Sunday, January 27, 2013

Volcano Hiking

Yes. Definitely my favorite thing so far, but I doubt that comes as a surprise. We woke up bright and early and stuffed far too many people into a van and drove very fast to the city of San Martin. The hike took us first through an indigenous community, which was filled with smiling children, a crowd around a freshly butchered cow, and colorful, gorgeous buildings. Something I found interesting was when our guide informed us (as I proudly understood his Spanish!!!) that seeing a random comparatively nice house indicated that the family had relatives working in the U.S. and sending back money. And it was definitely noticeable.

All the way up, aside from glorious forest, were views of the town in the valley and the squares of farmland stretching up and down the hills. Once we reached the top, however, we could see several more volcanoes in the distance, including an active one! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves here, although as always, they don’t do the experience justice.

After descending 600 stairs we emerged at a lake where sacred Mayan ceremonies are held. The surrounding mountains are where many battles of the war were fought. One of our guides was an ex-guerilla combatant and you better believe he had some interesting stories. I’m thankful he was willing to share these memories with us. I’ll post again sometime soon with some general information about the civil war so this makes more sense to someone unfamiliar with this piece of history! 

The hotel roof in Antigua.

Indigenous farms we saw on the way to Xela

Bread shaped like a turtle with chocolate filling!! Too good!

View from the hill in Xela


The beginning of our hike!

I just thought it was cool that the wood is orange.

The people of the village grow potatoes for export.

Not positive, but I think this is the biggest volcano in Central America

And this one is active!!!

The active volcano is the one you can barely see because of the lighting,

La laguna where many Mayan ceremonies are held. 

Yummy mango!!

And then on the way back we were suddenly in a cloud!

An adorable little boy was proudly showing off his cow!

A few houses from the village


  1. Sorry, are Mayan ceremonies still happening? I thought the Mayans were gone..

  2. I mean, the massive civilization and their power and control over the region is long gone, but its not like every person of Mayan descent was wiped out. So they still practice traditional ceremonies and there are many indigenous villages where they live more or less traditionally.