Guatemala tips, information and useful advice
Tuesday morning at 7, we start from the Chincutik agency of S. Cristobal for Guatemala-Panajachel.
We are 7 people on a minibus, a couple of Israelis, a couple of Australian boys, a Mexican psychologist who is going to take a course in Guatemala and the two of us.
The journey will be long but it is immediately pleasant, the day is beautiful and Hector (the psychologist) is very friendly, he talks to everyone, jokes, tells us about himself and translates those who speak English; time passes quickly.
We arrive at the border, we go down, we walk past the big sign that welcomes you in Mexico, we have it behind us, we are in Guatemala.
Procedures, queue in front of the counter for passport control, change of pesos in quezales and then we leave on a new minibus.
Guatemala what to see and places to visit
At five we arrive at lake Atitlan a Panajachel, we head to the dock to take the launch (boat) for Jabailito, the public launch arrives, we go up and in a few minutes we are crowded into the boat; it's dusk it's almost six now it's time to go.America Coast to Coast
The water splashes on us, the helmsman covers us with a nylon but the water drips everywhere on the people thrown here and there by the waves and obviously we are all wet but, finally we arrive at the goal.
A man takes our bags and climbs the stairs to the entrance to the‘hotel Casa del Mundo.
The place is wonderful, the hotel is overlooking the lake, unfortunately it is dark and we can not see much that we go up to the entrance and the lady welcomes us telling us that dinner is almost ready, she shows us our room on the terrace.
The dining room is lit with many candles, we all sit together around the only long table set, dinner is simple but it is very pleasant to share the evening with many foreign people, I really feel like a citizen of the world.
We fall asleep lulled by the pouring noise of intense rain, with the curtain open and the view of the lights on the lake, the scenery is more than pleasant, we are proud to have arrived here.
Wednesday 5,30 hours we are on the terrace to admire the volcano in front of us that slowly frees itself from the clouds, some photos, a walk to inspect the place that we discover more and more beautiful.
We decide to walk around the area up to Jabailito e Santa Cruz.
Wednesday 13 August the trip from Panajachel a Chichicastenango it is very quiet, we are alone in a minibus with the driver who tells us about his family and his seven children.
The Mayan Inn Hotel is the absolute best we have seen and certainly very unusual.
The rooms have no key and listen, each room has its own personal "Butler" that satisfies every customer's need.
I assure you that after an initial perplexity it is very nice to feel "important" even if for a short time.
We manage to take an afternoon tour in the square where preparations for the great indigenous market begin.
Unfortunately it rains lightly but the very numerous street vendors continue to assemble the stalls made of long wood and nylon.
The next day the effect is overwhelming, incense burns in front of the church, the square is covered with fabrics, carpets, bags, flowers, masks, jewels with a variety and intensity of fascinating colors; the market involves all passers-by, especially tourists, who, at the cry of the sellers “hei amigo / a”, begin an endless negotiation at the last price.
Obviously we do a lot of shopping and then off to Antigua.
Friday we come to Antigua to the welcoming and comfortable Hotel La Posadita.
We visit the Finca di caffè now largely used as a hotel.
Immense gardens, a large swimming pool and large well-appointed lounges make it a very beautiful and elegant environment.
We then visit the hotel / restaurant Santo Domingo, a former monastery, there are museums, antiques, beautiful gardens with parrots, an enchanting colonial atmosphere, and a stroll inside is pleasant.
Saturday at 6 minibus for Vulcan Pacaya high 2500 mt.
We arrive at about 17oo meters, then we continue on foot, wisely we wore the boots.
The climb is tiring but, as the great black smoking peak presents itself, the landscape undergoes a real metamorphosis.
Our guide leads us to see the incandescent cracks, the waving air confuses the figures creating a surreal atmosphere, the lava flows less than a meter below our feet.
For the return trip, the guide suggests a shortcut which, as he says, “is like skiing”.
My white hair makes everyone doubt my abilities, I calm them down and go down.
The feet sink into the thick dark sand and we really have to slip.
Around 12.30 we return to Antigua, an exceptional lunch at Cheese and Wine and then indulge in an ice cream at the Panza Verde restaurant, an elegant and characteristic place.
Evening walk from Central Park to the great arch through the cobbled streets of quadro (crossing) in quadro.
At the hotel we were advised not to return late in order not to risk bad encounters, unfortunately in Guatemala we have received many recommendations in this regard
Sunday August 17, 4 hours the minibus leaves from Antigua to Guatemala where we will take the bus.
The bus is very basic, without air conditioning, only one door in front, which at each of the numerous stops, the conductor has to push hard to close it.
At 12 we arrive at sweet River, the launch is already at the dock ready to leave.
The route is fabulous and the boat goes quickly on the water along the banks of the great river, the vegetation is dense, very green, the plants and palms are very high and covered with various species of birds, this is a forest.
After about an hour and a half we arrive at the Hotel Finca Tatin.
Carlos shows us our home, a wooden stilt house with a thatched roof, the windows and every crevice with a mosquito net, even the bed is wrapped in a mosquito net, we are surrounded by plants and flowers on one side and the river on the other.
The atmosphere is a little mysterious and wild, very suggestive.
Afternoon in cayac on the river, we are awkward with the oars, but the water is calm, the day is beautiful, the spectacle of the vegetation and the silence that reigns give us so much serenity.
We bathe together in the river and prepare for dinner.
All around a large table we eat freshly cooked chicken on the big bonfire next to the river.
Early Monday we sit on the pier to observe the river.
Carlos takes us with his boat to the mouth of the river, a Livingston.
Here the environment is very different; they are all black, dreadlocked, with colorful dresses and turbans.
The beach is long and narrow, the palm trees reach the sea, the water is calm and warm and the landscape and what is in the expectations of those who arrive at Caraibi.
The bathroom is a must, we enjoy this place that combines the charm of the tropical jungle with the Caribbean sea.
After having eaten a nice plate of grilled prawns, we return satisfied to the Finca Tatin.
In the afternoon we leave for a tour in the forest.
The guide, Gerardo, a 27-year-old boy without teeth but very friendly, takes us through paths in the midst of this vegetation to the tiger cave and then continues to the indios village.
Gerardo proudly shows us his house which is just a poor hut of reeds and straw with a small fire, two hammocks for the children and a facsimile of a bed for him, the ground is only earth and there is no furniture or appliances.
It all seems incredible to us but the dignity and serenity of the people we have met so far makes us think about evaluating the really important things in life better.
On Tuesday we return by boat to Rio Dulce to continue by bus towards Tikal.
The bus or rather a carcassone that looks like a bus arrives at 10 and is already full with many people standing, we get on and we immediately realize that it will not be a pleasant journey.
Accommodation in the Jaguar Inn hotel and then off we enter thearea maya.
Here, to get to the temples, we walk along long paths in the heart of a large tropical forest; in addition to the wonder of the ruins we observe many small and large animals such as giant ants, grasshoppers camouflaged on the trees, a hummingbird on its small nest, howler monkeys swinging, a large black hairy spider, various insects, mysterious and unknown birds, all this from to Tikal a particular charm.
The tour starts on Wednesday at 3am.
It is dark, with the flashlight in hand we walk the path towards the central Piazza Maya, there is a great silence.
Arrived at the temple we go up the wooden staircase and sit on the top, it is 5.3o, we all sit in silence waiting for the dawn.
In front of us the still dark jungle shrouded in a light fog that slowly moves, uncovering the peaks of others temple maya, the light gradually increases by changing the colors of the scenery and finally the great golden circle appears on the horizon.
Everything seems to come to life, the silence gives way to the sounds of animals that wake up and move, what were previously silhouettes are now defined and the forest appears in all its beauty.
We remain in silence to admire the life, the nature that from heaven to earth overwhelms us and will never cease to amaze us.
In the afternoon we go to the airport in Flores.
With a small plane, 28 seats, we return to Guatemala city where our return flight will depart.
NB To read the first part of the trip: TRIP TO MEXICO AND GUATEMALA.
Guatemala photo gallery