Words can barely describe my recent trip to Guatemala, and I never expected it to be what it was. Through my travels and supported by it’s beauty and culture, amazing people and places, I was knocked down by sickness and brought to life again, met the most amazing people, hiked volcanoes and trudged through caves, saw sunrises and sunsets in places that I will never forget with new faces that have impacted my life for good. Here are some of the highlights and favorite photos of my journeys in this beautiful country, I hope they inspire you to go for yourself and experience your own Guatemalan adventure!
1. Exploring the streets of Antigua
I love colonial towns, and Antigua is one the nicest ones I have visited thus far. Old churches, cobblestone streets and heaps of shops and restaurants to check out in the day, as well as some good bars and live music to see at night. I was lucky enough to spend New Year’s here, where the street were packed and the celebration was on in full swing. As the clock hit midnight I watched from a rooftop as fireworks encircled the entire city. If you don’t get too trapped into going out there are some awesome day trips and hikes to do through tour companies that are decently priced and super fun!
2. The Good Life at Lago de Atitlan
This was a place many friends had told me to visit, and for good reason. The vibe at the lake is not to be missed, a hidden gem in the mountains only accessible by winding roads and well worth the journey. I spent the most time in San Pedro, which is full of awesome restaurants, a couple must-go bars, reputable Spanish schools and thanks to the super ‘naturalist’ crowd it draws, a life saving health food store. Sunbathing, swimming in the lake, hiking, beach partying and lots of good music surrounded by a little family was how I spent my days. Only word of warning, be cautious of taking good care of yourself and perhaps look into Grapefruit Seed Extract if you want to save yourself some trouble, I got quite sick here, and unfortunately it’s a common occurrence. I don’t often stay places for 3 weeks, but San Pedro felt like a temporary home. Want to learn Spanish? Highly recommend Maya B Spanish School. If you are looking for a more relaxed vibe and hella cacao ceremonies, check out San Marcos, easily accessible by boat from the San Pedro dock!
3. Indiana Jones’ing and Jungle Lovin’ in Semuc Champey
Hands down one of the coolest and most fun experiences ever. Pretty broad yeah but seriously, Semuc Champey is the shit. It was a bit of a deathride to get there, stuck in the back of a tiny bus for like 10 hours and fearing falling off a cliff, but once you get there you’ll forget about the bus and let yourself enjoy the beauty and good times awaiting. I stayed at the infamour Zephyr lodge, known for it’s party atmosphere and complete with a bunch of Aussies but worth staying at, even though it’s a tad more expensive than some other accommodations. The town of Lanquin where most people stay (also where Zephyr is located) is quite small but I actually checked out a dope market with some great tamales. Many of the people here didn’t actually speak Spanish but a dialect of Mayan, and being out here really felt as close as many beaten path travellers get to off the grid. Semuc Champey itself is about a 45 minute truck ride away. It’s crystal blue pools and the nearby caves will take your breath away. Talk about jungle love, this place blew my mind. Australia day was pretty fun here too, and gotta love an infinity pool.
4. The Serene Ruins at Tikal
Almost didn’t make it to Tikal, but if you’re going to see some ruins, I highly recommend visiting. Tikal is located near the city of Flores, so most people stay here and take a tour out in the day to the ruins, as we did, with a super informative and enthusiastic guide and a good sized group. We explored the ruins with our group and individually and what really struck me was how peaceful it was. No giant crowds like Angkor Wat, and with the guide providing in depth info about the ruins, flora and fauna, I felt I got the whole time travel experience. We watched the sunset from one of the highest formations, as is has done for years and years over the Mayan Empire. Magical.
So there you have some highlights of some crazy times down in Guate. So much left untold, so much still to discover. Muchas gracias!
What parts of Guatemala have you visited? What were your favorite parts or crazy things you experienced here?