After visiting Ecuador, from Quito I took a plane whose goal was to reach Mexico, and I had not had so much information about Guatemala, and some travelers I met in Quito recommended it to me.
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Guatemala7 days / August 2018
Highs & Lows
Mayan temples are found in the jungle, they amaze both for their monumental size and for their architectural brilliance.
The rains many times impede the walks, the buses take a long time, Patience!
Guatemala is the country of eternal spring, it offers the traveler countless attractions; impressive Mayan ruins, colonial cities, volcanoes, lakes, colorful markets ... but as often happens when planning a trip, seeing everything is practically impossible, mainly due to the limited time we have. In this experience, perhaps I can only count this destination for 7 days, if I return I would choose a longer stay, and perhaps in another time where the rains are more scarce.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
I would have opted for a longer stay, but in addition to not knowing the culture, volunteers and others fluently, it was just a break from the route with a new destination, the next visit I plan to travel more since the hospitality of the people made me feel very complete.
Anything go wrong during the trip?
The rains made several walks difficult for me, but it was somewhat minor. The buses have a shortened average time and the schedule is not very clear because if you have to take one of them, it is advisable to have time and patience.
How was the food?
Guatemala is another of the Central American countries where the Spanish conquest and evangelization left deep traces in customs, traditions and gastronomy. Pepián can be made with chicken, pork or beef. Also when combining pieces from the three animal sources. While the meat is cooked in water with vegetables, onions, tomatoes, miltomate, sesame seeds, pepitoria, chili, garlic, cinnamon and banana peel are cooked in a little oil. When ready, the dressings are blended with some of the broth left over from the meat and cooked with coriander branches until the sauce thickens; the pieces of meat and vegetables are added. I saw this dish a lot in the market and ate several times I like to discover new seasonings in the markets, there you can find the naturalness of the flavors and the so-called traditional elaboration. In selina the bar also offers typical foods, and the classic hamburgers and dishes that are fast food and that are perhaps for palates that do not dare to experiment. Coffee is one of the richest, Enchiladas are tasted at any time, day or celebration. They are made with ground beef, julienned beets, and various sauces, ingredients placed on top of a freshly made corn tortilla. The enchilada is garnished with a boiled egg and sprinkled with hard cheese....Read More
What tips would you give a friend?
This trip was very about cities, knowing and getting into the rituals and Mayan architecture is good, the next one would make an adventure with the plus of visiting the sea. The beaches of Livingston are very named by the locals and there is a hippie and artistic movement that remained as a pending matter in my earrings sheet.
The very rainy season does not prevent a walk, but having rain protection or an umbrella is fine, consume a lot of water since the humidity can also be heavy when walking. Bring light clothing, comfortable shoes especially if you are going to go to the volcano. After climbing the Pacaya volcano I realized that this is a business with the sole purpose of getting as much money as possible from the tourist. What is a National Park and things like that ... is secondary. The ascent is done perfectly in an hour, and is totally practicable for anyone (anyone who does not have serious health problems, of course). It's a steep walk, at least to the safe areas. And if there was a somewhat quarrelsome section, don't worry, they are in charge of laying the cement well to pave the path. Of course, once you reach the finish line, you will be offered the opportunity to climb higher by paying a little more. Do not make an effort. The place where you end up is beautiful, very photogenic and spectacular. It's not worth getting ripped off for other views. This is just my advice though. At the end of the tour, the guide will become excessively friendly and will then ask you for a tip. Give it to him or not is in your hands, but do not feel obliged either. The Park closes at 7 in the afternoon and opens at 7 in the morning. If during this period you want to meet on the volcano (spending the night in it), you should consult in search of a specific excursion and guide that offers you this option....Read More
It is the usual way to move around Guatemala, in general it is easy and cheap. There are regional differences regarding the type of bus. What is most abundant, especially throughout the south of the country, are the old school-type buses, well maintained and tuned from the outside. Only in some sections are they saturated with people and that is when you have to share a seat between 3 people, but in general we travel quite comfortable. If you travel with small luggage, you carry it in the upper luggage racks, people leave their belongings there with peace of mind. Otherwise they go in the back or up on the outside. Between rural towns and on unpaved roads, it is usual to move around in pick-up trucks, directly at the box, standing up without seats. It is rare that tourists use them, except to go from Lanquín to Semuc Champey (in this section, they abuse the price!). They travel quite fast even though they stop often (on average about 50km / h). There are not always direct buses between tourist spots, such as between Antigua and Chichicastenango or Panajachel, but the transfers are quick, getting off at the crossroads (we never waited more than 5 minutes). The buses have the names of the cities written on them, it is convenient to read them to be clear about the destination. Some drivers and helpers will say "Pana?" when you see that the bus says "Xela", that is, it drops you off at the Los Encuentros crossroads. It is very normal, it is convenient to have a clear geography....Read More
People in Guatemala are very hospitable, very generous and do not have that disadvantage that if you are a tourist, everything will cost you more, except in the tours of the volcano, next time I would meet with people and do the walk, if I consulted To spend the night near the volcano, do not fall for the option of horses, it can cost around 50 usd. and it is a path that is calmly well marked, climbing is not difficult, because unless you are passionate about horses.
From the flight reservation and the places I made the base to sleep, always use Booking, the hotel service is great, with a variety of rooms and prices, very comfortable!