February – 2014
Guatemala was my first country in Central America to visit. I only visited to the comfy Thailand and New Zealand before, and had no idea what to expect! There where a few days to see Guatemala so we went for the most popular destinations: Antigua and Lago Atitlan.
Late in the evening we arrived at the airport of Guatemala City. At that time, the capital wasn’t that save for tourists, so decided to go straight to Antigua. Everyone who goes to Guatemala will know about this place. It’s a lovely colonial village, protected by the almighty Unesco. The streets are filled with cobble stones, colourful houses and there are plenty of restaurants, bars and shops. The city is surrounded by mysterious looking hills, where you can hike as well. That wasn’t very safe though, but a visit to the market, the art museum and the central park will fill up your days. My favourite lunch room: Ochenta Y Tres (7 Av Norte # 24 a).
After a few days acclimatizing in Antigua I took a shuttle bus to Lago Atitlan. You can arrange this at one of the plenty travel agencies. The shuttle will drop you of at Panajachel from where you can get a ferry (small boat) to one of the villages around the lake. We went for San Marcos, a hippie/yoga/mediation walhalla being said. The ferry ride is super pretty and when you arrive at the village, the zen vibe welcomes you.
We had a bit of trouble finding available rooms, so book ahead! I ended up in Hostel Del Lago: hippie pur sang. The staff was friendly, the food was nice and the views over the lake were astonishing. Unfortunately it wasn’t safe to make hikes around the village, so we relaxed in San Marcos for a couple of days before heading back to Antigua. Try out restaurant Il Giardino.
what’s more in Guatemala?
As everyone we met was going mad about the natural cascades called ‘Semuc Champey’ I will recommend you to see it for your self if you have time! From Antigua it’s a drive of ca. 7 hours on a shuttle bus. You find the mother of the Maya ruins all the way north in Tikal. Flores is a nice village on the way to visit the ruins from.
find more Practical Information about Central America.