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Posts Tagged ‘Central America’

View From the Volcano

This picture was taken about half way through our hike on Volcán San Pedro in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. The hike was definitely hard, appropriate footwear/ broken in shoes are HIGHLY recommended, i’d recommend strong sun screen too, the sun at the top is very powerful. The view from the top was absolutely incredible, and I felt super accomplished by the end. I’d recommend taking a taxi to the gates of the park, we skipped out on that extra expense, but definitely started our hike a little low on energy, as it’s a 40 minute walk from the town to the entrance. We also started at 5 which I definitely recommend, because then it’s not too hot on the way back down. The hike is about three hours up and two hours down, and it is a bit steep. It’s a work out for sure, but absolutely worth it. The view is amazing, and the area surrounding the path, which passes through jungle-y bits and farms with corn and coffee, is really beautiful too.

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Lake Atitlan

This picture was taken on Lake Atitlan, in Guatemala. The lake is accessible by bus or shuttle from Antigua, and probably other nearby cities. The lake is surrounded by towns that can provide you with plenty of places to stay and plenty of shopping. Santiago de Atitlan also has a very cool tourist attraction. If you are looking for an authentic experience here this is the place to go. Ask any tuk tuk driver to take you to see Maximon (pronounced Mashymoan). He is the patron saint of gamblers and drunkards, and going to see him in the house where he is currently being hosted is quite an experience. The room is usually decorated with streamers, lots of fruits hanging from the ceiling, and bottles of Quetzalteca rum around on the floor. The room will also likely be filled with smoke from the cigars that are burning away in the statues mouth, and maybe some incense. It’s really cool to see, and I would highly recommend it. All the towns have shopping and places to stay, but I’d recommend Panajachel.

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Arch Street

This picture was taken in Antigua, Guatemala on the Arch Street. The street is actually called 5th Avenue, but the name Arch street is a bit more descriptive. The arch served as a place for nuns to walk above the streets from a school to a convent, and back. Now the arch is one of the defining characteristics of Antigua. The street is closed to cars on the weekends and offers loads of nice restaurants and some good shopping too. This street is really lively on the weekends and it’s fun to walk along, seeing the street performers and listening to the music that is almost always playing. The street also leads directly to the central park, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you aren’t to far away from the city center. Also lots of places around here have access to wifi, so if you want to do a little more research about the town, you’ll be able to in one of the cute coffee shops along the street or in the square.

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Girl in Santa Maria de Jesus

This photo was taken in Santa Maria de Jesus in Guatemala. This town is about a thirty minute bus ride from Antigua. It’s not really a touristed area. Though there is a cool old church up there. I’d recommend a visit to Santa Maria if you want to get a better feel for what guatemala is actually like. While Antigua is really lovely, it’s a colonial city, and as it is a UNESCO world heritage site, not much has changed there. In Santa Maria, or some of the other small town areas that surround Antigua, you can get more of a feel for the general every day life of the people that live there. This young girl, like most, if not all, of the young girls that live in Santa, is in tradition dress. Huipiles (the top she is wearing) are often made by hand, and are typically worn along with a plainer fabric skirt that is tied together by an embroidered belt.

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Chichicastenango Market

This picture was taken in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Chichicastenango, also referred to as ChiChi, is one of my favorite places to visit in Guatemala. On Thursdays and Sundays they have market days, which are absolutely phenomenal. I’ve never been to the town on a not market day, though i’m sure it’s still really interesting, but the market itself is just a great experience. The streets are lined with stalls selling all sorts of hand made things, ranging from tapestries to wooden statues, to purses to jewelry. Some of the stalls sell things that aren’t handmade too, Machetes and knives can be found here, as well as some antiques. ChiChi is just a great place to walk around, but it’s also a really fun place to shop, a place where you can find really unique Guatemalan souvenirs. The vendors are friendly and are usually totally willing to haggle on prices. ChiChi also has numerous stalls for food, and, if you aren’t feeling adventurous enough for street food (or if you want a place to sit down and enjoy a cold beverage for a bit) there are also a few restaurants around. Aside from the market itself, ChiChi is also home to a really unique church. The church, which is sort of in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the market, has a large set of stairs leading up to it’s doors, on market days these stairs are covered with people hawking flowers. The church is also worth a visit, and, at least when I was there last (June 2011) the church was opened to visitors. If you are visiting Guatemala definitely try to swing by ChiChi on a market day, it’s a fantastic experience!

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A Scarlet Macaw just hanging out around the Copan Ruins in Honduras

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