoline and electric toy cars they could ride around in circles. Mexican towns and cities really come alive at night, so this was something we truly enjoyed as we rarely explore much after sunset.

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