I have always wanted to go to Guatemala for the last 16 years. Ever since we had bed and breakfast guests who had adopted two beautiful little girls from there. It’s always stuck in my memory and I wanted to see where they came from. Marisol and Esme they were called, two sisters adopted pretty young and now growing up in the UK. They’d prob be late teens now 🙈
Anyways, so county number 2 is Guatemala!!!! And it has not disappointed whatsoever!
Crossing into Guatemala actually wasn’t too bad, we handed over our passports and £22 quid to leave Mexico, and handed over our passports 10 mins later, and paid £1 to enter Guatemala! We also changed shuttle which was a massive kerfuffle with lots of shouting in Spanish from the Guatemalan drivers that were taking over from the Mexican drivers – was entertaining to watch! Bags and people everywhere.
Anyways onwards to Antigua – another 8 hours to go! (13 in total) I spent most of that time staring out of the bus whilst everyone else slept. I never have been any good at sleeping on busses. The landscape is beautiful, the chicken buses so colourful and the roads are…. well barely roads. There is lots of winding and weaving to avoid major holes or in some places, road collapses.
We met an American guy on our bus who’d lived in Antigua for 40 years and had lived a fascinating live. He was telling me all about Guatemala and desperately hoping they’d let him back in as they’d forgotten to stamp that he’d left – he was on the way back from his mum’s 90th bday in USA. Really interesting guy although I didn’t know where to look as he only had one eye!!!
Finally made it to Antigua about 9pm and our hostel was lovely – Cucuruchos Boutique hostel. The people were so friendly and the beds so good! Haha and a bottom bunk! Get in – small things when travelling. Having released we were absolutely starving we decided to pop out quickly to grab something to eat. We found quite a fancy restaurant, which wasn’t too expensive and we were in and out within 20 mins. Was so exhausted.
The next day we set about exploring Antigua. My first impression was that is beautiful but not as amazing as San Cristobal in Mexico which I had loved. At closer inspection they are both similar colonial towns – SC is much more buzzy and vibrant and Antigua’s charm and uniqueness is the fact it’s surrounded by volcanoes. Climbing the view point was pretty spectacular- even if it was the first point I realised I was really unfit
I could have sat and stared at that volcano for days haha. Always have had a fascination with them, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to do my degree ( not that we studied any kind of volcanology).
Wandering the cobbled streets was incredible, any which way you turned there was a volcano.
Also lots of churches and ruins to explore
The next day Lucy, who I’ve been travelling with was going to do an over night hike up Volcano Acatenango – everyone I’d spoken too said it was really hard and for the very fit so rather disappointedly I decided it was best I didn’t do it. Looking back now, maybe I could have but it was 6-7 hours hiking up a Volcano, then an hour and a half at dawn walking up to the summit to watch the opposite Volcano Fuego erupting. So instead I stayed in Antigua and watched it erupt from a distance haha
Whilst hilariously attempting to make a video for Maddie’s hen the following weekend that I was missing. It took me at least three attempts as I was sweaty horrid mess! Sorry Maddie 😊
When Lucy returned the following day, she was broken and totally exhausted. At that moment in time I was feeling pretty happy I hadn’t done it. I’d read about one of the 4* hotels with a pool letting backpackers use the pool for a price. So we set off in hunt of a bit or ‘r n r’ ( not that I deserved it). The hotel was lovely and it was nice to have towels haha and a beautiful pool. Closed my eyes and for 5 minutes forgot I was backpacking and staying in bunk beds for the next 6 months. Luxury travel in Guatemala seems pretty nice if anyone is interested!
That night we met up with Malte, a German guy who’d been on our bus from Mexico 🇲🇽 – he’d been off climbing volcanoes too so they were both exhausted. So after a gorgeous meal at Cactus Taco’s – would highly recommend anyone who goes to Antigua to check this place out. So good!! We settled in for a 2 hour, hilarious game of Cards against Humanity. It was the USA version which had some very strange cards which we barely understood, let alone explaining them to Malte.
The next day we were off the lakes! I think that can be instalment two of Guatemala
P.s I should explain the title! In all the markets I’ve come across there are t-shirts that say Guatsup or Guatever which are brilliant and awful at the same time!