Sunday, November 18, 2007

Guatemala - San Pedro and its volcanoe

Lago de Atitlan is beautiful lake formed in an old huge volcanoe crater. Right next to it is another newer volcanoe, San Pedro, that offers a beautiful view from its top. After a fairly hard hike though. The price of the parc entrance (13 dollars) includes a professional guide that brings you to the top and explains to you the vegetation. My guide was a teenager or young adult who apparently wasnt too motivated, and left me after 20 minutes (on a 3 and a half hour hike to the top, then 2 hours to go down). This mother fucker was just too lazy. Other groups I met had proper guides, but it wasnt to be for me. So I did it on my own. Being the last climber of the day, I was the last one at the top, and the last one to go down. Very steep and no proper view before the top, so it´s everything or nothing. I made it in a reasonable time, enjoyed the view, and came back down to see my guide having a beer with his buddies. Asshole.

Guatemala is full of those 3 wheeled taxis. A small motorcycle engine, in a cage frame, awful suspensions. A piece of fun.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Guatemala - Walking on an active volcanoe !

Pacaya is an active volcanoe just an hour and a helf away from Antigua. It was good to get off the bikes and take a mini-van with other tourists. Any coutry in Europe would close the access to such a volcanoe but here they make an attraction out of it. And it is so worth it ! We had a good guide and were able to walk on the lava ! We could have stepped into hot lava if we wanted to. Simply amazing. No a good time to have the laces undone.

The village down the volcanoe and the people living there were going on with their everyday life, kids cutting stuff in the woods, people on those mini-horses they seem to use a lot in guatemala.
It is amazing what Guatemala has to offer.


Guatemala - Antigua

So far Guatemala seems to be the most authentic country in terms of keeping its culture and origins alive. 40% of the poulation is Maya and still lives by the ancient rituals.

Antigua is down the valley of the eastern highlands, west of guatemala city. It is surrended by volcanoes. 3 directly around the city, called ´Water´ ´Fire´and ´Earth´. but not far away is the even more impressive Pacaya (see next chronological post). Fire and Pacaya are 2 of the 3 volcanoes in guatemala that are still active. They are part of this long chain of volcanoes running down the west coast of Central and South America.

Antigua holds 40000 people, and is world renown to welcome foreigners who want to speak spanish. I wish I had time to stay here a couple of months and immerse myself in those spanish courses.