A Travellerspoint blog

This trip is winding down

Shawn went home on Tuesday to get back to work. He wasn't very happy about that - his first email from home said how much he missed the food here. Baylie and I spent yesterday afternoon by the pool at the Hotel Antigua. It is a beautiful resort filled with British families on holiday; we sat there for hours and just listened to the little kids all speaking in their perfectly proper accents. We have two more Spanish classes then all day Saturday to walk around and say good-bye to Antigua. This has been a perfect summer trip, but I can't believe I scheduled it right up to the very end of our time off. It seems like everything is going to start moving really fast all of a sudden. I'm feeling anxious about getting back to work and Baylie has mixed feelings about starting high school. Oh well, when we're in the middle of all that "real life" there's always another trip to start planning!

Posted by Pelham Family 05:41 Archived in Guatemala Comments (3)

Day trip to Lake Atitlan

Off roadin' in the Nissan Sentra

Baylie made friends with a girl from Germany at Spanish school last week and she mentioned that she was trying to figure out how to get to Lake Atitlan for the weekend. We were planning to rent a car and drive there on Saturday morning so we offered her a ride. Katya was a delightful companion for our road trip and a perfect example of what I can probably expect from Baylie in about 4 years when she takes off at 18 to travel on her own! We got our same little Nissan back again for the day and once again put our faith in the GPS of Shawn's tablet gadget. The lovely British lady's voice calmly directed us along the most ridiculous route - up and down steep rutted dirt roads (thank goodness we didn't get the daily downpour right then!) and through the tiniest little "towns" in the middle of cornfields. She would occasionally tell us "You are headed in the opposite direction" as we slid around major rock piles and wash-outs. I tried to tell Katya that when you get a free ride you get what you pay for, but truthfully she and Baylie were having a great time. At one stop to check out some un-spectacular little caves we met a kid selling baby chicks - why he thought some lost tourists on their way to the lake might want one is a bit of a mystery, but they were fun to hold.

We actually finally made it to the town of Panajachel and I suspect the British GPS lady was having quite a laugh inside that stupid gadget. We walked around town a little, had some lunch with a great view, said good-bye to Katya as she went off to find a boat to one of the other little lakeside towns, and then we went to the Reserva Natural and hiked some gorgeous trails through the jungle. A fabulous day - and we found the actual highway for the trip back!
Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan


Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan


Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan

Posted by Pelham Family 09:14 Archived in Guatemala Comments (3)

A post from Shawn...

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Shawn here. Having a great trip so far. I almost didn’t make it on this trip but when I saw pictures of the nearby volcanoes, I had to make it happen. The Agua volcano dominates the skyline, and on my second day here I took off with the plan to hike to the top of it. Although it looks like it is right next to town, you actually have to walk miles before you even get to the base. I enjoyed hiking through some little villages and then on to the amazing corn fields grown on a 45 degree incline. After half a day of hiking I was only at about 8000 ft and the top is at 12,400! Two days later I returned with a scooter and thought there was a road up the back side. There is not. After some serious scooter abuse I reached the trailhead above the town of Santa Maria. I was already exhausted form pushing the scooter up trails it just couldn't do. There a guide flagged me down and said going any further was not possible. He offered to take me up the trail. I was not planning on doing a brutal hike! I had water and the right shoes but I was wearing jeans, thin socks, and no sunscreen or my hiking hat. But hey, it was early in the day and I figured I could turn back if I got too uncomfortable. The guides are not really sherpas showing you the best way to go. They’re just there to make sure you don’t get robbed! He hiked with me to about 9000 ft than he motioned that he was going to wait there for my return.
The next 3500 ft just got harder and harder. It took all my mojo but I made it. At the top you can walk a loop around the top of the crater. Epic views! Amazingly it is covered with transmission towers built with helicopters and some crazy people. 5 hours later I met my guide again and continued back down. My foot had some awful blisters and I had a nice sunburn but mission accomplished.
Since then I have been mostly exploring with the scooter. I logged some serious miles with that 150cc chinese piece of junk. But it just could not take me where I wanted to go. I was able to upgrade it to a real dirt bike on Sunday. This country is a maze of trails and an absolute blast on the bike. Baylie likes the freedom of the scooter/bike and we have done some fun exploring together.
One week left for me. I hope to hike the Acatenango Volcano next, then maybe the Pacaya. Also want to ride the bike to an amazing sounding lake called Lago de Atitlan. Cheers!

Posted by Pelham Family 07:22 Comments (2)

Baylie ditched us

Shawn and I had dinner without Baylie tonight because she had better things to do. She decided to take a cooking class at the Spanish school and apparently had a lot of fun cooking pepian with some of the other students. Shawn and I ate at Frida's - a Mexican restaurant dedicated to Frida Kahlo's artwork. Of course our standard for Mexican food is pretty high, but like everything else we have eaten in this town the food was very good. This place has a great variety of restaurants - we haven't been disappointed yet!

A couple of days ago Baylie and I paid a dollar to walk through the ruins of the original cathedral from the 1500's. There are a lot of sights packed into this small town and we are still finding new things to do each day. I have to confess I have taken some time off from my intense Spanish lessons. Don't judge me please! It is my summer vacation after all :) I'm super proud of Baylie for sticking with it!
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Posted by Pelham Family 18:46 Comments (3)

Our unexpected tropical beach day

I really didn't think a tropical beach was in the plans for this trip, but we heard about Monterrico Beach at our language school so I started checking it out. Everyone we asked seemed to have slightly different information about how far away it is...1 hour?...2?...2 1/2? The language school offers a shuttle for $30 per person ($90 for a bus ride?!) so we checked with some of the other tour companies but they were even more expensive. Shawn thought renting another scooter was a viable plan (ummm...no.) And Baylie was all for renting a car. The tour salesman in the park of course gave us dire warnings about trying to drive there ourselves. They painted a frightening picture of terrible roads and assured us we would get lost. So...we rented a a car for $47, pulled up a GPS map and drove there in 2 hours.

The beach was HUGE and almost completely empty. Palm trees swaying in the breeze, a pleasant mist from the powerful crashing waves, and black sand so hot it was like walking on coals! We found some shade right in front of a vacant house for sale and had a few great hours just soaking up the tropical vibe. The water was very warm, but the waves would suck you under and thrash you against the volcanic sand, so maybe not quite "perfect" - but pretty close!
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Yesterday we hung out at the Mercado de Artesanias. Shawn bought a mask to add to the small collection we have. I had to pull him away with just one. Baylie is in search of a cool bag to use for school this year, no ordinary backpack for her, so we will be going back I'm sure.
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Posted by Pelham Family 20:21 Archived in Guatemala Comments (3)

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