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touring | guatemala | 2017

January 25, 2017

 

 

Guatemala

 

At the border crossing from Mexico I awaited the new shuttle bus to take us to Antigua. The border is very simple in Guatemala and all you need to do is give you passport and its done in less than a minute. No need to pay anything. Some times the corrupt officials will ask you for a few dollars just say that you have no cash only card. 

 

After waiting for about an hour for the shuttle to arrive from the other direction we started the journey through some incredible highland the views were spectacular something that made the trip 13 hour bus ride worth while. Guatemala seemed so green compared to Mexico. 

 

antigua 

 

arriving in antigua in the nighttime after a 13 hours bus ride was intense my first thought was to find the hostel straight away and hope that it was a good one. I arrived at cucuruchos hostel and i was so relieved it was an amazing place to stay and one of my top 5 hostel of all time, the staff are very friendly and helpful. the restaurant next door rincon tipico is something special you can see the ladies preparing fresh tortillas during lunch time at the front door, its only 30Q for an amazingly filling meal and a drink of local hibiscus water. 

antigua for me for defiantly the best place i have visited so far its reminds me of small towns in italy just more colourful. the vibe is great and you have plenty of things to do. it has however become a little touristy as foreigners have set up bars and coffee shop in town at new york prices. one the biggest surprises is the mcdonalds near the centre of town it has the best views in town from its courtyard of course don't eat there but at least you can have a coffee. 

 

my recommended places to visit

-take a walk around the city

- earth lodge

- main square

 

Places to eat

- toko baru 

- rincon tipico 

- street food vendors

 

how to get around

- walk

- rent a bike

 

where i stayed

-cucuruchos hostel (i believe one of the best hostels in the world)

 

length of stay

-realistically you don't need more than 5 days.

 

san marcos & lake atitlan

 

after a few days in antigua i decided to move on to lake atitlan after hearing it was one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. its around a 4 hour shuttle ride ($10) that stops a few times on the way you can book with your hostel. I find in a lot of central american countries that the hostels don't use hostel world or booking.com so the best thing is to search on google maps as it also gives you reviews, i mostly contact places via Facebook messenger. my felling of san marcos is that it has a very laid back and 'hippy' vibe with lots of yoga and alternative courses like the 3 month moon worship course its very spiritual here or so i was told. I woke up one morning to the girl in the same room telling me how she could not sleep in san marcos as the energy was so strong. i told her that i had one of the best sleeps of the trip :) even though im not into my spiritual side i do understand that people are in tune with it and i believe what she said just it did not work for me. after 24 hours there and meeting a young aussie whom proclaimed himself Phoenix (real name dave) and the general pretentious atmosphere as real world changing people made way for rich kids pretending to change the world  i was happy to move on to what would turn out to be my favourite part of lake atitlan an eco resort called laguna lodge  on the lake shore. it is mainly run by the local indigenous population. (see photos above) it was a true oasis away from all the hustle of the the main towns along the shores of the river i spent most of my time relaxing and enjoying the view. unfortunately i lost my very expensive camera to the lake as the wind blew over my tripod and down to the bottom of the lake it went i didn't even try to save it. 

 

my recommended places to visit

- the lake (of course)

- the devils nose (a day trip)

- hostel del lago (best night life)

 

Places to eat

- medicine cafe (cool vegan food)

 

how to get around

- walk

- boat to other towns 

 

where i stayed

laguna lodge

- Circles cafe and hostel

 

length of stay

-realistically you don't need more than 3 days.

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