From jungle pyramids to lakeside volcanoes in Guatemala


I had planned to spend far longer in Guatemala but it felt like we didn’t need to spend too much time there after all, and once again the rains are never ending. We were the only people from our bus to be dropped at a small lakeside village near Tikal rather than Flores so we found a tiny little guesthouse for the night and woke up for sunset at the ruins. It was entirely worth it because we had the site to ourselves so we climbed to the top of temple 4 and looked at the view of all the other temples sticking out of the canopy in the mist. Turns out we werent even meant to be up there because so many people had slipped recently but our guide failed to mention that as the three of us casually ate breakfast at the top. This is truly a place where it is worth hiring a guide, wandering around on your own is probably a waste of an entrance fee. The complex is absolutely enormous, you could spend days walking aimlessly around the sites, but our guide cut through the jungle to take shortcuts, despite this saving time the mosquitoes were savage and biting me through my clothes. You win some you lose some!
Next stop was Flores, a quaint island joined by a road to the mainland at the edge of the lake. This too had been hit hard by the rains and the outer road around the tiny land mass was submerged in all but a few places. We took a kayak out to a rope swing on the lake to get some exercise before a journey from hell to reach Lake Antitlan. We took a nightbus to Guatemala City and arrived 2 hours late thanks to the incessant need to stop regularly to cool the engine down. We got on the next bus to Antigua (another travel phenomenon I will discuss later), all was looking fine despite the late departure, we start to leave the carpark until we hear a loud bang. The height restriction rail above went undetected by our driver who proceeded to detatch the whole roof rack containing all of the luggage. So we waited for a pick up truck to come along and drive ahead with all the bags. By now we had been on the road for over 15 hours and were slightly unimpressed by the extra delay to say the least. Finally we made it to our next destination and penultimate leg og the journey. Now Antigua is a really strange place in so much that it is, of course an undoubtedly beautiful city of world heritage, however people seem to speak of it as though it is the Mecca of the travel universe. In my jaded tired out colonial city hopper opinion it is much like a lot of other similar sites across central America, albeit this is a particularly pretty one, but people bang on about it with false claims that they plan to move there. My assumption is that it has great nightlife and therefore the aforementioned people met other great travelers there and have a biased outlook, but seriously guys in the cold light of day its great, but it ain’t that great. We then got yet another bus and then a water taxi to San Pedro overlooking Lake Antitlan, a grand total of 22 hours of transport aboard 5 different vessels.
Thankfully the rain eased in time for us to enjoy the lake and volcano in all its glory. There was a fantastic spot on the lake with the remains of a flooded tree, the whole area was submerged which meant the kids took full advantage to jump off it. We also climbed San Pedro volcano, a sweaty 8 hour trek up through the clouds and back which destroyed us but the views were worth it. My calf mucles suffered as a consequence due to days on buses subsequently after. The view of the lake from the balcony was incredible and the street food was amazing so there was no need to move on too fast but we had sadly spent so much time trying to constantly alter our flights with no success so we reluctantly had to leave this peaceful spot to accommodate El Salvador.


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