Antigua, Guatemala Part 2

After the driver forgetting to pick us up for the volcano trek we re-booked for 7am. As I mentioned previously, Antigua isn’t the warmest place so it was a shock to the system!

Joe and I pulled out our hiking boots and got ready for a day of trekking!

Check out this landscape…

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The trek took us from the bottom of the volcano up halfway and then around the back. The previous days trek had proven getting to the top was too difficult as it was thick in smoke. Our guide decided to take us around the back and toward a new crater that had developed and had recently released a stream of lava.
The landscape went from green trees and bushes to black ash within seconds.

The ash was so difficult to walk on and the wind picked up and was blowing down the side of the volcano… We nearly lost a few!

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As we got close the the lava it started heating up.

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Made our way back with our group

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On our way back we found a little pub to have some dinner in. Who would have thought we would have found this in Guatemala?!

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And we had a few of these…

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Antigua, Guatemala

Disappearing into the abstract countryside of Guatemala we came across a city called Antigua. It’s fairly far into the country and surrounded by 3 volcanos, one if which is still active. However this made Antigua bloody cold!
The feel of the city was very colonial, bright and beautiful.

We arrived at 7am from the overnight bus and killed some time by wondering around the beautiful city and going to the local market.

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The variety of the fruit and vegetables are unbelievable and everything seems 10 times the size of our fruit at home!
We walked through the bus station. In Guatemala they use old American school buses as public buses. Drivers “pimp” their buses so they are all different. Most are covered in bright graffiti, with names on the front, and LED lights everywhere. They are so loud and have funny musical horns.

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Pretty much fell in love with the city as soon as we arrived. Found ourselves looking to do some activities for the next few days. Antigua has a lot to offer in the way of tours and sightseeing. So we booked to go on a 3 hour trek to volcano pacaya. Talking to several people we were told you would trek to the top and roast marsh-mellows.
Now, I will let you into a small secret that absolutely nothing runs on time in Guatemala…
The tour was booked for 1pm, after sitting in 25 degrees with 7 layers on and walking boots for an hour and a half we discovered the bus had forgotten to pick us up.

So, change of costume and off we went to hire some bikes to explore the town in greater detail.
The chap we rented bikes off gave us a very vague map and told us that the route was 30km all the way around the city.

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It was so refreshing. But of course… We got lost!

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We asked a few of the locals and they said to keep heading straight. After about an hour we found ourselves in Guatemalan shanty town.
All the corner shops would serve through metal bars and we got stared at an awful lot. Hence there not being any pictures of this area!
Luckily after a mild panic attack and bumping into the very few friendly locals we found ourself back on the highway to the safer end of town!
After the shock, a brew was in order.

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More adventures in Antigua to come.

Flores, Guatemala

Wow, Guatemala is going to be a big one so I’m going to break it down into sections!

We left Belize at some sort of ridiculous time in the morning with a group of Irish and Canadian girls we had met, of course Joe loved being the only boy! Boat to Belize City and then an 8 hour bus journey to Flores in Guatemala. We chose this as our first destination as it is a complete contrast to where we had just come from in Belize.

Flores is situated in the north of Guatemala and is a small island on lake P├ęten Itza.
The view was remarkable.

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There was severe flooding on the island just before we arrived. But it appeared that it was a common problem.
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The island took just an hour to walk all the way around, it was vibrant with colour and beautifully decorated. The stores were full of Guatemalan arts and crafts.
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The evening of our arrival we were welcomed by fireworks, a street party and a parade… I would like to say it was for us but it was the final night of the “Black Christ” festival. It had been going on for over a week and people came from all over Central America to celebrate it on the island.
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Fire crackers and fireworks were let off in the street which caused crazy amount of smoke.
And the parade followed closely behind with a statue of The Black Christ.

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The next day we took a tour to the famous Tikal ruins, again from the Mayans. The best time to see the ruins and wildlife is early in the morning. So we set out at 4am!
Jaguars are rumoured to rule these ruins… Unfortunately we didn’t catch any. But we saw toucans, spider monkeys, howling monkeys and a tarantula (yuk).

The ruins were even more impressive than the ruins in Chichen Itza in Mexico.

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We spent a day wondering the streets of this Guatemalan gem and sampled some of their famous coffee… And of course beer.a href=”https://abbfabulous.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/20140209-202504.jpg”>20140209-202504.jpg20140209-201734.jpg20140209-201811.jpg20140209-201825.jpg20140209-201748.jpg20140209-201955.jpg20140209-202020.jpg

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On to Antigua…. Until next time!