Guatemala

Sneaking into THE Mayan ruins of Guatemala: Tikal

Written by Tyler Cole | 14 May 2010

 

tikal gran plazaAfter the natural wonder of Semuc Champey, I made my way to the man-made wonder of Tikal in northern Guatemala, one of (if not) the most impressive and largest Mayan ruins uncovered to date. It was popular to go early in the morning, but I wasn´t in the mood to wake up at 4:30 in the morning. Besdies, I was working out a strategy to get in for free or cheap to Tikal after talking with some Norwegians who managed to get somone´s ticket and use it to get in for half-price. The tickets worked out to about 21 USD (not including transport there), so I was eager to find some way to dodge the price. I would have gladly paid if I was more financially endowed, but when I´m trying to keep my budget around 15 dollars a day this sort of thing is quite a burden. I was not without moral qualums, and I roundabout justified it by telling myself they wouldn´t have made it so easy to sneak in if they weren´t actually winking figuratively at the poor, saavy traveler while trying to extract as much money as possible from the suitcase travelers (there was no student price since those a frequently abused, just a Guatemalan citizen price that was about 3 dollars). After taking a look at a few people´s tickets who

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The elevated waterfalls of Semuc Champey

Written by Tyler Cole | 14 May 2010

semuc champey guatemalaAfter leaving from Lago Atitlán I made my way to the obligatory Guatemalan tourist destination of Semuc Champey (the other being Tikal, some impressive Mayan ruins), a set of limestone waterfalls that split from and are elevated above the river that feeds it. Half the ride there was kept busy by a clearly and admittedly post traumatic stress disorder-suffering American vet of Iraq/Afghanistan who had a strong scent of rum on his breath at 9am in the morning. He had no reservations about getting teary-eyed while recounting stories during the war and how he was injured and sent home to pass time on the streets of Boston before getting himself together. Although, not all of his stories were war-related, the one coming to mind about his brief romance with the Nicaraguan finance minister´s daughter (the image of him brashly holding up his hand in an okay sign while half-yelling, "Mmmm, tight as a whistle!" with a bus full of Nicaraguans staring at the scene will remain comically stuck in my head). Needless to say it was an intense bus ride, and he definitely left an impression on

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Two dollar kayaks and firejugglers: Lago Atitlán (San Pedro de la Laguna)

Written by Tyler Cole | 14 May 2010

 

fire thrower san pedro de la laguna lago atitlan guatemalaAs happens often when traveling, I met a few people in the hostel and the bus towards Lago Atitlán from Antigua and we formed a ragtag ad hoc travel clique consisting of Alen the Slovenian/Aussie, Jean Cristophe (aka Volkan) the Frenchman, Sally/Steve/Laura the Britons, and Florian the German. We all ended up staying in the same place and kayaking the next day (we bargained hard and got the kayaks for two dollars for half the day) to a nearby town on the lake where there was a nice view and a 12 meter cliff to jump off. At night there was quite the impressive fire throwing show at one of the local tourist bars. Pictures below.

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The colonial cities are starting to blend together (Antigua, Guatemala)

Written by Tyler Cole | 14 May 2010

cathedral antiguaMy first stop in Guatemala, I was pleasantly surprised by the cool weather in Antigua. It had all the trappings of a really nice colonial city (plazas, nice catherdrals, colorful buildings), with the added twist of collapsed cathedrals from natural distasters in the past. Yet still it wasn´t quite enough to keep me there for more than a night before going to San Pedro de la Laguna on Lago Atitlán with a few people I met in the hostel.
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Recent Photos

Camping in Puerto Olbaldia along the Atlantic.JPG
Leaf cutter ants in the Darien.JPG
The crystal clear waters of Porvenir.JPG
The jungle of the Darien.JPG
The ornate mola of the Kuna Yala people.JPG
Wax plams in Salento.JPG
a central plaza in tikal.JPG
a compass while hitching back to the US from mexico.JPG
a fire juggler near lago atitlan.JPG
a semuc champey in guatemala.JPG
a the market in san cristobal.JPG
a zapatista graffiti while in san cristobal.JPG
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