Guatemala: 1/22 – 1/28

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San Pedro (Lake Atitlan) >>> Antigua >>> Monterrico >>> Antigua

 

1/22
+ Woke up and had breakfast for the last time with our family. Some sort of weird hot oatmeal and milk soup thing that wasn’t good, but wasn’t bad, just a little weird.
+ Went to our last day of Spanish class and the school had a graduation ceremony for all of the students who were finishing their last day. Both of our maestras introduced us and we both spoke to everyone in Español about our experience in San Pedro.
+ We definitely made major progress with our Spanish abilities, especially Liz who started at almost zero. We are able to carry on conversations with our teachers for 20+ minutes at a time, entirely in Spanish! (Although we each make many many grammar conjugation mistakes) However, we know that outside the school people speak much faster and less clearly so we still tend to struggle to understand everything at times.
+ After class we gave our teachers their presents (little zip up clutch purses from a local tienda), took pictures and said goodbye to our school.
+ After eating 1 last time with our family, we packed up our stuff and moved out of the room/house. We said goodbye to the family members that were there, but most were gone so we promised to return the next day for a photo.
+ We then bought tickets for the boat to another nearby pueblo called Santiago to explore for the afternoon. While waiting for the boat we got some delicious licuados from a restaurant that the son in the family we stayed with manages, and talked with him for a while.
+ On the boat ride to Santiago, the water was pretty rough with lots of splashing into the boat so lots of people were wet by the time we arrived. Luckily it was hot and sunny outside so no big deal.
+ The town of Santiago was a bit disappointing with not much to do, so we just walked the streets for most of the time. We did however watch a large group of teens and guys playing some sort of soccer game with a mini sized ball where the object was not to get the ball in the net, but to hit the pole of the basketball hoop (they were playing on a basketball court). That was really interesting and entertaining.
+ On the way back to the boat, we stopped into a nice looking little cafe to get Liz a nutella cappuccino (and secretly needed a place to use the restroom). The barista was very friendly and also very talented at making drawings with the foam. He made Liz a cute bear that said “Love You”. Afterwards, he offered to let us make a drawing, but we declined the embarrassment that would have ensued to watch him make another one instead. Really cool! (Especially to Corey since he’s never in a Coffee shop)
+ The boat ride back was really intense with lots of major rocking and we were praying we wouldn’t capsize in our tiny boat the whole time (especially since it was very dark). Luckily, the boat captain took precautions and put up a bunch of tarps this time to block all the splashing.
+ Finally back on land safely, we checked into a new hostel we would be staying at for 2 nights on the other side of town (near all of the tourist shops and restaurants instead of the residential area we had been in).
+ Our hostel was called Mr. Mullets and is known as a party hostel, so we opted for a private room instead of a dorm so we could escape the madness when necessary.
+ Although quite a long day already, we wanted to celebrate the completion of our Spanish school, so we headed down the street to another hostel that was having it’s weekly trivia night (same as last week – Hostel Fe).
+ Luckily, we ran into James and Jonathan from our Homestay at trivia and we all teamed up again for the game. We tied with 2 other teams for 1st so to determine the winner, there was a chugging contest with 1 person from each team. James went up, but unfortunately didn’t win so we finished 3rd but were happy with our prize of 5 free tequila shots.
+ After many cervezas and Tequila there, we headed to another hot spot called Sublime. A really cool place situated right on the lake, the place was half filled with hippies vegging out and smoking weed and the other half with people dancing and drinking the night away. We situated ourselves in the middle at a campfire and talked to people.
+ We ended up meeting another guy who went to FSU the same time we did and talked about travel plans.
+ After some time we finally called it a night and luckily only had to walk a little bit back to our hostel instead of all the way across town again to the homestay.

1/23
+ Woke up with Corey feeling a little sick, but since it was our last full day in San Pedro, we wanted to make the most of it.
+ In the hostel garden we had our free breakfast of chocolate pancakes for Corey and an English muffin with eggs and fruit for Liz. Not half bad for a free hostel breakfast!
+ Afterwards we caught a boat to go to Panajachel for the day, another town across the lake. Panajachel is the biggest and most touristy of all the towns around the lake, but we were not interested in shopping the local street market stalls.
+ We quickly caught a taxi to the main attraction of the city, Reserva Natural. It is a big animal reserve with lots of cool zip lining through the jungle and over the lake!
+ Corey opted to do the most extreme zip lining option, while Liz was content with walking through the pretty gardens and looking at the various waterfalls.
+ After getting the harnesses on the whole group, we all walked up the mountain for about 30 minutes to the launch point of the first zip line. Along the way, we stopped to observe a bunch of Coatimundi and Spider Monkeys playing and eating bananas!
+ At the top, Liz said goodbye as Corey and the group began their zip line adventure. She spent the next couple hours hiking, taking pictures, observing the animals and talking with a nice Kentucky family she met.
+ Corey did a total of 8 different zip lines, ranging from a few hundred feet, to over 2000 feet on some of them! Amazing views while gliding over the lake of all the mountains, volcanoes, and the city!
+ At the end of the tour, we met up as Liz watched Corey (and the rest of the group) struggle through the little ropes course at the end of the tour.
+ We then headed straight for the butterfly garden which was very pretty with tons of different butterflies!
+ Next we hiked to the park’s private beach which was really pretty and had a lot of really cool looking, giant gnarly trees seemingly holding back the massive rocks from tumbling into the water!
+ Afterwards we decided to take 1 last look at the Coatimundi and monkeys and were delighted to find them much more friendly and abundant than earlier in the afternoon! They walked all around us (and some almost tried to climb on us!) and we took a bunch of photos and videos for a while until we said our goodbyes.
+ With no taxi or tuk tuks around the reserve when we left, we walked half an hour back into town. Luckily, we had amazing views from the road/mountain side of the sunset and various boats cruising the picturesque lake.
+ In town, we grabbed some delicious street food, said “No, gracious” to about 500 different street vendors, then caught a boat back to San Pedro (much smoother ride this time thankfully!)
+ As promised to our host family, we made the trek back to that side of town and said proper goodbyes and took pictures with them. We really enjoyed our time with them and felt very sad to be leaving them and San Pedro, both of which we had come to love and feel comfortable with.
+ San Pedro is definitely our favorite city we have visited so far! We would definitely come back to visit 1 day, and can see why so many tourists either spend a few months here, or end up moving to permanently and becoming ex pats.
+ We ended the night just hanging out in our hostel and readying ourselves for our first travel day in nearly 2 weeks!

1/24
+ Woke up for our last half day in San Pedro. Had some delicious breakfast at our hostel and then checked out.
+ Walked over to hotel Mikaso to take pictures of the city and mountains
+ Hung out at a nice restaurant on the lake called “Lake House” where we sat in swinging chairs, did research on the Internet, and had pizza and green tea.
+ Before jumping on the bus to Antigua, Liz made one last stop at a smoothie bar and got a oreo+banana+Nutella smoothie. IT WAS SO GOOD!
+ Rode in the crammed shuttle bus to Antigua and found our hostel named “Terrace Hostel” after arriving.
+ Ate dinner at Monoloco  (crazy monkey) where they were showing the nfl playoff games (with lots of American fans there too!). Food was very westernized- huge portions and much more expensive than we were used to in San Pedro!

1/25
+ Walked around the city and took pictures of the famed old churches of Antigua.
+ Decided on lunch at a Indian place. Delicious and cheap!
+ Booked a tour to Monterrico for tomorrow with a nice local guide named Pablo.
+ Made our way back to our hostel for the 4pm bar crawl!
+ Made new friends and explored 4 or 5 other bars and hostels as one big group. Played a hybrid version of Beer Pong and Flip Cup at one bar, and a funny game remembering alternate names for numbers at another bar.
+ After we got back from the bar crawl, Corey and I ate gourmet burritos at El Burro down the street from our hostel.

1/26
+ Shuttle to Monterrico picked us up around 8.
+ We arrived at Monterrico around 10:30 and were both groggy from napping in the shuttle.
+ After declining multiple offers of tours from locals, we made our way to Tortuguerio Monterrico, an animal nature reserve close by.
+ One of the same guides was there again and showed us around the small animal sanctuary. Iguanas, caiman, fish, freshwater turtles, and one very sad looking sea turtle.
+ Corey released one baby turtle into the ocean! They said it was an olive ridley but it looked just like a loggerhead to me.
+ Afterwards, we walked back down the beach and found a cafe with hammocks right on the sand. We both ordered a licuado and relaxed in the hammocks.
+ The sand here is black! I believe it is from the multiple volcanos nearby.
+ The waves are very rough here with multiple undercurrents. Swimming is not advised but it’s very pretty! Much hotter here than any other city in Guatemala so far.
+ Often when the large waves swelled before the break, you could see multiple sting rays in them illuminated by the sun.
+ Corey braved the waves and swam for a bit and body surfed the biggest waves he’s ever been in!
+ Caught our shuttle back to Antigua, and this time we were the only passengers in the whole van! (Often, the shuttle companies completely pack the whole bus to maximize their profit for the trip, so this was a pleasant new experience for us.)
+ Ate dinner at a cheap, Mexican restaurant.
+ Got late night coffee and hot chocolate at rainbow cafe. We just missed some cool didgeridoo music!

1/27
+ Explored the huge markets with everything from arts and crafts, clothes and underwear and even pirated dvds!
+ In the market, we were casually looking for a place for lunch. A local woman noticed we may be interested and started strongly pulling Corey’s arm towards her little food stand. Then another local woman from across the walkway started pulling Corey’s other arm across towards her cafe! Liz turned around and noticed Corey was being aggressively pulled in different directions! To settle this ASAP we said ok ok and went with the first local woman to her family’s table. The food (chicken, rice, and coleslaw type salad) was delicious and cheap and we were happy to finish the meal in 1 piece.
+ We had initially entered the market to find a new bathing suit for Corey. After asking a few guys in the market, we kept being directed “just around this corner” repeatedly. We eventually found our way to a large supermarket outside the traditional market and realized this was where they had been directing us just in very fast spanish!
+ Bought a few snacks and a new bathing suit for Corey.
+ On the way back to the hostel, we stopped to satisfy Liz’s soda craving at the fanciest McDonald’s we had ever seen. There were lush gardens and a fountain, along with a very European McCafe area.
+ Guatemala is known for their coffee and chocolate. Antigua has a whole museum dedicated to chocolate! We decided to not purchase a chocolate workshop where you learn how to make your own chocolate bar. Instead, we tried many samples and then got some fondue with fresh fruit. Yum!
+ After much deliberation about our next destination,  we decided to skip El Salvador this trip and head to Honduras. We would have liked to visit both countries but transportation between them seemed more costly and more complicated. We decided to head directly for Copan, Honduras from Antigua.
+ Before leaving our hostel  for dinner, we realized the water seemed to be turned off. Not thinking much of it, we set off for dinner.
+ Antigua has tons and tons of restaurants and bars varying from pretty cheap (<$5 per person) to very expensive for the budget backpacker  (> $20 per person).
+ We finally decided on a small pizza place and found out the water was out here as well!
+ After asking the waitress and later our hostel owner, we were told that Antigua will periodically shut off the water with no warning and for who knows how long. We were warned it may be  1 hour or it may be 12!
+ Luckily the water came back after about 5 hours. I have never been so happy to hear the sound of flushing toilets!

1/28
+ We checked out the artisinal “handicrafts” area of the market. No great finds. Corey did find even more DragonBall Z merchandise! DragonBall Z seems to be for sale everywhere but yet we don’t see anyone actually wearing it.
+ On the walk back to the hostel, we passed by a shop that advertised “sodas de americano”. They had a small fridge with Dr. pepper, root beer, and other sodas we hadn’t seen since we left the US! (In case you are wondering: you can always find Pepsi, coke, grapette, orange soda, 7up, and sometimes mountain dew). Liz got the Dr. Pepper she had missed so much!
+ Decided to continue the American Tourist theme and picked up a pizza from Little Caesars. As in nearly every store or business that handles a decent amount of money, they have armed guards with various large guns (such as sawed off shot guns) standing watch inside and/or outside the store. We’re not sure how often they have to use them, but it is a formidable sight.
+ Ate a quick lunch at the hostel of Little Ceasars pizza and Dr. Pepper. (Today was obviously not our most authentic Guatemalan day).
+ Caught our shuttle and rode the 1 hr ride to Pacaya volcano. Super curvy roads up the mountain.
+ Met our guide and hiked up to the base of the lava flow from the 2014 eruption of pacaya. Easy 1 hr hike.
+ No visible lava but awesome terrain and palpable heat from the geothermal energy! We were all able to roast marshmallows using the heat from underground!
+ Our guide showed us a rock that was pretty hot and handed it to us to hold. When it was Liz’s turn, the rock was much sharper and hotter than she was expecting so she accidently tossed the rock back at Corey! Corey had to jump out of the way. The guide thought this was hilarious.
+ After we explored the lava field, we hike back down to the base.
+ Corey and I talked with 2 girls from London on the hike down. Margot and Teresa. We gave them tips for visiting the Keys and they gave us tips on South America.
+ Back in Antigua, the power went off in the whole city for about 10min. Luckily it came right back on. Antigua is super dark without streetlights or anything!
+ Wandered around looking for a good dinner spot. Decided on Sky Bar Cafe. We had the whole 3rd floor to ourselves overlooking the city for dinner.
+ Stopped in to Cafe No Se for a nightcap before heading back to the hostel to shower and pack for our 4am shuttle to Copan, Honduras.

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Guatemala: 1/15 – 1/21

 

All week at San Pedro on Lake Atitlan!

 

1/15
+ Woke up and had a hearty breakfast at our Homestay before heading off to school for another 5 hours. Corey’s teacher is Chusita and is only 5 days older than Corey. Liz’s teacher is Evelyn and super nice and thinks Liz Is very funny!
+ We get to move to different private cabanas every day at different points around the lake. The school definitely lives up to it’s billing as having the most idyllic setting for studying Spanish in all of Guatemala!
+ Went back to our house and had a spicy lunch with our family and met some new students who checked in that day (James from London and Jonathan from California).
+ Spent the afternoon walking around San Pedro and exploring all of the fun restaurants, shops, bars and hotels. Found really unique and interesting places to go back to during our time here in San Pedro.
+ Had dinner back at our Casa and then went with James to Hostel Fe to play trivia (in English) with a bunch of American tourists and Ex pats.
+ During trivia breaks they had fun games to play. Corey participated in a beer chugging contest against 25 other people and barely lost.
+ Then we played a game where everyone stood up and guessed heads or tails when the host flipped a coin. If you got it wrong, you sat down. After 7 rounds, only James and 1 girl were left standing (out of about 100 people). James had picked heads every single time and somehow it was heads every time! James went heads once more and she went tails and James won! Our table won 3 free liters of beer and James won 100 Quetzals!
+ Afterwards we went to the town square because the town was celebrating the newly elected mayor with a live band and lots of dancing and delicious food and drinks. We only partook in the last 2!
+ Went back to house and passed out.

1/16
+ Slept in but Rosa had saved us pancakes for breakfast! Yum!
+ Ate all three meals with homestay and spent the day relaxing in the hammock.
+ Tried to upload pictures with still no luck!
We’ve tried different programs but they all seem to take forever and do not work!

1/17
+ Planned to go to Panajachel (another town on the lake) but Liz woke up very sick to her stomach.
+ After a few hours, we found a  local bbq place only open on Sundays.
+ The grill master was from Tallahassee!
+ Corey enjoyed the delicious food and humungous buffet of southern fare. Liz unfortunately had no appetite.
+ Stuffed, we waddled back to the house.
+ Liz took a siesta to try to feel better while Corey watched The Revenant.
+ Corey went to trivia in the evening as Liz was still sleeping to feel better. Corey teamed up with a only spanish speaking guy and they struggled to understand each other all game. Lol
+  Corey ate street tacos for dinner and we watched The Intern. Liz munched on crackers.
+ (Our homestay includes 3 meals every day except Sundays.)
+ Studied Spanish for a few hours until bedtime.

1/18
+ Liz woke up feeling much better and hopefully almost over her stomach bug.
+ Spanish school from 8-1
+ We took one more siesta to make sure Liz is over her stomach troubles.
+ After dinner, walked around town and found a nice cafe called Jakuu. Corey ordered Uno chocolate frio (cold chocolate milkshake). And Liz ordered a liquado  (smoothie) with melon and strawberry.

1/19
+ Woke up to another delicious Homestay breakfast of chocolate crepes with bananas!
+ Español Escuela de Ocho a Una
+ After lunch with our Familia, we decided to catch a boat on the other side of San Pedro to go to a different pueblo across the lake called San Marcos.
+ Walked around the town exploring the different stores and restaurants, but very small place and we walked the whole place in about 30 minutes.
+ Went to the main attraction of San Marcos which is a tiny national park with a little bit of hiking trails and a “trampoline” (really just a platform up high) to jump off of into Lake Atitlan.
+ Watched a group of Canadian guys try to outdo each other with various failed flips and dives (nearly all resulting in back flops).
+ Corey jumped 5 times, Liz jumped 50 times (minus 50)! She says someone had to be the expert photographer.
+ Watched the sunset from up on the mountain and then caught the last boat back to San Pedro.
+ Had dinner with our family and spent the evening talking with all of the NYU pre med students staying at the house.

1/20
+ The usual morning routine of breakfast with the fam and 5 hours of Spanish School, of which Corey and Liz are having very different experiences with. Liz loves her teacher and they spend about half of each day laughing and talking about life (in Español). While Corey’s maestra is much more serious and their 5 hours feels much more like intensive study boot camp.
+ After lunch we went to an Internet cafe to edit and upload photos, and also research for Antigua.
+ Went to Conversation club at the school, which is sitting around a table with 4-5 other students and 1 teacher playing games and discussing current event topics in Spanish. Very helpful and interesting to hear the perspectives of other people from other countries.
+ After some delicious Homestay dinner, we were in the mood for some more trivia so we headed over to a local bar with James, our British roommate. Much harder quiz than last Friday night! Corey was craving chicken wings and these were the best in town so he got to fulfill his Buffalo Wild Wings addiction.
+ After fun times, back to the Casa to do our Spanish homework, albeit slightly drunk.

1/21
+ After waking up, breakfast was a little late at the house so Liz and I rushed to school as quickly as possible.
+ Another different, yet very impressive lunch at the house afterwards. Corey’s new favorite phrases are “Tengo mucho hambre” (I am very hungry), and “Mas Por Favor” (more please).
+ Lunches in Guatemala are the biggest meal of the day and it is also common to put Salsa Picante on nearly everything, which Corey loves (but his stomach not so much!).
+ Corey was very tired (more so his brain) so he took a siesta while Liz was productive on the tablet.
+ Spent the rest of the afternoon walking around town buying gifts for our teachers, homestay family, and some school supplies for kids in a program called Ninos del Lago.
+ Tonight we chose to skip dinner with the family (luckily since it ended up being eggs and black beans – Yuck!). Instead we went to a really cool restaurant/hotel on the lake that was supposed to have an all you can eat pizza buffet. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in Guatemala, information is not always accurate. So no buffet, but we did still get a big delicious pizza that fed both of us for about $8.
+ Back at the house for our last night, we spent the evening talking with the family (and sharing a 2 liter of coke) and getting to know them better.
+ Corey also had Spanish homework to listen to songs in Spanish and deciphering as much as possible and writing it in English. So he thought of the slowest song he could think of to make it as easy as possible: My heart will go on, from Titanic! The girls of the family all knew the words and thought it was hilarious that I was listening (and trying to sing to) it.

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Belize and Guatemala. 1/1-1/7

Belize City  》》》Caye Caulker  》》》San Ignacio  》》》 Flores, Guatemala

 


1/1
+Louis,the owner of Red Hut Inn, drove us to the water taxi
+Took water taxi to Caye Caulker
+found the last 2 beds in Dirty McNasty hostel. (our room is very cluttered, messy with condoms in shower. Yuck. From what we hear, other rooms are actually nice)
+ Went walking looking for a tour for Blue Hole. Most businesses are closed due to the holiday.
+Found the very last reservations at Blue Sea for diving/snorkeling tomorrow!
+ Walked more of the island. watched sunset at “The Split”.
+ Went back to hostel and socialized with people thanks to the nightly free rum punch.
+Left and went to restaurant. Split yummy jerk chicken. Shared table with Jake- fashion designer from NY.
+ went back to the  hostel to post on blog

1/2
+ Met at Blue Seas at 530am for breakfast (Forgot our mask and snorkels, rashguard, and go pro! Ugh!) (Packing up for the day in a completely dark hostel dorm makes it very easy to forget things!)
+ Left for 3 dives by 630am: blue hole, half moon caye, long caye (Corey dove, Liz snorkeled)
+ Got soaked in the back of the boat. But at least not sea sick!
+ Blue Hole snorkel: AWESOME! Cuttlefish, 2 stingrays, TONS of fish, healthy brain coral, airplanes flying low overhead.
+ Blue Hole dive: ~150ft deep, Super awesome! 3 sharks, stalactites, grouper, tons of fish
+ Half Moon Caye dive: ~90ft deep, 3 sea turtles, lots of sharks, starfish, unique fish, big coral reef wall
+ Half Moon Caye snorkel: super shallow, right up close with fish! Tiny little lionfish, sea cucumbers, HUGE nurseshark ~9ft long, tons of Queen conch, beautiful sea anemones of all different colors
+ Delicious lunch of rice, chicken, coleslaw on  Half Moon beach. All the water+coke we can drink.
+ Water came in little bags! Like a juice box but with no form! Had to bite it open with your teeth
+ Bird tower on Half Moon Caye. Nesting grounds for great frigate birds and red footed boobies! (We were told this is the only place to see them besides the Galapagos)
+ Met nice mom and daughter from San Diego area. Will need to email them pictures
+ Long caye dive: coreys favorite, 2 turtles, 2 moray eels swimming, maybe octopus?,  huge tarpon, stonefish, big lionfish
+ Long caye dive: too deep for really great snorkeling visibility . But still lovely to roll about in the water!
+ Talked with nice Australian couple on way back to land
+ Made it back to hostel around 5pm and showered successfully despite yucky shower.
+ Ate dinner at hostel. Fresh lobster tails and rice and beans for  $7.50 us!

1/3
+ Ate breakfast and checked out of hostel
+  Said goodbye to my bunkmate, Frankie  from UK. Will probably see her in San Ignacio in a few days.
+  All Atms out of money on the island!
+ Caught 12pm water taxi back to Belize city.
+ Briefly walked through Belize City to find ATM after getting off water taxi. Everything was closed as it was a Sunday. Lots of unsavory characters out and about.
+ Caught taxi from water taxi to bus station.
+ Found chicken bus to Benque and hopped on.
+ Jumped off at Belize Zoo. Zoo was small and quaint. Filled with native Belize species. Most were rescues from the pet trade. (see facebook for pictures)
+ The onward bus to San Ignacio comes by the zoo every hour. When we got to the bus stop, we were informed we had JUST missed the bus by a few minutes. Waited at the bus stop for another hour as it was getting dark for the next bus to come by. Don’t worry, we had our bug spray!
+ Hopped on the bus to San Ignacio and continued our journey for the next ~2hrs.
+ Arrived in San Ignacio and found Bella Backpackers hostel. Rooms got a bit mixed up so we were assigned a loft.
+ Split a quick dinner at Han-Nah’s of quesadillas and chamomile tea for Liz. (Liz caught a cold in Caye Caulker. ugh)
+ Talked the evening away with a nice guy named Brady from Arkansas with similar camping interests as Corey.

1/4
+ Slept in and found lunch at Eva’s
+Booked Tour of Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) for tomorrow
+ Rainy day in San Ignacio so we relaxed and researched. Talked with some fellow travelers we had previously met in Caye Caulker.
+ Ate dinner at same place and had delicious pork tacos this time!

1/5
+ Woke up and checked out to meet at tour at 7am.
+ Toured ATM caves. Our group had 8 people and 1 guide. It was a fantastic tour! Swimming through the cave, scrambling up rocks, under formations and through seemingly impossible gaps. Really interesting artifacts and skeletal remains (!) from 600-950 AD.
+ The tour included a traditional Belizean lunch where we met 2 Americans, Sarah and Cliff, following a very similar itinerary as us.
+ Traveled the 1hr ride back to San Ignacio. Checked into the Old House Hostel. Complete with dog and kitten.
+ Ate dinner at local pizza stand.

1/6
+ Checked out of the hostel and went to Pop’s for lunch to try to fry Jacks we had been hearing so much about. Fry jacks are like airy, fried croissants. Yum!
+ Took a taxi to the border. Crossed into Guatemala but had trouble finding the bus.
We ended up on a sketchy collectivo but arrived in Flores safely.
+ Rode in our first Tuk Tuk! The collectivo dropped us off in the city of Flores. The tuk tuk took us across the bridge to our hotel Villa Del Lago on Isle de Flores.
+ Walked around the island and had a few beers at local happy hours. Ate dinner at roadside stands: empanada, plantains?, huge piece of chocolate cake!
+ Met up with Sarah and Cliff again. Chatted about their adventure getting into Flores as well.
+ Before headed back to hotel, we stopped by the city square. There was a very rowdy rock concert just starting. Guatemalan group singing mostly 80s American songs all in English. Very odd. But everyone seemed to love it!
+ Did “laundry” in our bathroom sink for the 1st time!

1/7
+ Spent the morning finalizing plans for our homestay with San Pedro Spanish school.
+ Our shuttle to Tikal picked us up at 1pm from our hotel.
+ Guided tour of Tikal! This complex was much larger than any of the other ruins we had visited in Mexico. Lots of turkeys and spider monkeys. Enjoyed sunset views from Temple IV. That’s the same viewpoint used in Star Wars episode IV!! (It’s the scene where the Millennium Falcon is approaching the rebel base.)
+ Ate dinner at Cool Beans Cafe. Chupo, the owner, is super accomodating and friendly ( and spoke good English). Cool Beans had a lot of coffee and beer varieties to choose from.
+ Went home to get ready for our long day of travel to Semuc Champey tomorrow.

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