Tag Archive for 'monterrico'

Guatemala, Days 8-9 – Monterrico, Guatemala City

Recently I went on a trip to Guatemala. These are days 8-9 of my 9 day account.

We catch a morning bus to Monterrico with a true hippie. He’s got dreads and everything, a vegan (of course) and he is out there to save the world. Driving out to the coast highlights the marked difference between the steep highlands and the incredibly flat lowlands. It’s the first time I’ve seen flat land in a while, and I am loving it.

At one point we reach a river that we have to cross. Nearby is a brand new bridge, but we end up taking this bizarre ferry so that the driver can save a few dollars. Definitely an experience, though I don’t know if I would want to do it again.

After we arrive in Monterrico, we immediately drop all our stuff at the Hotel Dos Mundos and head out to the pool. The pool is almost an infinity pool (no infinity edge but overlooking the ocean. We have a few fantastic pina coladas, which are served in hollowed out pineapples. Then we make our way to the beach, which is hot since the sand is completely black! The ocean current is far too strong to swim in, and the sand is too sharp and black to be hospitable, but it is still relaxing and beautiful, which is what we need after our harried journey.

We walk along the beach waiting for the sun to set and I take some nice pics. Later, we see baby leatherback turtles being released to the ocean. It is really cute.

Unfortunately I am feeling sick from an awful meal we had by the market in Chichichastenango, and I develop a fever and what I’ll mercifully call “digestive problems.” Unfortunately that means I can’t check out the nightlife.

The next day, we spend the better part of the day at the beach, enjoying ceviche and taking in some sun. Around mid afternoon, the bus is back to take us back to Guatemala City. On the way back we see a volcano fully erupting, a good omen I think!

Our beach stay was not long, but it was definitely refreshing! We return to Guatemala City and stay at the Intercontinental (link2), skipping the Otelito, since it is the same price and in my view, the Intercontinental is much nicer. We go out for a bit and take in more nightlife, but crash early as we have early morning flights back to NYC.

And there you have it!

Guatemala, Days 6-7 – Chichicastenango

Recently I went on a trip to Guatemala. These are days 6-7 of my 9 day account.

Of course, we are up early to catch the morning bus to Chichi. Coming along with us is a French diplomat and his wife, who are very friendly. He has a pretty cool life – he gets to travel around to different countries but I imagine its tough when you have to relocate all the time.

The trip is long and punctuated by wrong turns and random delays. We are stuck in a traffic jam caused by a landslide for over an hour, as the machines move the rubble.

Upon entering Chichi, we were initially unimpressed. It’s more of a village than a town. And a dusty one at that. We check into our hotel, the Santo Tomas, which is actually quite beautiful.

After we’ve settled in, we head to the market square. As it is Wednesday afternoon, the market is not yet in full swing (Thursdays and Sundays are the main days for the market. Still, it gives us a chance to look around, check out the church, and scope the market for tomorrow. I was particularly interested in the church because of its syncretic characteristics (the town’s church combines elements of Christianity and Mayan religion). A funeral happened to be taking place as we passed by.

Another characteristic of this town is the huge mural that covers two inner walls surrounding the market.

After we surveyed the market, there was not much to do so we checked out Lonely Planet’s suggestion to check out the idol at a nearby hilltop. Walking to this idol seemed scary and dangerous, not because it was in the middle of the woods, but because it was so out of the way and unpopulated, heightening the fear that we would be robbed. We walked by a machete store and got directions to make sure we were on the right path. He was a really sweet old man and asked if we wanted a machete. I wondered if I needed one! In any case, the idol was not worth the hike, but it was a cool and scary adventure nonetheless.

We then retired to the hotel and ate there as well. The food was uneventful and the wine terrible. We did have a great local rum at the bar, however. Afterwards, we returned to our room which was freezing. We tried to light the chimney ourselves but it was damn difficult and we gave up (the staff would have lit the fire but we didn’t bother).

The next day we did all of our shopping. In retrospect, I wish I had bought more here, because they really have stuff you don’t find anywhere else in Guatemala, even in Antigua. There were some really nice silk scarves and other things as well. You must bargain with everyone, and it makes sense to start at half of what anyone is offering you and not go too far past 60 percent as a final price. Even then, you are likely being ripped off, especially on the wooden Mayan masks that are so popular.

Having learned that there is no direct shuttle bus to Monterrico, we headed back to Antigua with the idea that we would hit an early morning bus to Monterrico the next day. This bus was larger, and absolutely packed. We ran into another traffic jam, of course. This one was slightly different though, in that it was enormous, and it seemed almost designed to create a local economy in peddlers and roadside vendors. It otherwise didn’t make sense that the vendors where to expect the traffic jam on a highway.

If I had the opportunity to do it again, I would not stay two days in Chichicastenango — there just isn’t enough to do there. Better to catch an early morning Thursday bus and return the same evening. Also, the travel options are not great going to or from Chichi on any other day besides Thursday.

We arrived in Antigua and returned to our old standby hotel, Quinta de las Flores, since Casa Azul is sold out. No matter. We retire early in the night, to rest up for our early morning shuttle to Monterrico. Beach, here we come!