Monday, February 11, 2013

A chicken bus to paradise

This weekend we had no scheduled activities, so all 16 of us decided to head to Lago de Atitlan, a notoriously gorgeous area of Guatemala nestled in between the mountains of volcanoes. We stayed at a hotel/hostel called La Iguana Perdida. The place is very much geared towards extra├▒jeros- during the course of the weekend I heard mostly English, but aside from Spanish also Russian, German, French, and a looooot of different accents!  We swam, hiked, ate at a restaurant where a lot of locals from around the world hang out, watched phenomenal sunrises and sunsets, and spent a decent amount of time reading in a hammock. They also serve dinner there (staying for the night is 30Q, and dinner is 60Q, the equivalent of about $8) and it was some of the best food I’ve even eaten! Chicken and pasta and carrots and beans and rice and bread and brownies (and rum and coke for a mere 10Q!)… it was GREAT. I needed some time in the fresh air after a week of Spanish and the fact that it was essentially a mini Caribbean vacation definitely didn’t hurt morale.

I think the only reason the entire world doesn’t live there is because getting there is a bit of an adventure. We had to take a bus for three hours and then ride across a very choppy lake on a little tiny boat after haggling with several boat operators in order to not pay the “tourist price” of approximately A LOT more than they would charge the locals. There are port towns located all around the lake, so the bus took us to Panachel, which is a very scenic and touristy place with many shops and restaurants. Our boat took us to our port of Santa Cruz, one of the more relaxing and safe places to be.

The bus ride on the way there wasn’t bad, except for the obnoxiously fast turns going up and down mountains. I have heard a lot of people speak of bus experiences in Latin America, going on roads with little or no guardrails through the mountains at about 90 MPH…. that was basically our experience. Also, there is a saying that down here that there is no such thing as a full bus. Our ride home allowed us to experience this. If each seat had 2 people then the bus should have held 32 plus a driver. I counted 76 bodies aboard for this lovely three hour journey! 

Our treehouse-esque cabin
Just a cool mural.
and sunrise!

Word on the street is that these ducks migrated down from Michigan for the winter.
Various views from our hike!

What a cool place to hang out!
My playmate
A giant red cloth rope to climb.
A banana tree!!!
Our crew on the boat ride back

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