From the jungles to the lakes – serene and breath taking
Having to physically drag myself out of Belize after 10 joyful days there, we took a boat out of Belize to enter the shores of Livingston in Guatemala. Even though it was only 40 miles away from the border of the uber cool country of Belize, the only common element shared was the stifling hot weather.
Chapter 1: Welcome to Immigration… at my shack and Semuc Champey
We were a little anxious at how strict the customs regulation in Livingston would be, given that we were carrying 2 boxes of Cubanos on us, but all those anxieties were shot down instantly when a man in a white singlet welcome us to his shack, that well into the border and noted out passport numbers and names down in a little black book and then said, “pase!”. In we were, safe with our cigars.
We spent our first night in a little hostel right beside the river of ‘Rio Dulce’. Given the stinking hot climate, there was little else to do but jump into the cool, inviting waters of the river. The next day we got onto what the Guatemalans call a ‘bus’, but upon further interrogation about the size of the vehicle are quick to term it a ‘Micro’. A Micro it certainly was, as we had to fit in 13 passengers in a tiny mini van with barely any leg room for anyone above 5 feet. Custom built for the population I suppose. Nevertheless, 7 hours and just the solitary breakdown later, we were at the outskirts of the national park of Semuc Champey.
We setup tent nearby the river whilst making sure that we were well away from the leaf cutter ants that had threatened to take over our tent at Belize. This was the umpteenth instance of us camping and I have nothing but respect and pride in Dee for doing what most girls would shy from – traveling the world with barely 5 tops, 1 pair of shoes, with a vanity kit the size of her palm and an aptitude for the outdoors!
We met Steve and Tania from Malta at Semuc Champey, who were incidentally the first ever Maltese people we’d ever met and the 4 of us headed out next morning to soak ourselves in the magical, freshwater natural pools at the park.
Chapter 2: Antigua and the lake
We set about on yet another lengthy Guatemalan travel experience from Semuc Champey to the colonial city of Antigua in a micro. By the time it had broken down in the middle of nowhere, all my cool and calmness was lost and I found myself arguing vehemently with anyone in my way for the next 2 hours. Times like these was when I wished I was back in South America, where although the same could have happened, the chances of it happening were measurably less.
After 10 painful hours in the micro, we were glad to be welcomed into moderately cool city of Antigua. It’s a very picturesque city that has the majestic active volcano Pacaya enveloping it. We spent 3 days of exploring the tiny little markets, cafes and cobblestone streets of this tiny yet captivating city and used the opportunity to gain some much needed rest for our tired bodies.
After recharging our batteries, we headed to the town of San Pedro, one of the numerous villages that border the magnificent Lago Atitlan. There….we further recharged our batteries, I further enhanced my cooking skills by mastering the Brasilian specialty of fried pineapple with cinnamon and spent plenty of time sipping on my mate
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