10 Jul ¿Que Tal? to Guatemala
2. Chicken Buses – The main mode of transport around central american countries is the famous ‘Chicken Bus’. This is an old american school bus that looks like it’s been on the show ‘Pimp My Ride’. They are ridiculously cheap to travel for long periods of times. Cheap travel also means that they are packed full of people. And when I say packed, i mean you are squashed completely with more than double the allowed people on a bus, a 2 seater bench consist of four people with another person squeezing in the aisle.
1. Kayaking hunt for howler monkeys – Waking up at 4a.m to go Kayaking around the lake looking for Howler monkeys making loud howler noises. After a tiring workout across this huge lake, we heard some and spotted them.
2. Orphanage school – Across the side of the lake is a school which is home to many orphanage children. Spending the morning with the kids was a wonderful experience. They are such happy kids, playing around with you, stealing your sunglasses and jumping all over you like you’re a climbing frame. An unforgettable experience and hats off to the volunteers and teachers who look after the place and children very well. If this place wasn’t here, the children would have no home or no education. We purchased some bracelets made by the children, they put their name on the bracelet and the funds directly go to the kid who made the bracelet to spend on whatever they like. One little girl is so good at making them, that many of her bracelets get purchased, She splits the money she is given with her two little brothers and shares the small amount of dollars she gets.
3. Hot Hot and Mega Hot waterfall – An unusual waterfall which produces naturally heated water running down the falls. At the bottom is a cold pool which you swim around and can stand under this heated falls. Totally different to any other falls I have been to. To top it off, our tour guide made us the most delicious Guacamole and tortilla chips to eat in the pool.
1.Acatenango Volcano – One of the volcanoes you can trek to the top of. A few of us woke up at 4a.m to start the hike. Getting dropped off at a height of around 2000metres, you then have to hike up to the top which is just under 4000 metres, so a huge increase in altitude in the short space of time. It took 7 challenging hours to get up to the top and four hours down. The views along the way and from the top were spectacular, especially as you can watch the active volcano opposite, named Fuego (Translates to Fire), splurging out ash. A difficult hiking day but one to truly remember and you definitely feel some altitude here. Right at the beginning of our trek this dog started following us, and he stayed with us the entire day. The dog would stop and look back to make sure our whole group were around, he even made it all the way to the top. Very cool.
1. Boat ride for breakfast – An early morning start on a boat to this resort situated on the edge of a lake. Beautiful day with great food and chilling out on the hammocks overlooking the lake.
2. Jacuzzi by the lake – Continuing along, a hidden resort which has a Jacuzzi and swimming pool on the lake. Quite surprising the Guatemala has this to offer, it’s something I thought I would only see in places like Maldives.
1. Homestay – Staying in San Juan at a family’s house who are part of the Planaterra project. The house was very small and they had 10 people staying there. The kids were very cute and fun to play with. Such a happy family, albeit them not speaking English and my broken Spanish, it was just enough to understand them and have a slow conversation. The lady had been working at a school for 5 years without pay, in the anticipation they will offer her a job and pay her. Just unreal, considering she adopted a kid because his parents died from illness. We were playing basketball in the house and we broke the net, so I felt bad a gave them some dollars to buy a new basketball hoop.
3. Farewell and Hello to Group – The tour was split into two sections, and sad to say that some of our fellow adventurers and tour guide were moving on. A fantastic 16 odd days together. Now time to say Bienvenidas to the new adventurers and tour guide. Let the second part of the epic GAdventures tour Begin!